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Member Since 22 Nov 2010
Offline Last Active Sep 02 2015 02:22 PM

#90565 Raku Results Home Made Kiln

Posted by MMB on 10 August 2015 - 01:33 AM

Looking further at your vid Id say buy a pair of metal tongs. Or if you can weld make a quick set of them. Or drill holes and bolt a metal one. Very nice idea with the garden 3 prongs but the heat in a kiln could bring those dry wood handles on a warm day to the point of combustion and startle you. Im sure no harm could be caused since you got some nice gloves but it might cause you to drop a piece of work.

#90564 Raku Results Home Made Kiln

Posted by MMB on 10 August 2015 - 01:27 AM

Looks good but I see youre using a weed burner as your burner. Sometimes these guys can get a lil choked up during use other than what theyre supposed to do. You might want to look into a Ron Reil Burner. Simple and easy to make and typically very cheap to make. If I remember correctly my first one I used a 1 1/2 reducer to 1 in pipe, a cross pipe of 1/2 pipe with a 1/16 gas hole positioned in the center. Its been a while since Ive made my last burner but with my furnace I can smelt copper so the heat output is there. The pic is it on low. Any higher and I would need a coupler on the end so the flame has something to hang on too. Easy and cheap and Im sure your top flue would be fine and you could even cover most of it to get the temp you need.



#72150 More Pit Fire Questions...

Posted by MMB on 19 December 2014 - 10:35 PM

I personally got tired of pit firing. It is beautifully random and also rewarding for the work involved. Yet the limitations of colorants kinda got me bored. Burnishing isnt absolutely necessary. Ive enjoyed pots colored by the flames and then coated in acrylic spray brings out deeper tones like the pot was wet. Youll see the colors more vibrantly when cleaning with water but once dry some of the lighter flashings wont be visibly, thats where the acrylic comes in. I have had very little breakage doing pit fires and thats with making the whole stack, tossing gasoline, and fire away. Yet I have used a white stone ware primarily by Highwater. Most were slip cast by this stone ware, not true slip, just made a slurry and defloced then poured. Micaceous red clay is very lovely. I have used natural GA clay which is loaded with mica. Mica though looses its luster in higher fire, but for pit fire you stay low fire to keep the clay porous to accept better coloring.


I live in NE Georgia and have gotten good results during winter. Zone 8/9. I had a small dug pit and I would bury the pots on top of at least 6 inches of saw dust/salt/copper carb. Then continue with the saw dust covering then layer after layer make the materials bigger and bigger till it was about 2 - 3 feet about the hole. I would continue to add wood (lightly) as it burned down till ground level, mind you the hole was about 2-3 feet down so the fire was still good and strong. I considered the amount of coal that results from a typical fire and continued to add wood to make it good and hot but also to leave a nicely large coal bed in the end that almost covered the pots. Once I figured it was just about done and low enough I covered with a piece of tin.




That was one of my first ones. ALways make sure there is enough air flow but not too much. You want a nice HOT but slow burning finish. The wind blew in the direction of where the rock was missing and it was just enough to keep things going. One thing I will say is give it a day or two before digging it all up. You will be amazed at just how long ashes will stay hot enough to burn you. Not to mention the pots retaining the heat. I ruined a pot once by pulling them up too early and melted a big black rubber thumb mark from one of my gloves. One of my best, which isnt the best out there, but I was very pleased was this guy. Just Salt/Copper carb/ saw dust/ wood/ and a small amount of cow manure.




One thing to keep in mind is that some potters accomplish great pit fire flashings by pitfiring then refiring in a kiln to burn off some of the colors then pit fire again. Ive never tried it. Believe it or not that one has been glossed with acrylic and has held a plant for the past 5 or so years in a sunny room and never lost its colorings. Some say the reds will fade in the sun. I left a pot on a pole, uncoated in the sun for over a year and no signs of color loss. Roll with the punches and give pit firing a try. Im glad I did but other avenues opened up for me. I still consider it from time to time because where I live I can access tons of free wood etc to accomplish everything.

