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Member Since 06 Apr 2010
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#121583 Cheap Wax And Methane Musings

Posted by JBaymore on 02 February 2017 - 10:35 AM

Are there any other waxes I can buy that are cheap and work. I remember seeing something about painters wax.


What is going to be the quickest way to wax big platters to save on time wiping glaze back?


I use hot paraffin wax when waxing.  Well ventilated and temp controlled.  NOTHING works as well.


Set up a sodden sponge on a tray of water.  Brush the UNWAXED and glazed plates over this in a twisting motion.  Alternatively... build an attachment to get that sponge spinning on a potters wheel and hold the plate on it.  This is how industry (used) to do it FAST.  Expensive commercial alternative is a belt sander like device that runs a wet sponge belt.





#121582 Cheap Wax And Methane Musings

Posted by JBaymore on 02 February 2017 - 10:31 AM

..........I am not sure how to explain but inside the kiln looks so much brighter and cleaner, it is like a summers day compared to the cloudy overcast look propane has. Has anybody else noticed this and understands why they have a different look?


Ratio of carbon atoms to hydrogen atoms.  CH4 versus C3H8.  1 to 4 versus 3 to 8.  2.7 times more carbon to the hydrogen.


During the "cracking" of the fuel gas in the initial (less than nano-second) breaking up of the molecular bonds in the fuel molecule, the higher carbon content produces "luminous carbon"..... little "particles" of glowing carbon that exist for a brief instant before being oxidized into CO and then CO2.  Makes a "yellower" flame when oxygen starved in reduction conditions.


Industry even makes a "luminous flame burner" that takes advantage of this fact to cause better radiant heat transfer.





#121533 Define Plasticity

Posted by JBaymore on 01 February 2017 - 11:18 AM

I don't totally agree with the argument that no ball clay = no plasticity. Fireclays and stoneware clays certainly have plasticity. Maybe not the same as ball clay, but they're way more plastic than kaolin.


I'm with that thought also. 


The best clay body I've ever used is from Japan... and there is no ball clay in that.   Mostly (90+%) it is a naturally occurring stoneware clay from 1/4 of a mile from where we are making pots, plus a little fireclay addition from Shigaraki.  The processing is the key to the amazing plasticity and strength.  Dug with heavy equipment, left outside in a pile to "age" for a year, run thru three separate blunging operations (first one screening out the bigger stuff), filter pressed, batch mixed in a blade type mixer, then pugged.


Feels nothing like any clay body I've used in the USA.  When you first touch it for something like wedging... you say "UGH!"  Grainy, soft, mushy, come to mind.  You'd swear that you'd never be able to work with it.  Then you put it on a wheel............






PS>  Fired to Orton cone 14.

#121487 Poor Basic Skill Sets, And Their Consequences

Posted by JBaymore on 30 January 2017 - 08:29 PM

 i wish profs would do what you did. but i see now a fear of touching. esp. if you are a male teacher. most of the students are female. it makes such a big difference. since i have lots of gray hair i no longer am afraid and girl or boy i touch and show the pressure. i always get a shocked response. 


I have a significant background in sports education (former Ed. Staff member for the Professional Ski Instructors of America organization) as well as ceramics.  (Lots of transferable biomechanics training :) !)  One of the things common from sports is doing "hands on" work to get an athlete to kinesthetically understand the way his/her body is currently being used and what the desired outcome might be for a more effective method.


I use that understanding in teaching throwing.  And I ALWAYS involve some touch with the students.  And ....male or female student... just like in sports education..... I simply ASK before I touch them if it is OK to do that.  I have always (in both fields) gotten 100% affirmatives.  I don't do "private" lessons in clay... so there are always others in the room also.


I cannot IMAGINE not being able to share tactile and kinesthetic aspects of what it means to do various activities in throwing.  Analogies and "word pictures" and technical descriptions and visuals are NOT enough to teach well an activity that REQUIRES human high touch on materials.






#121455 Who Do I Contact About Video That Wouldnt Download And Now

Posted by JBaymore on 30 January 2017 - 12:27 AM

Sent a message to the Admins.





#121390 Choosing An Angle Grinder

Posted by JBaymore on 28 January 2017 - 06:09 PM



The best way to "start over" every so often in an institutional setting (or your own studio if it is a big operation) is to take the whole stack of kiln shelves to a commercial sand blasting place.    If they are silicon carbide... tell the folks there to take them down until they are black.  If corderite... tell them to blast til they are beige.


