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Member Since 04 Oct 2011
Online Last Active Today, 02:50 PM

#86518 Basement Studio Lighting

Posted by neilestrick on 04 June 2015 - 09:56 AM

The nice thing about drop ceilings is that you have access to all the electrical, plumbing, gas and heating lines that live there, so if you ever need to make a change it's super easy. And with a studio, there's a good chance you'll need to make a change at some point, like if you decide to get a new piece of equipment and need to put in another outlet. I've had to do that for my wife's sewing studio in our basement, as well as get to some plumbing when we had a leak. Drop ceilings are not as pretty as sheetrock, but you can get some really nice ceiling panels nowadays. With can lights they actually look really good. I've even seen one where they used nice maple plywood for the panels with black frames. Do not use big fluorescent light boxes, as they look awful and make the ceiling feel lower. We replaced all the boxes in our basement crop ceiling with cans and I'm very happy with how it looks. Put the ceiling in with as little drop as possible so you don't lose a lot of height.

#86467 Pottery Festival In Cambridge Wi

Posted by neilestrick on 03 June 2015 - 01:03 PM

I'll be there as well. It's a fun show. Hopefully someone else will start a show to replace it.

#84743 New Kiln

Posted by neilestrick on 31 May 2015 - 09:12 PM

In addition to conditioning the elements, the first firing will set the mortar in the lid and floor slabs, as well as make sure everything is working properly- making sure nothing was knocked loose during shipping.

#84418 Electric Kiln Firing Help

Posted by neilestrick on 30 May 2015 - 08:44 AM

The sitter does not set firing duration. It is simply a countdown timer that will turn the kiln off when it hits zero, regardless of whether or not the kiln has reached temperature. It's a safety backup in case the cone doesn't shut down the kiln.You'll need to do a firing with the timer set too high, like 15 hours, to figure out how long a firing takes. Then set the timer for about 1/2 hour longer than that for all future firings. That time will be different for a bisque than for a glaze firing. You'll want to bisque to around cone 04.


The clay you have purchased seems to be a cone 10 clay. You really don't want to fire that high in an electric kiln unless you have to, which you don't. Going that hot will burn out your elements much faster, and wear out your kiln much faster. Most folks who fire electric kilns fire to cone 5/6. You'll want to get a clay that matures at cone 5/6, not cone 10. The range of temps they show for you clay is misleading, because the clay will not be fully vitrified if you fire at the low end of the range.


For the firing itself, most people put the kiln on low for an hour or two, then medium for an hour or two, then high until the cone drops. You can estimate that by the numbers on the dial.

#83655 How Long Do The Effects Of Epsom Salts For Flocculation Last?

Posted by neilestrick on 29 May 2015 - 01:01 PM

Unless something changes with the chemistry of the water, it should last forever. I suppose if solubles in the glaze material slowly leach out over time and deflocculate the glaze, then you could need to add more epsom salts, but I've never had to do that.

#82589 My First Booth

Posted by neilestrick on 27 May 2015 - 11:38 AM

neil, my first attempt at the bluemont fair in va came just as i was starting to build a house out there.  i had a shed but the roof was not yet on and i spent the night in a sleeping bag under flimsy plastic that blew off in the rain.  the pots were in the car so i could not have slept there.  and i was on the mountain in the woods so a locking door to keep critters out was most important.  dry clothes felt SO good in the morning.


One of my big rules for art fairs is to always have a full change of clothes. Socks, underwear, everything. I have need them on several occasions due to rain storms. Even when the weather is good, it's nice to have a clean shirt to put on after getting all sweaty loading the truck after the show.

#82535 Qotw: Are You A Thrower Or A Hand Builder?

Posted by neilestrick on 26 May 2015 - 08:24 PM

I saw that on Instagram one day and fell over laughing.

#82520 Qotw: Are You A Thrower Or A Hand Builder?

Posted by neilestrick on 26 May 2015 - 04:42 PM

Attached File  Ghost-Funny.jpg   117.65KB   3 downloads

#82519 Your Dream Studio?

Posted by neilestrick on 26 May 2015 - 03:56 PM

The one where I'm the only one in it.  ;)

#82495 User Program, Does Anyone Use Ramp Rates Different Than The Orton Chart?

Posted by neilestrick on 26 May 2015 - 10:13 AM

Cone is cone, whether you got there at 500/hr or 100/hr. That said, just because the heat work has done its job on the cone doesn't mean it has done its job on the pots. The interior of lidded or closed/narrow forms, or pots that are thicker than the cone may not have had the heat penetrate through if you fire really fast. In addiiton, glazes will react differently to different rates of climb. In general, glazes look richer when fired more slowly at the end because they spend a longer time at high temps, and have more opportunity to flow and mingle. Most glazes have a broad range during which they are fluid, so the longer they spend at the high end, the better the effects. I formulate my glazes so that cone 6 is pretty near the top of their range. That way if it underfires a little bit it won't really matter, and I get good flow. The down side is that if the glaze goes on too thick it can run off the pot. The last 200 degrees is important because below that the kiln just isn't hot enough to have an effect on the glaze melt.

#82216 Group Studio: How To Figure Out Cost Sharing

Posted by neilestrick on 22 May 2015 - 08:45 AM

A studio here in the Chicago area has a soda kiln, and the cost for putting pieces in it is very high because they have to rebuild it every 4 years or so. They fire it at least 100 times a year, and use a lot of soda, so it doesn't last too long. The rebuild cost can range from $8,000 to $15,000, depending on how much brick can be salvaged and the degree to which it is torn down. So if you do it right, when it comes time to rebuild your kiln, you'll have enough money put aside to do it.

#82172 Need A Cheap Simple Clay Body Recipe

Posted by neilestrick on 21 May 2015 - 12:41 PM

Thanks for the update. For 32 cents a pound you can select from dozens and dozens of commercially available pre-mixed bodies and save yourself a lot of time and effort, and get something you want instead of something that's just in the right price range.

#81910 Using Bisques Clay As Armature

Posted by neilestrick on 19 May 2015 - 09:16 AM

Any time you put something hard inside the clay there's a good chance of the clay cracking as it dries. The clay shrinks, the armature doesn't. You may be able to get away with something small like toothpicks if the sculpture itself is not really small and thin. It is possible to build without an armature by building it in sections and joining them when they are leather hard, or by building it solid and then cutting it open and hollowing it out.

#81397 Renting Studio (Long)

Posted by neilestrick on 12 May 2015 - 10:19 AM

The vent will connect to the outside via a semi-rigid flexible duct, probably a 4". You'll just need a standard 4" dryer duct through the wall or roof. The vent will pull a small bit of air form the kiln, and a much larger volume from the room to cool the kiln air. The air going out through the wall will be under 150F, no hotter than a clothes dryer. Use the vent and stay home.

#81260 Old Orton Controller

Posted by neilestrick on 11 May 2015 - 09:49 AM

As long as that controller has the functionality you need, then just use it till there's a problem. If it does not have the functions you need, then I recommend the Bartlett V6-CF. The Bartlett might not fit into the same hole, though, so you'll have to cut the box or add a piece of sheet metal to make it fit.

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