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Member Since 04 Oct 2011
Offline Last Active Today, 05:20 PM

#59526 This Is What Clay Looks Like From The Pug

Posted by neilestrick on 29 May 2014 - 09:08 PM

I have never seen clay go into laminations like that unless it was frozen at some point. If that's how it looks coming out of the pugger, then there might be something wrong with your pugger.

#59507 Does Any One Else Miss This Nutcase?

Posted by neilestrick on 29 May 2014 - 05:14 PM

There is a difference between things that are loosely made by skilled hands and poorly made by unskilled hands. However simple a piece may be, if it is made by skilled hands it will show an intent and confidence that unskilled hands cannot duplicate.


I had the opportunity to help fire John Balistreri's anagama in Denver in 1995. In that kiln were several pieces by Ken Ferguson and Don Reitz, as well as a Voulkos stack and several of his platters. The stack had already been sold to some company in Japan for tens of thousands of dollars. The platters were thick as can be, about 24 inches across, and amazing. We had a special surprise when Voulkos flew out to see the pieces when we unloaded. Really nice guy. He was clearly not in the best health at that time, but he was still making great work. And there was plenty of technical skill involved in their construction.

#59497 Metallic Weirdness On Pots

Posted by neilestrick on 29 May 2014 - 02:22 PM

Was the blue crud on the iron grate? Or did it just look cooked and flaky? It seems like if there was something vaporizing out of the iron then it would have also had an effect on the iron itself. It also seems unlikely to me that there could be enough of anything in the angle iron grate to cause issues throughout the kiln.


Different woods can have a huge effect on the firing. I grad school a friend of mine did his thesis on firing with cottonwood. It was a bear to split, didn't give off much heat, created a ton of ash that clogged up the kiln, and made everything look like varnished concrete- gray and glossy. He sent some ash off to the lab and found that the cottonwood in our area was really high in potassium, hence the gray gloss. After some experimentation he figured out that with a high iron body (4.5%), and adjusting the firing to account for the heavy ash, the results were fantastic, especially when reduction cooled. It did some awful things with some glazes, though, that firing with pine didn't do.


Try a different grate in the next firing, with the same wood source and see what happens. If it is the metal causing the issue, it will be interesting to figure out what exactly is going on.

#59293 Real-Time Kiln Advice (Kiln Curently Firing)

Posted by neilestrick on 26 May 2014 - 08:49 PM

Gosh this has been exciting!!!!!!   Makes cone 6 electric look boring!!!  


Boring, but she could have had a couple of loads fired by now! :D


All kidding aside, this is probably the most educational thread EVER!

#59099 Raku Party - How Can We 'do It Up Right'?

Posted by neilestrick on 23 May 2014 - 08:40 AM

If I have an event in my shop where I will be serving alcoholic beverages, like a gallery opening, am not allowed to advertise that there will be alcohol available. If I was charging admission to the event, the rules would change, and I would not be allowed to serve alcohol at all since I do not have a liquor license. So you'll have to check with your local authorities on how all that works. It may be different if it's BYOB.


The biggest concern for me when doing raku workshops is safety. I think the vast majority of raku workshops are done in an unsafe manner. Don't even get me started on the dangerous raku kiln designs. For all attendees, I have the following rules:


1. Long pants

2. Closed toe shoes

3. No synthetic fiber clothing

4. Safety glasses and gloves when near the cans.


For those who want to pull pots from the kiln, they have to wear the full gear- hat, face shield, long gloves, fire coat.


For me, Raku workshops are not a good money maker. Too many hours to make it worthwhile, plus gas and materials costs are high. I do it as a fun event to get people together who aren't normally in the same classes, and to bring some new students in.

#59092 Controller Upgrade/replacement

Posted by neilestrick on 22 May 2014 - 09:44 PM

Take a look at the attached diagram. It has the numbers on the transformer.



