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Member Since 08 Feb 2012
Offline Last Active Jun 29 2015 06:30 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Clay Bin Dolly

29 June 2015 - 06:31 PM

Are you using one of these?



Do you roll this bin around frequently?  Also, how do you store clay inside - do you mix it and just deposit it inside, or is it bagged up?  


If you're "digging" out your clay from a walled tub, that's gotta get old real quick - I'd suggest you get a new system that allows access to the sides of the clay.  Could be as simple as a platform/furniture dolly with a big storage bag sitting on top (that's what we do, only it's scaled up to 4ft pallet size)


Consider ditching the casters and let it sit on the ground (or mounted on a pallet) and move it around with a pallet jack.  Heavy ceramics is going to need a pallet jack at some point, might as well get one.  


Otherwise, try and fabricate a new base from metal and put the best casters you can afford under it, maybe even 6 casters instead of 4.  Steel wheeled casters tend to hold the most weight and guess what, they don't flat spot. I can't see it rolling on its own unless you have sloped floors, so no brake is necessary, just wheel chocks.  Overkill is always best, so definitely make it hold 2x your intended mass.


We use trash cans to store reclaim clay - they get rolled around dirty floors, cracks and seams in the concrete, etc and hold over 350# each I'd guess.  The caster base is VERY simple and could easily be fabricated to fit a variety of containers.  Casters can easily be swapped out to a different style/brand/size/etc.  The ones below are at least 30yrs old and going strong.


I've noticed in general that the Rubbermaid/Brute tubs don't really hold up due to the weight of ceramic materials and because they flex.  We do have a few rubbermaid cans currently, but you can see they're no longer on the bases made for them.  One shallow nick or cut on these cans usually ends up in a replaced container within a year, that's why the rest of our cans are metal and going on 40-50yrs. The only issue with the metal cans is over time the galvanized metal can possibly flake off.  A good alternative might be a thick rubber livestock water trough/stock tank.


In Topic: Clay Storage Environment

29 June 2015 - 05:54 PM

yes you can store clay outdoors -- where do you think clay comes from???  lol.


You WILL need to defrost your clay in winter if you plan to put it in the pugmill or any other mixing equipment.  That would be a very expensive repair should it break your new fancy equipment.  A simple shed, carport, frost blanket, etc could be all you need to keep it workable in dead winter - what do I know, I'm from California!


Think about getting yourself a couple of furniture dollies and put a piece of plywood over them - store your clay on these and you can easily roll them around studio.  That's how we store boxed up clay.


We mix our own sculpture body and store it like this.  It's never around long enough to dry out, or unless someone carelessly leaves it open.  Volume on the pallet is maybe 3500+lbs and sits inside a 6 mil pallet bag.  During high production times, we consume this much clay about every 10 days I'd guess:


In Topic: Mold Making

29 June 2015 - 05:39 PM

DO NOT use grease, WD-40, vaseline or any other oil-based substance like suggested above, as your mold release.  The whole point of using plaster is to take advantage of the capillary/wicking action of the material, to pull water from the clay and set it up faster - if you go and use something oil-based as a mold release, you've now clogged the pores and severely diminished capillary action, if any at all.  


Use actual "mold soap" or purelube/greensoap, which are the products that should be available from any ceramics supply.  Alternative is diluted Murphy's Oil Soap.

In Topic: Lookiing For A Wholesale Source For Advancer Kiln Shelves

22 June 2015 - 02:57 PM

I looked into Advancer shelves about 2yrs ago when I was looking to buy some new shelves for our gas kilns.  I was considering the Advancers because of all the advantages everyone praises them for. Ended up NOT getting the Advancer shelves due to the way we stack our kilns by using full hard brick as opposed to posts and in a 2/4-point vs 3-point support configuration - I didn't know of this being a problem before, but do now.  May help someone else's decision in the future.


The reasoning for this is because "Advancer shelves are so thin (5/16”) and dense (<1% porosity), they have very little capacity to store heat.  This has led to problems with thermal shock due to the amount of heat stored in the corners of the shelves sandwiched between the hard bricks relative to the rest of the shelf.  On cooling it is possible for the rest of the shelf to cool off sufficiently to create a significant enough temperature gradient across the shelf leading to uneven contraction (1%) and breakage.   For this reason we do not recommend using anything larger than a soap for a post.  This minimizes the contact area sufficiently to avoid this problem." - Marshall Brown, SSFBS.

We could still use kiln wash on the Advancers and it was actually recommended to dip the ends of posts/bricks in wash.


We can't really change the way we load, due the work produced in studio and the kilns we have, so I ended up just staying with the regular Crystolon RC-4128 Oxide-bonded SiC shelves in a 12"x28"x3/4".  They are made by Saint-Gobain in India and get imported to Minneapolis.  The alternative was the Crystolon CN-192 Oxide-bonded SiC shelves made by Saint-Gobain in Worchester, MA.


With all quality kiln shelves, you have to pay to play...and they're only going up in price. Best pricing was from Smith-Sharpe Fire Brick Supply/kilnshelf.com and I was also looking for a few dozen shelves.  Wholesale pricing is in the thousands of units, so definitely no discounts on such a low volume such as mine/yours.  Our regular shelves still ended up well over $100 each + shipping, still not cheap but nowhere near the Advancer pricing. 


I will comment that the "other" kiln furniture Advancer produces look legit.  I drool every time I see some of the industrial kilns using Advancer beams, tubes, racks, etc.

In Topic: Basement Studio Lighting

09 June 2015 - 05:54 PM

why cover it up at all?  personally i would suggest you leave everything exposed and simply paint it all white.  here in CA its become the "hot thing" to have exposed ceilings in commercial buildings, galleries, restaurants, etc and I see no difference doing it in a basement - but then again i don't know what your basement looks like :)  leaving things exposed will not only allow you access to plumbing, electrical, etc, but you gain more vertical height and have full access to all your joists above in case you need to suspend something in your studio space below.


for lighting, i wouldn't hesitate to install LED lighting.  it's simply where we're at with modern tech and doesn't make sense to go backwards.  i was just at Costco last weekend and saw fluorescent-style LED shop lights for $30 and contemplated swapping out my entire garage for them.  haven't looked at catalogs yet, but if costco carries them at good prices you for sure can find them cheaper at an electrical supply.  these are not the replacement LED bulbs that go into fluorescent fixture, but instead a true LED fixture.  all over my campus they've replaced lights with LEDs and they are RIDICULOUSLY bright in person.  i want to say the spectrum is somewhere near 6000k, since they look like pure white/daylight instead of the yellow you get from fluorescents. have seen people use them in warehouses and shops - lit up like a stadium, awesome!