It will not cost all that much.  And they will look close to new.  ALL the kiln wash gone.... level surface.


This also fits within the H+S idea of "Transference of Risk".  Sandblasting places are set up to handle toxic dust.  You have zero exposure to the process.  And you don't have to invest in appropriate ventilation or make sure respirators fit and so on.


We do it at the college every so often...and I do it at my studio.





#121357 Choosing An Angle Grinder

Posted by JBaymore on 28 January 2017 - 10:57 AM

As already said above ... dust kills the motors.  That high RPM motor has to "breathe" to cool itself.  It breathes in a lot of air... with the VERY abrasive dust. 


I have a "good" one that I use for cleaning up pots.  But for the kiln shelf business....... Harbor Freight.  Decent tool..... VERY cheap.  A "throw away".   I use GOOD wheels on it however... the Harbor Freight diamond wheels are not as good as Dewalt or something like that.


If you are grinding corderite shelves or alumina shelves.... be careful with diamond wheels.  They can eat into such a shelf FAST.  For silicon carbide... diamond is THE way to go.


Some people prefer diamond flat wheels... some cup wheels.  If you have a REAL mess..... the cups are great.


On a safety note here...........


Any crystalline silica that is at temperature over about 2012 F converts to the cristobalite form (different molecular arrangement of the crystal).  The amount that converts is linerally related to the time at temperatures over 2012 F.  Kiln shelves get fired to that temperature and above over and over.  The cristobalite form is more hazardous to breathe than the "normal" microcrystalline form of quartz or flint.  Kiln shelf washes are DESIGNED not to melt the silica component in them.  The more they are fired to high temperatures.... the more of a % of the silica in them is in the cristobalite form.  Kiln shelf dust from grinding is one of THE most hazardous dusts we are exposed to.  Very important to have good ventilation and a well fitting respirator.





#121355 Youtube Video Potters

Posted by JBaymore on 28 January 2017 - 10:38 AM

What I learned that day was I needed to understand not only what the students expected to learn and what they already knew. I had to find a focal point for each person and tailor what I was to teach each individual as I went around the class to each student.


I'm thinking teaching throwing is pretty much the same thing, the instructor need to understand both their craft and how to present it. Sometimes students hear something different than what you meant to say. Being there seeing what they are doing and being able to correct a minor (for the lack of a better word) flaw can make all the difference of learning and becoming frustrated.


Youtube videos have their place but they fall short of the back and forth dynamic between student and teacher.


Very well said.  There is no such thing as a "class".  There is a group of individuals you are working with.  Key words there are "individual" and "with". 


The first day of my classes, or the beginning of my workshops, almost one of the first things I do, is to ask each person to share with the group why they are there and what they want to get out of the experience.  What I had planned to do starts to get instantly revised in my head as I get going. 


When demoing something like throwing a XXXXXXX to a group, I share many different ways to approach that task/problem/challenge.  I use visual information (of course), verbal descriptions, analogies, and tactile sensory cues  to attempt to get stuff across.......  hitting the three main learning modalities.  Then I try to asses each individual's way they process information... and target further individualized stuff to them as I work with them as individuals.


Newer, less experienced teachers tend to use what we can call the "shotgun" method of teaching pretty much all the time.  Throw a lot of information out there and hopefully one of the "pellets" will hit something.  And it usually does.  The skilled teacher is the sniper.  Great skill in assessing the overall situation, understanding the target, the surrounding environment, and a single effective bullet gets the job done.





#121323 Youtube Video Potters

Posted by JBaymore on 27 January 2017 - 07:23 PM

There is a reason that very many educators .... (wait for it)......... study..... (wait for it)................  educational concepts as a formal part of their training.  As Matthew says above, just because someone is really good at what they do does not necessarily make them a good TEACHER of that subject.  You can learn much from such people if you are attentive and patient.... but it is not necessarily "packaged" as well as a less skilled practitioner who know the subject well might........  who REALLY knows how to TEACH.


For primary and secondary education, at least in the public sector, teachers have to have formal training in education.  One problem that is 'out there' in the post-secondary field is that to teach art at the college level, you typically only need an MFA.  You need to be a good artist with well considered work and good hand skills to obtain that degree..  You do not have to have formal educational training at all.  So some college educators are, unfortunately, really "learning on the job".  Most colleges do some professional development seminars and the like in pedagogy for their professors, but that is for people who are already hired and already teaching.


