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Member Since 08 Apr 2010
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 10:00 PM

Topics I've Started

How Much Are You Willing To Pay For A Mug?

16 February 2017 - 08:46 AM

This is the flip side to the thread "How much do you charge for a mug?" Any forum user is invited to answer, whether you sell your pots or not. Please provide context for your answer, such as your location, what you look for in a mug, how you use them, etc.

Here's my answer: I get most of my mugs via trade, so I am happy to pay one mug for one mug. But only if I really like the mug, or really like the potter. I still buy mugs with actual money on a regular basis, and I find that I am not willing to spend more than $40. I want mugs that can stand up to actual use, including the dishwasher and microwave. They need to be large enough for my coffee habit. I never buy mugs that look so decorative that I suspect the maker doesn't really want me to get it wet. Or if the design puts a low priority on function, no matter how attractive it is (ie, poorly trimmed heavy bottom, uncomfortable handle). I live and shop in the mid-Atlantic region (DC, Baltimore, Philly).

I Fixed My Vent Hood Today

15 December 2016 - 02:58 PM

I don't know if "fixed" is an accurate word, but still I'm feeling proud of myself anyways. My 15 year old vent hood has been running loud for a few months, sometimes making weird noises. I got through the holiday production season praying it wouldn't die in the middle of a firing. 


I was just about to order a new one today, but thought there was one thing I needed to try, before throwing out a big piece of equipment and spending $500. I needed to try vacuuming out the fan, in case the problem was just dust buildup. I took off the duct and looked inside. I didn't see much dust, but I saw a lot of rust on the fan blades. I vacuumed as much as I could. When I turned it on again, it coughed out a bunch of dust then started running quieter. Then I got really inspired and sprayed some short bursts of WD40 up into the motor. Now it sounds normal again. 


Based on the rust, this is probably not a permanent solution. But I don't have to buy a new vent TODAY.

I Have A Dilemma

25 October 2016 - 10:54 AM

Back in August, I was at a show where a customer bought my whole stack of dinner plates early on. A few hours later, she came back with a friend. The friend had seen the plates, and wanted the same plates. Since they were now sold out, I asked her where she lived so I could tell her which upcoming show would be her best option. Turns out she lives 10 minutes from me, so I told her to come to my Open Studio in December. She didn't want to wait that long, which I understood. She wanted to just come by my house in a few days to get them. She offered to pay for them at the show. She was a little bit pushy, she seemed to really want the plates. I don't like having customers invite themselves to my house, but honestly I was having a slow day, and a set of plates is a decent chunk of money. So I took her payment, and we exchanged contact info.

I emailed her a few days later to start the process of arranging a pickup appt. She said she was leaving for a vacation, and would pick them up right after Labor Day. I waited until a week after Labor Day, then emailed her again. She said she was having a family emergency, and would get back in touch in a few days. I waited two more weeks, and sent another reminder. I got no response at all.

That was a month ago, so now my dilemma is, what should I do?

Part of me thinks I should refund the money to her credit card. That way, I can sell her plates without worrying that she will finally show up, only to find they aren't available.

And part of me thinks I have no obligation to return her money. The situation was entirely her idea. It's not my problem that she can't be bothered to make a ten minute errand. And everything she said since was probably a lie. She doesn't seem to want the plates, and doesn't care about the money either.

Should I return the money, or simply wait until she fulfills her obligation even if that never happens?

Element Fail / Question About Shutoff Temp

21 August 2016 - 11:40 AM

I think one of my top zone elements just failed. My elements were approaching their life span, and there was one spot on my second-to-top element that looked more worn than everything else.


This morning I found my kiln was still firing after 12 hours, when it usually takes 9. The top zone was way behind, and the ramp was climbing at roughly 30°/hour. Normal program is 120°/hour for the final segment.


I looked at a cone chart, and the closest the data I could find for my situation was:


cone 5 at 27°/hour is 2118

cone 5 at 108°/hour is 2167


This is pretty close to the ramp I was getting vs the one I'm used to. The difference between then is 49°.


My final temp was supposed to be 2180°. So I subtracted 50 and shut the kiln off at 2130°.



Does anyone have any sense that I did the right thing? If not, it's ok, I'll find out tomorrow morning when I open the kiln. If the top shelf or two is underfired, while the rest of it is ok, I'll consider that a victory.

Chip Card Readers. How Do You Like Yours So Far?

19 July 2016 - 05:21 PM

I have now been using my Square Chip Card Reader since February. I have the smaller plug-in reader (not the wireless bluetooth reader).

I find it unsatisfactory. It is unreliable and slow. It needs to be fully charged before the Square app can connect to it, and it also requires a strong internet connection. If I am missing one of these conditions, the app and the reader do not see each other. If I get the app and the reader to connect, sometimes it will work fine for 10 hours, and sometimes it will stop working unexpectedly. There is no pattern or correlation to when it stops working. When it stops working, I switch back to a mag-stripe reader, which means liability for fraudulent charges is mine. This doesn't concern me too much, since it's very rare for pottery fans to be fraudsters. But still, I'd rather not have this liability.

Even when it is working fine, it is painfully slow. Whenever I launch the app to take a payment, it takes at least 5 seconds for the app and reader to connect. When I insert the chip card, it takes about 10 seconds for the payment to be approved. Not a huge deal, but when you have customers waiting in line, seconds count. The old mag-stripe reader connects instantly and processes a payment in about 2 seconds. I miss the speed!

I just received my Intuit Chip Card reader. Intuit is 9 months late with issuing their chip card reader. Not sure if that means their development is rocky, or if they took the time to work out all of their bugs before releasing it. I do remember that in the early days of internet-based processing, the Intuit reader was much better built that the Square reader. So far, the Intuit app and its reader connect to each other in about 2 seconds. I haven't processed a payment yet so I don't know how long that takes. I will use the Intuit reader at my next show (2.5 weeks) and report back.

I'd prefer to use the Square system, because of its simpler and slightly cheaper fees. But if the Intuit reader is faster and more reliable, I rather not take my chances with the liability.

I'd like to hear others' experiences, good and bad, with the various chip card readers available now. How's it going for everyone else?