Jump to content


Member Since 04 Oct 2011
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 10:28 PM

#119022 Newbie: Kiln Over Or Underfired?

Posted by neilestrick on 23 December 2016 - 01:11 PM

When you say the cone wasn't bent properly at peak, was that before or after the hold? The hold will adda lot of heat work. Slow cooling from the peak temperature will also affect heat work. So you either need less hold, a lower peak temp, or add a crash cool from the peak down a couple hundred degrees before you start the slow cooling.

#118969 Help!

Posted by neilestrick on 22 December 2016 - 05:51 PM

The big question here is: Do you want to give them a broken and repaired platter, or one you're proud of?

#118923 Help!

Posted by neilestrick on 22 December 2016 - 07:42 AM

Sorry for the bad news, but you can't fix it. Once a rim cracks it's done.

#118900 Silica In Glaze And Body To Ensure Good Fit?

Posted by neilestrick on 21 December 2016 - 10:25 PM



  Nerd....   I need to make a few fun posts: I am starting to bore myself.


Cat videos are always good.

#118899 Silica In Glaze And Body To Ensure Good Fit?

Posted by neilestrick on 21 December 2016 - 10:25 PM

What Nerd said. Not that I understand what he said.

#118898 How Hot Was It?

Posted by neilestrick on 21 December 2016 - 10:21 PM

The thing is, it doesn't matter what temperature it reached. If the cone melts, then that's what matters. Depending on the speed of the firing, that temp could vary by dozens of degrees. Trust your cones. They're more accurate than any pyrometer. Heat work is what matters, not temperature. If you've got extra cash then go ahead and get one, but for accuracy of the firing, go with your cones.

#118862 Wheel Speed When Trimming

Posted by neilestrick on 21 December 2016 - 02:43 PM

There is a minimum required speed in order for the tool to cut. The speed of the rotation provides the force for the tool to slice through the clay. If you apply too much pressure with the tool at any given speed, the tool will grab and pull the piece off the wheel. Beginners always want to trim with the wheel going slow- it feels more in control. However at those slow speeds you have to be very gentle with the tool or it will grab. I teach them to trim with the wheel at the same medium-fast speed they use for centering when throwing. It provides enough force to deal with their inconsistent trimming tool pressure. 


I trim with the wheel going quite fast. It allows me to be very aggressive with my trimming tool, which minimizes the amount of time needed to trim a piece.

#118654 Question About Height Of Wheel To Stand And Throw

Posted by neilestrick on 17 December 2016 - 11:13 PM

I never thought about this before but I think men's belly buttons are a different relationship to hips than womens' are to hips. ..if my figure drawing classes served me well.
Just saying'


Very true. Men have lower hip bones. When I teach students to brace, I have men put their left elbow into their hip bone. For women I have them put their elbow into their thigh. I remember a day in my figure drawing class in college when we had a 6' tall male model and a 5'5" tall female model, and their hip bones were the same height from the floor.

#118579 Question About Height Of Wheel To Stand And Throw

Posted by neilestrick on 16 December 2016 - 10:50 PM

I like mine a little lower than Min, about hip height so I can brace my elbow into my hip if needed. I built a wood frame for mine, but first I put it up on cinder blocks and shimmed it as needed to figure out what height to build the frame. A lot of people I know just use cinder blocks, but I didn't like the idea of bumping my shins into them. I keep my pedal up on the corner of my wheel so I can adjust it with my hand (although this photo doesn't show that). It's a bit awkward to throw standing at first, because you don't have all the bracing points for your arms that you do when sitting. You'll get used to it, though, and your back will thank you.

Attached File  Wheel-Stand.jpg   265.58KB   4 downloads

#118451 Kiln Trips Breaker When I Turn It To High

Posted by neilestrick on 14 December 2016 - 11:58 PM

Usually if there is a problem in the kiln, like a fried wire that is grounding out, then it will trip the breaker immediately upon turning on the kiln. Since it's taking a while before it trips, the breaker is probably bad. Make sure the breaker is 25% greater than the draw of the kiln, and the wire is the right size for that breaker. Might be a good time to get an electrician in to check it out.

#118416 Just Dreaming ...

Posted by neilestrick on 14 December 2016 - 10:28 AM

The two best days in a mans' life:

1. The day he buys a boat.

2. The day he sells the boat.

#118397 Just Dreaming ...

Posted by neilestrick on 14 December 2016 - 12:53 AM

Win the lottery, and wood fire until the money runs out.  :P

#118396 Vent To Empty Garage Overnight

Posted by neilestrick on 14 December 2016 - 12:50 AM

It's not good. I suppose it depends on how tightly sealed the garage is from the house, but the garage is going to fill up with fumes. If you left a car running in the garage would you be confident that the exhaust wouldn't get into the house? The other issue is that you're going to be pumping all the particulate matter from the kiln fumes into your garage. Ideally you need to set it up properly so that the fumes are vented outside.

#118281 Opening A Community Studio - Advice!

Posted by neilestrick on 11 December 2016 - 04:13 PM

I've had a lot of students who come from other studios around the country where they had to pay every time they did something. Every practice session outside of class time,, every pot that was glazed, every pot that was fired, etc. They felt like they were nickeled and dimed to death. I price things so it's easy on them, and easier for me in that I don't have to constantly be hitting them up for fees. Class tuition includes open studio time. Clay price includes glazes and firing. They pay tuition at the beginning of the session, they buy a bag of clay when they need it. Easy. They're more willing to come to open studio, which means they improve more quickly, and use more clay, which I'm happy to sell them. They get hooked on clay and keep signing up for classes.


Make the rules clear. Post them in a couple of spots in the studio.


I have a few students who pay for 24 hour access, and they are a great help in opening the studio when I can't.


Learn how to say 'NO'. Say it a lot. You'll be happier. If you're ever undecided, go with 'no' rather than 'yes'. It's usually not worth the money and aggravation to say 'yes'. It took me a long time to learn this, as it does most people. Define what your job is and how you want to do it, and stick to it. You are under no obligation to do things for customers or students who want you to do something outside of your job description. That's not to say that your job can't evolve, but be selective. Only say 'yes' if it's something you plan to continue doing. 

#118223 Cleaning Up After Glazing

Posted by neilestrick on 10 December 2016 - 12:22 PM

Put a Gleco Trap on your sink. Rinse out any towels before throwing them in the washing machine and you'll be fine.