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Member Since 04 Oct 2011
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 06:00 PM

#73808 Difference In Digital And Manual Kilns

Posted by neilestrick on 21 January 2015 - 06:30 PM

My kiln is actually new. It's an L&L digital.  I've had a Duncan for about 15 years before it quit, it was manual.   I was just confused about the cone thing.  Cause the clay says 4-6 cone but Standard recommends to fire at 5.  I usually fire most things at 5 for glaze recommendations.  But on occasion,  I'll make something that is not glazed and want to fire higher to get the darker color.


Cone 5 with a 10 minute hold will get you to 5 1/2. With a manual kiln there's no cone 5 1/2 to put in the sitter, so you have to fire until visual cone 6 is bent to 3 o'clock, which equals about 5 1/2. Visual (large) cones start at about 1 o'clock, and you've reached the cone when they are bent all the way to the shelf, or 6 o'clock.

#73696 Should This Glaze Fire Out Glossy?

Posted by neilestrick on 20 January 2015 - 03:09 PM

I cool at 175F/hr from cone 6 down to 1550F, because some of my glossy glazes look better with a little more time at the high end. Most people who slow cool will let it cool naturally to around 1950F, then slow cool down to 1450-1550F at 150-200F/hr, where matte glazes will develop.

#73684 Should This Glaze Fire Out Glossy?

Posted by neilestrick on 20 January 2015 - 12:24 PM

Try adding a cooling cycle to your firing if you're not already. It should help to knock down the glossiness. It could be that the firings in which it came out less glossy were fuller loads, and therefore cooled slower. Some glazes are very touchy about cooling rates. I used to have one that was high gloss in a fast cool, matte in a slow cool.

#73532 Why Do The Fluxing Molecules Only Have One Oxygen Atom

Posted by neilestrick on 17 January 2015 - 03:49 PM

Also research 'eutectic'.

#73232 Holding Temp

Posted by neilestrick on 13 January 2015 - 03:40 PM

Stuff burns out of the glaze during firing, so you want to leave the top peep open to vent it.

#73218 Kiln Dismantle ?

Posted by neilestrick on 13 January 2015 - 09:57 AM

Lots of fiber on there. You'll need to wear a mask the whole time. Looks like homemade pipe burners. I wouldn't mess with those, just build a couple of power burners. Are there any safety systems? I don't see any pilots.


Still wouldn't touch it. Maybe buy the bricks, but forget the rest. 

#73217 Deflocculated Wax Resist?

Posted by neilestrick on 13 January 2015 - 09:55 AM

I've been adding food coloring to my wax for years, without this happening. Maybe check labels next time you're at the store and see if there's a difference between brands.

#73090 Anyone With Experience Firing An Olympic Updraft Kiln?

Posted by neilestrick on 08 January 2015 - 05:58 PM

I know a guy who fires all of his work in one of those, but it's a real struggle. As mentioned above, he has to put certain glazes in certain spots to account for the unevenness. You'd be better off converting an old electric by adding a downdraft flue. The old square Amaco models work well for that because they have a thick enough case that you can weld to it. They're super heavy and a bear to move, though. I did one for a friend 15 years ago and she's still using it. I welded a chimney to the back side and put a small burner on each side of the chimney. She fires to cone 10 and reduction cools in it.

#72992 New Skutt Steven Hill - Wheel Head Wobble Problem

Posted by neilestrick on 06 January 2015 - 09:55 PM

As clay lover said, this is not normal. I've got 11 Skutt wheels and none have ever had this problem. It could be your wheel head was a bad casting.

#72953 New Skutt Steven Hill - Wheel Head Wobble Problem

Posted by neilestrick on 06 January 2015 - 11:29 AM

The shaft is flat on top- that's normal. Sometimes the wheel head seats better one way. Try taking it off and turning it 180 degrees. If that doesn't help, call Skutt and let them know what's going on.

#72129 Photographic Records Of Your Work Burying You Alive, Too?

Posted by neilestrick on 19 December 2014 - 09:03 AM

I have one folder for slides. Inside that is a folder for each date that I shot the slides. If I'm shooting for a customer, I label the folder with their last name and the date. For my work I often label the same, but sometimes label with the type of work I was shooting if I was doing a whole batch of mugs, for instance. If I need to find a specific pot for a customer, I use Adobe Bridge, which will show small images of every file within a folder or within any given search criteria, like a person's name.

#72105 How To Get A Clear Satin Glaze

Posted by neilestrick on 18 December 2014 - 09:37 PM

I would start with a slower cooling cycle if that's a possibility. Otherwise, you can get away with increasing EPK and reducing silica and still stay within limits. I'd test 3% increments. As it becomes more matte you will lose transparency, so don't go too far. The silica to alumina ratio is currently high enough that you should be able to knock down some of the glossiness and still stay nice and clear.

#72016 Using Wire Support To Make Spikes

Posted by neilestrick on 17 December 2014 - 09:17 AM

The clays we use form making pots and such are called 'clay bodies'. Each is formulated for specific characteristics such as color, firing temperature, and texture. Porcelain is a clay body, just like stoneware or earthenware. They all contain different types of clays as well as binders (feldspar), silica, and grit (grog or sand). What sets porcelain apart from other clay bodies is that it's lower in clay and higher in feldspar and silica. So once it's fired, it's much glassier than stoneware or earthenware bodies. You can build with porcelain just like any other clay body, but it does require good technical skills as it is more likely to warp or crack than other bodies.


Cone 6 porcelain is still porcelain, it's just formulated to fire at a lower temperature. But can still be glassy and translucent just like cone 10 porcelain.


Wire stilts do not generally work very well at cone 6. The wires tend to soften and bend. So instead we just make sure the bottom of the foot is clean of glaze, and fire the pot sitting right on the shelf.


In general it's not a good idea to leave wires inside the clay, since the clay shrinks and the wire doesn't, which causes the clay to crack. I say just make the spikes and attach them to the form by scoring, just like any other attachment.

#71770 Production Potter Productivity

Posted by neilestrick on 12 December 2014 - 03:13 PM

As a kiln repair tech, and former clay & glaze tech for one of the clay/glaze manufacturers in the midwest, I have learned that I spend more time asking questions than answering questions. When a customer calls with a technical problem, I have to ask a ton of questions in order to get to the root of the problem, and even then people often leave out important information. I once had a customer call to complain that his terra cotta body, which he had mixed himself, had little white specs in it. He was sure that the Redart we had sold him was contaminated, and he was NOT happy. I asked him for his recipe, which he gave me, and there was nothing odd about it- just Redart and ball clay if I remember right. We talked about his water supply, his mixing methods, his pug mill, etc, etc, etc. Finally, after all that, I asked him if he was putting barium carbonate in the clay body (to prevent scumming). Well, yes, of course, he said. Everyone does, right? I asked him if he was blunging it in water before adding it to the clay body. No, he said. That was the source of the white specs- the barium wasn't dispersing very well when added dry.


My point is, we often leave out important facts when describing our situation because we assume they are general knowledge, and we often assume certain facts to be general knowledge when answering questions. In a forum situation like this it's very difficult to get all the facts out there, and it's very difficult to answer questions without making assumptions. There are shortcomings on both sides of the conversation because this is a slow, tedious way to have a conversation. But it doesn't mean anyone is intentionally trying to be difficult, on either side.

#71711 Making "bosses" (Little Bumps On Old Pots)

Posted by neilestrick on 11 December 2014 - 09:47 PM

To get the same effect without adding all the weight of the dots and doing all that forming and scoring, hold a hollow tube on the outside and push the clay into it from the inside.