#71685 Adding Subtle Interest To Surface In Electric Kiln To Enhance Visual Qualities

Posted by MMB on 11 December 2014 - 01:54 PM

I was going to say the addition of ash might help. SOmeone already said it! Darn. Maybe a heavier coat on or near the rim, the addition of ash or something that will make the glaze flow more, or in conjunction add some texture where the flow can be interrupted and pool. Ive been following Katie Marks "anotherseattleartist" in instagram. Her direction is something Ive aimed to do. Not sure what glaze she uses but its simple and drools downward and pools nicely. Plus she uses gold luster which Ive been wanting to use silver luster for some time now.


From her Facebook:



  • oly likes this

#70580 Rocket Mass Heater To Heat Studio.

Posted by MMB on 23 November 2014 - 06:27 PM

I see. Yeah you could definitely use the thermal mass for a place for drying pots. I came across a restaurant that lined their patio with it and used it for booth seating. I actually dug mine up :-/ My studio is very long and skinny ( 10ish by 40ish) and I decided after a few months to pull it up because the heat dissipated by the time it got to my far wall where my wheel is. The place where I put it was the only area where Theres no foundation. Its the same in the summer with cooling, I have fans but the flow stops by the middle. Its in an old pole barn. The other reason why I switched is because we do all our car work so we have a ton of waste oil from all my families oil changes. Plus I do smelt from time to time and I have need of a waste oil burner. Waste oil heaters can crank out heat so thats my future setup.


I agree with the clean burn and low temp if any exhaust. Btw I used Kawool for my inner burn chamber and old salvaged fire brick from a torn down house. There is yet another option. Its basically very close to the same idea as the rocket stove. It was invented in Europe back in the day during a wood shortage. Its very decorative and Im sure you can fabricate one on your own. It uses very little wood and burns crazy efficient with long lasting heat. The Kachelofen. Masonry stoves for another name.

#58406 The Dangers Of Advice Without Experience

Posted by MMB on 12 May 2014 - 10:39 PM

Hmmm I guess I might as well throw in my 2 cents. Personally I think that this forum has a very strong back bone for good knowledge on the ceramic side as it should. I am a dabbler that loves to toy with many forms, yet I do enjoy living and keeping all my fingers. That said I do google and google and google. Sure I could waste my time with the card catalog but that would lead me to books that date 1970 when its 2014. So as much as I might be a "armchair" type of person I will spend days lacking in productivity while I research research RESEARCH! Reading every informational report and every idiots experience. Especially when it came to metal things Ive seen the country bumpkin cast bronze and the african tribesman make a bronze bell from a form made of dung etc. I feel I have a good sense of the farce material and the material that I can learn from. I do agree with shop experience but to tote all of that as the only way to legitimize real skill and knowledge is kind of wrong. Everything came from a book "technically." You couldnt have had your shop experience unless you learned from something from the start. I was two steps from melting down some old bike pegs of mine before I found out about magnesium's burn. My pegs were magnesium coated and aluminum sleeved. The only reason I doubted myself before my melt was that I remembered when we used to grind on concrete these pegs would spark. So I took initiative and did the research.  Everyone should be able to post what ever they might feel they should say because we all want to speak from our experience no matter how little it might be. It is up to those that are viewing it to be the judge. Sadly if they are to hurt themselves in the process then its not the advisers fault, no, its the fault of the person attempting something that they havent understood fully because of their lack in research.


Everything in this world is not fully understood. I cant remember correctly but someone on this forum stated that it is still unknown when it comes to the chemical reaction and molecular reaction differences in the ceramic world. I could be wrong with my term choices but the statement was that just because it has the chemical make up to do one thing it doesnt necessarily mean it will during the firing process. WIth that said, even those with 30+ years of experience, still dont TOTALLY understand the craft. There are things to be learned and dangers to be avoided. SO no matter who you are in this world of experience there are responses to questions that will always be incorrect and might "endanger" someone. Which is why I return to the comment that all should be able to provide advice and it should be left to the viewer to determine between them all.


Really no matter what you do you should be smart from the start. You melting metal? Im sure good gloves are in order especially proper ventilation. Maybe even a respiratory mask. Same goes for clay/glaze mixing. Hmmm those are some small floating particles. Better consider what you can do to not inhale them. Wow that kiln smells funny during firing....maybe I should avoid those fumes. Common sense.

#58360 Incorporating Metals Into Ceramic Sculpture

Posted by MMB on 12 May 2014 - 10:20 AM

Well to start you could consider a recent feature on ceramic arts. It definitely caught my eye because I too want to incorporate a mixture of mediums whether it be during or after a firing.