Attached Thumbnails

  • E18S Wiring.jpg

#58957 Float Glaze.....but No Float- Tourmaline

Posted by neilestrick on 21 May 2014 - 11:40 AM

Different thickness, different clay, different kiln, different firing schedule, different cooling rate, etc..... Lot of variables that can make a glaze come out differently than the tile in the catalog. Keep testing.

#58955 Recurring Lubrication Problem

Posted by neilestrick on 21 May 2014 - 11:35 AM

I hold a wet sponge in my hand, just behind my finger tips so that it makes contact with the pot and lubes it as I pull.

#58876 Crater Glaze

Posted by neilestrick on 20 May 2014 - 01:47 PM

Yeah, somebody doesn't know how to write a recipe. I would start by trying it as is, like everything is in grams. You may find that you can get away with a lot less silicon carbide, but the numbers look like they should work as is.

#58864 Warped Base On My Paper Clay Vases

Posted by neilestrick on 20 May 2014 - 11:36 AM

It's most likely because of the flat foot. You don't have to make a foot ring, but push in the center of the foot so that it rests on the outer edge only.

#58661 Strong Bleach Odor In My Bag Of Laguna Clay

Posted by neilestrick on 16 May 2014 - 02:03 PM

I would give them a call and let them know that what they did was very stupid, but in a constructive manner of course. Make sure they realize how irritating the fumes were, how dangerous those fumes are to inhale, and how irritating it can be to the skin. Putting bleach in it also negates the Non-Toxic label that came with the clay, and opens them up to lawsuits. It is illegal to sell something with a Non-Toxic Label that hasn't been tested as sold. Be sure to mention how lucky they are that there weren't any children in the studio at the time. Tell them you'll report them to Laguna if it ever happens again. Milk it! It really was a stupid and dangerous thing to do, and they need to know that. If you're firm enough, you might get some free clay out of it.


Plus, they need to learn a thing or two about clay- mold is good!


Link to chlorine bleach MSDS: http://www.theclorox...bleach0809_.pdf

#58635 How To Professionally Foot A Pot?

Posted by neilestrick on 16 May 2014 - 09:20 AM

Speaking of waxing a foot ring, I do a lot of hand building so some of my "feet" are tiny feet.  Even though I wax and am careful with the glaze they still occasionally stick to the shelf causing a chip on the foot because part of the foot sticks to the shelf.  (I use kiln wash on my shelves)  Has anyone uses a bit of alumina in their cold wax to prevent this type of chipping?  I understand you ruin the wax and can only use on foot rings as the alumina hates glaze.  Let me know......thanks.


If you have good kiln wash this shouldn't happen. Put down a fresh layer of wash.

#58437 Controller Upgrade/replacement

Posted by neilestrick on 13 May 2014 - 11:59 AM

If you do replace it, the V6-CF is a great controller. I personally have no issues with the mechanical relays. They are inexpensive and last several years with normal use. Zone control is a worthwhile cheap upgrade, as it will eliminate any unevenness issues. If you can't fit the added thermocouples inside the box, just put them external and run the wires in.

#58435 Pinhole Doctor Needed – Nasty Case – Diagnosis Required.

Posted by neilestrick on 13 May 2014 - 11:51 AM

I agree with Wyndham- that glaze is under fired. It's really high in alumina and stiff to the point that it's not smoothing over completely. It's also very high in soda. Combined with being under fired, it's probably not a very durable glaze at all.


Look for matte glazes that go matte because of the makeup of the glass, rather than simply being under fired. Magnesium matte glazes are a great way to go. They are durable and smooth, you can make them runny but still matte, and you can control how matte they are by how slow you cool the kiln.

#58292 Axner Pottery Wheel

Posted by neilestrick on 10 May 2014 - 03:19 PM

Skutt wheels have the most torque for motor size. The 1/3hp is plenty powerful for most everything, but it's not that much more money to go up to 1/2hp. The best thing is the large splash pan. It will keep your studio floor noticeably cleaner. I prefer the built in splash pan since it's heavier and more stable than the removable pan. It's not really any harder to clean, either.