I know some GREAT potters... that are HORRIBLE at sharing what it is that they do.  You learn from them... in spite of them.  So just because someone is "famous" for their claywork........ does not necessarily make them the best teachers of clay working.





#121156 Poor Basic Skill Sets, And Their Consequences

Posted by JBaymore on 24 January 2017 - 11:13 AM

To clarify so I'm understanding correctly, I should rely more on feel than sight?


Both need to be developed... so that you have both "tools" in the "toolbox", and can quickly drag the right one out at any given moment as needed.


Most of us in the visual arts tend to be "visual" learners.  We depend on our eyes a lot to interact with the world.  So our visual skills are often very well developed.  We'll call that tool a "screwdriver".  We tend to use that "screwdriver" a lot in our lives.  (Note that a lot of us WATCH you-tube videos and CDs to learn.) 


Proprioception (awareness of body in space) and tactile sensibility of the fingers, hands, arms, torso, and lower body are often less acutely developed in many of us.  And when you are new to a physical task of interacting with your body into the world (throwing)....... even the sensibilities that you've developed in the rest of your life are likely not refined in the way that they need to be for working with clay on the wheel.  I'll call this "tool" in the "toolbox" a "hammer".


Throwing well requires both screw drivers and hammers.  When all you have is a screwdriver... and you get handed a nail........ you are going to try to twist that sucker in there... or beat on it with the handle of the screwdriver.  Neither will work as well as the hammer.


So you need to develop both aspects of your skills.  Otherwise your toolbox is missing a few needed tools.






PS:  "When all you have is a hammer, the world looks like a nail."

#121129 Poor Basic Skill Sets, And Their Consequences

Posted by JBaymore on 23 January 2017 - 09:30 PM


Have you ever seen someone struggle because of poor or erroneous understanding and control of the basics?


All the time.  A lot of people want to just 'skip ahead' without putting in the basic learning that would develop skills that will allow them much greater ability to realize the objects that they want to produce.  They "trade off" some instant results for the long term consequences of the "skipping".


Another factor I see a lot is people teaching that don't bother to do the fundamental educational step of "checking for understanding".  The teacher presents material and he/she knows what they THINK they communicated.  The learners are getting something different than what the teacher thinks.  But unless there is that check for what is actually getting transferred for information........ you really have no idea what the learners picked up.  Then you see them later... and they are saying or doing something that flabbergasts you.


Teacher screw up.... not learner.





#121008 Just Dreaming ...

Posted by JBaymore on 21 January 2017 - 11:31 AM

My personal studio here at my current home has been slowly evolving over 40 years.  I now look back at that 'dumb' college student so long ago that decided to switch majors from a "respectable" scientific major..........


......and realize that it can be done.  It takes persistence and determination and hard work.... and the idea that .................


"I have a dream............."


Still working on that dream.  I am very fortunate.





#120948 Electric Kiln Reviews

Posted by JBaymore on 20 January 2017 - 10:25 AM

Unfortunately, no independent reviews out there that I've ever found. 


Boy................. do I miss the OLD Studio Potter magazine.





#120924 Opacify For Cheaper?

Posted by JBaymore on 19 January 2017 - 10:03 PM

The zirconium variations of opacifiers give a "cold" white.  Tin gives a "warm" white.  Just the way it works.





#120727 Is Cone 4-10 Clay Fired To Cone 4 Underfired?

Posted by JBaymore on 16 January 2017 - 09:04 PM


I would think because of liability issues they would also include: For Non-Functional Use Only.




You would think that.... BUT... and that is a big BUT.........  the ceramic suppliers do not indemnify the end users of their products.  So it I buy clay from XYZ Ceramic Supply...... and I make functional ware that explodes in the microwave....... it is MY problem with the consumer that bought that explodo-work from me.  I can't defend myself by saying, "Not my fault... it is XYZs fault".  I would have to settle with the client myself. 


THEN I would have to go after the XYZ place to try to recover my losses in the other situation.  Separate case.  Bet that they can afford better lawyers than I can.  And.... their product literature and websites and bills say quite clearly that they are not responsible..... test, test, test, ..........and that it is the end user's responsibility to see if their product is suitable for what they make.


So...... I'd lose.


Case of "Caveat Emptor".