Its even got me looking into trying out some homemade glass clay. (not really clay)


Anyways, Tyler is right. Incorporating the two together isn't going to be the easiest of thing to do. Especially when it comes to shrinkage. Most metals get nasty during the firing and can flake and give off nasty fumes. Ive done copper flake in glazes to give off greens at low temps and pretty white and blues at mid range. Reckon these were flakes from key shavings and after inquiring more I have chosen to no longer pursue the venture due to possible lead fumes. Being I have my hands dabbling on the glass side of things I know that they sell shapes and glass dams made of stainless that glass workers use without issue. Mind you though these forms are covered with kiln paper or heated and coated in kiln wash. But from a fuming stand point they dont seem to be an issue in affecting the glass so you can at least feel comfortable that a glaze wouldnt be affected. I could say any stainless could work, but if you want to go the extra mile you could find out exactly what stainless the companies use for those shapes. I was dumb and used store bought (home depot) non stainless steel to make a kiln washed dam for a glass pot melt. As you can see the steel did not fair well in my electric ^07 firing.




If you find what works for you then keep us updated. I will say in closing though do not buy your metal from local hardware stores. Seek out a local metal supplier. You might have to buy a longer piece but you will be saving a lot of money in the long run. For example.... 2 x 1/2 inch flat bar that is 36 inches long I paid 45 bucks for at a hard ware store (yeah I know ridiculous) but at a metal supplier twenty minutes from me I could of got a 144 inch piece for 32 bucks.


:edit: I knew I was forgetting something. Duckweed is a readily available aquatic plant that is a good candidate for water purification and takes on heavy metals such as Nickle, Zinc, and Copper. Wonder if there would be a way to incorporate this into the water then harvest for ash production.

#55216 What Has Been Your Worst Re Encounter Of A Piece Of Your Pottery?

Posted by MMB on 22 March 2014 - 11:01 PM

This is a funny thread. Personally I think theres nothing wrong with having old work laying around. My parents still use a lot of my stuff from college, sure its not perfect, but they still cherish it. We are our worst critics as artists so even in our best work we will see failure. I keep most things that I find of "use" but the things that were tests and really serve no purpose go to the Graveyard. Its a pile that sits in the far back right corner of my families property. I usually dont take my truck when bringing things. I make it a point to take the long walk while holding such items before the final throw.

#54915 Raw Materials Start Up

Posted by MMB on 17 March 2014 - 11:33 PM

Well Ive been hunting and searching. Redart gets pretty dark by Cone 4 even if it has some additives. As much as so many hate the idea of a two ingredient clay I will test out the 1/2 redart 1/2 xx saggar. I also like the OM4 can have a tan color to it at higher temps especially with the addition of barium carb. Which I know is toxic but no where near the maganese level. As for the mess...trust me lou I grew up on the white sandy beaches of clearwater fl and have been dealing with the red clay of georgia for 3 or so years. I messed with local clay and had red hands for days. As for the shipping....here were the totals...first is standard, last is over night.




HAHAHA the price was so high I laughed hysterically, I mean why even show those calculations? I had been having issues with Atlanta Clay not being able to get an inventory restock. I turned to Axner and gave them a call. I mentioned shipping as an issue because of my situation, but to my surprise they have a 60 dollar pallet charge from FL to GA. Ended up not being exactly 60 but 10 for the pallet and 83 of the gas/delivery. Not bad for 610 pounds, plus i was told the pallet could have up to 1800 pounds on it. to me that was a deal....i dunno if theres better. ordered on a thursday and delivered on a tuesday. Ill take it. I just ordered two small parts from UT and paid 13 bucks for three day and for some reason its take a week and a day to get here....I will definitely make a call to them for that..

#44091 Supersaturated Solutions And Crystal Formation

Posted by MMB on 13 October 2013 - 01:09 AM

what ever you do be careful. Last time I read up on anything to do with metal salts they were said to be pretty nasty when it comes to health hazards.

#42856 Cone 6 Clay Body

Posted by MMB on 18 September 2013 - 09:45 PM

Yeah I have been reading from 3 or 4 threads about certain clays. I was reluctant for a while to make a thread because I didnt want to create another thread thats so much a like others. Ive been reading so much lately and it gets to that point where I just have to leave the computer and get to trying something. As for the Maganese Dioxide, I did see a dark brown/ metalic brown depending on the firing atmosphere recipe, but then I saw how nasty that Mag dioxide was and someone even said to where gloves when handling the clay. I dont want to have to have that worry, the dust and fuming from firing I understand but not when Im forming.


