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Member Since 03 Apr 2010
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 11:13 PM

Topics I've Started

Help Me Decide What To Do About A Cracked Kiln Lid

28 July 2014 - 08:40 PM

When I purchased a large top-loading Olympic kiln last summer, it arrived with a crack in the lid where the handle's screw had been run in, apparently without pre-drilling.  The crack didn't go all the way through, and I was promised a new kiln lid if I would accept delivery of the kiln.  The lid has one of those hinges that goes all the way down the back of the kiln, which I am told is not easy to replace.  Before delivering the kiln, the merchant from whom I bought it repaired the crack with kiln mortar. It has been 8 months and the crack has not re-appeared.  I know the seller is hoping I'll forget about it, and truthfully, I'd like to.  I fear that things may go from (not-too) bad to worse if the lid is replaced.  Given that the crack hasn't reappeared, should I feel relatively confident that it won't?  Or am I being foolish not to replace it?


UPDATE:  I received a call from Bob Haugen, president of Olympic Kilns.  The delay of 8 months was not of his doing - or not doing, a fact I was well aware of.  He has promised to deliver and install the new kiln lid himself.  You can't ask for better than that. Thanks again to all of you who advised me to have it replaced.

Source For Brown Raku Clay

17 July 2014 - 04:55 PM

I haven't been able to find brown raku clay anywhere locally in the Carolinas or even online, but a friend in South Dakota tells me that she bought some from a school which had placed a large order.  Does anyone know of a source for moist brown raku clay?  Or could I used a brown stoneware with lots of coarse grog and have the same benefits of raku clay?


Real Time Preheating Question

24 June 2014 - 09:04 PM

I have a one-year-old electronic Olympic kiln.  I use the preset programs, always going with a slow bisque combined with a long preheat period -- usually 12-18 hours preheating at 200.  Tonight I need to rush this load a little, but I don't think it's ready for 200 degrees!  I'd like to dry the work a little faster than it can dry by just sitting in my studio (withits humidity of 85%).  It seems that PRE pre-heating the work at maybe 125 for 12 hours before I use the actual preheat program, which is 200 degrees, would be safer than jumping the temperature on the sculptures straightaway to 200. 


Is my logic, um, logical? And if it is, can anyone tell me how to do this?  I can't find anything in the instruction manual that tells me how to set the temperature to 125 degrees for a period of time.



How To Strengthen Delicate Ceramic Parts After Firing

19 June 2014 - 10:14 PM

I've just broken the hands on a small sculpture and made and fired another pair of hands.  The problem is that a 3/4" long hand with slightly spread fingers is bound to be very fragile.  Can anyone recommend a penetrating glue or other substance that I can apply to these little hands to make them stronger?  They're made from Raku clay that fires from 06 to cone 6.  If I fire them to the higher end of the temperature range, will there be enough of an improvement in the strength to justify running the kiln for a pair of tiny hands? I can see that a pot fired to a higher temp would be stronger, I just don't know if it would matter with a hand that has fingers no thicker than 1/16-1/8"!



How Do You Run Clay Through Your Slab Roller?

17 June 2014 - 10:28 PM

I build my sculptures from slabs and I love my Bailey slab roller.  I'm having a problem getting a large slab without a seam running lengthwise down the middle, and I'm wondering how others do it. I cut a 25 lb block of clay into 1.5" slabs, and then lay out 4 of them in a square and roll them through the Bailey (twice) to get the final 3/8" slabs.  I try to push them together before they go through the slab roller the first time, but I still end up with a weak join running lengthwise down the middle.  I've tried using a mallet to pound the 4 pieces together, but it doesn't seem to make a difference.  I guess if I turned the slab 90 degrees before I ran it through the second time, it would help to smush that seam together, but how do you lift the slab off the canvas and turn it after its first run-through without it tearing apart down that seam??  And for that matter, if you're not supposed to handle the slab without the support of the canvas, how in the world do people turn it 90 degrees before the second pass?