I hate to bring up the natural clay thing too. Its probably one of the most annoying questions to bring up, at least thats how I think the pros see it. I jumped at the idea way back only to be met with failure. I added 20% epk to my slurry and it helped a bit but nothing special. I only thought to use it again because I still have a bucket or two hidden somewhere underneath my work station and it has the mica already accounted for. Old habits I guess. I was experimenting the other day by adding back in some of the small bits of quartz and/or granite that I had once taken out of my natural clay. It did improve the workability a small amount so I shoved it into a plaster bowl shape, let it dry, and its on its way to cone 6 this evening. So we shall see. Ill move my updates into your thread since we are all attempting the same. Maybe the mods could sticky that thread since there is already a wealth of info to be had in it.


:edit: I see youre from north florida. It makes me think about when I was last in Jacksonville visiting some family. There was a small exhibit at once of the Museums there where a old local potter dug up clay from around Coral Springs. Which I was actually staying near Coral Springs. I thought about playing in the mud and bringing home a bucket of what ever I found haha. Maybe next time.

#40186 For New Folks, Red Is Not Santa Suit Red, Usually

Posted by MMB on 05 August 2013 - 11:47 AM

"yes, those guys were figure'n while their instructor was busy grinding excess glaze off 3 shelves with 4 6inch circles of glaze an inch high."


What I think is that you tried to assert yourself to these little scoundrels and they told you to bug off because you werent their instructor. Or there is some level of bitterness towards the act that you decided to go have a voice somewhere because you couldnt say anything there.


Oldlady do you have grey hair? not salt and pepper gray but like bentonite grey...you know the REAL grey not the other greys or the grey grey Grays... Your first post as many brought out was clearly an arrogant boast of ones "knowledge" and was clearly bashing to those more than likely just excited to find something for themselves. I always enjoyed when in school my science teachers starting off the class by saying "more than likely everything you learn this year could be proved wrong in the next ten years." Its true because what we know as definite in this world is only governed by our limitations. I think about how the grandeur of cone 10 glazes has really been taken back and over the years many have transitioned themselves to Cone 6. What was once thought to be unachievable at one level can now be succesfully achieved. As for the title of this post is plain ignorance. To state that "red" in order to be a REAL RED it has to be that most awful Santa Red. See what I did there? I stated my opinion that I felt the santas red was awful and not a definite red in my eye. Each color has its own spectrum of colors. Ever see the YELLOW freight trucks? there logo is a tint of Orange, but hey theyre calling it Yellow. You should email them.


I understand your insistance on safety. It is true that as potters there is much to think about when it comes safety ESPECIALLY if we are providing a product where food is involved. There are so many variables to consider when working with clay and education is necessary. I remember a while back I asked if Paper clay could be used for functional ware. After reading many posts from those I see in here that truely know there stuff I decided that I would not pursue Paper clay for function items. Yet, that was my choice and I am only one person. There are millions of potters out there making choices like the one I made but they might not be making the right one. You cant control that. We all can hope that they take measures to avoid the danger of hurting someone. Also to the potter might say "not for use with food" but hey the consumer might think "I mean it is a cup....so why not put my morning coffee in it." Its in their hands after that.


Being upset over others trying to achieve something that you "know" is impossible is just a waste of engergy. You know what statement I see most in the ceramic world? "You dont know till you try." So let them try and try and try again. Let each fail hopefully bring them to the conclusion that theyre wasting their time. And yes if the glaze runs then it RUNS! If anything maybe the instructor needs to tighten up a bit on certain people.


Well I got bored in the middle of making this post. Im going to go throw now with my Orange Clay.

#5493 Dead Field Mice In My Slip...

Posted by MMB on 05 March 2011 - 12:20 AM

Well the slip is good and gone now. Was sad to throw it all away but in all reality it was free. WHen I bought my kiln they had boxes of stuff which included a ton of greenware all wrapped up so i just reclaimed it all. If I found them alive I wouldnt of cared but they were dead for an unknown amount of time and I really wouldnt want to mess with any of the bacteria that could of riddled itself into my slip.

No worries. I just found all my caps to my pour spouts and secured them