Jump to content


Member Since 04 Oct 2011
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 07:12 PM

#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.

#58287 Axner Pottery Wheel

Posted by neilestrick on 10 May 2014 - 01:52 PM

I haven't used the Axner wheels, but I can vouch for the Skutt/Thomas-Stuart wheels.

#58283 Obvara After Pit Firing

Posted by neilestrick on 10 May 2014 - 12:06 PM

I made a new sourdough starter last year using wild yeast, that is not using yeast from a packet. Just take flour and water and let it sit out. Every day feed it some flour and water. After about 3 days it started to smell awful, like it was going bad, which it technically was. By day 5 it had started to bubble a bit as the good yeast started to take over, and by day 7 it was good and bubbly and smelled nice and yeasty. Basically the good yeast have to build up and take over the bad stuff. Not that any of this is exactly the same as what you're doing, but it gives you an idea of how the mix can change. But you've got to feed it every day to keep the yeast active and the mixture bubbly. With sourdough bread, making a starter with wild yeast gives you a greater variety of organisms in the mix, resulting in better flavor and texture in your bread.

#58276 Firing Question

Posted by neilestrick on 10 May 2014 - 08:47 AM

Some people claim that if you bisque and glaze at the same time that it will screw up certain glaze colors, like reds. I've never seen it happen. And like Benzine said, explosions can be a real mess. If you are worried about explosions, put your greenware on the bottom shelves, glaze ware on the top shelves. That way if anything blows it won't get on the glazes.

#58274 Need A Cheap Simple Clay Body Recipe

Posted by neilestrick on 10 May 2014 - 08:19 AM

That recipe should be fine to start with. May need to tweak the feldspar as you go.


I'm not trying to be negative, but here are some thing to think about in regards to mixing your own clay:

Personally, I don't feel like I'm missing anything by not mixing my own clay bodies. I know how to do it, I did it for a few years, and I'm done with it. For me it's better left for those who can do it quickly and efficiently and safely. As long as I can get a body I like from a commercial supplier, I'm happy to do it. And if the day comes that I can't get one, then I'll still have them mix my own recipe for me. Generally speaking, painters don't make their own oil paints and printmakers don't make their own inks. Most fiber artists don't raise their own sheep and spin their yarn. Most furniture makers don't raise and harvest their own trees for lumber. There are things that you shouldn't feel bad about leaving to someone else. You're going to put a lot of wear and tear on your body, and if your studio isn't properly vented for dealing with dry clays, then you're also creating a big health hazard with all that dust. If mixing your own clay is necessary for the process to feel complete, why aren't you digging your own clay? If you truly love mixing clay, then go for it. But don't feel like it's something you need to do to be a 'real' potter.

#58217 Stephen Hill Firing Schedule

Posted by neilestrick on 08 May 2014 - 09:27 PM

In my very limited experience with soaking to drop more than one cone, it seems to vary depending on which cones you're working with. 6 to 8 took me 40 minutes. 4 to 6 took 80 minutes. It may also have to do with the speed of firing up to that point. I haven't done any further test to try and figure out all the details. I would imagine going from 6 to 9 would take at least an hour. The only way to do it is to test. Put some large cones in the kiln, fire to whatever cone with a hold of at least 2 hours to be safe. Watch the cones drop and see how long it takes.


As for my glazes, I would say those that have a narrower firing range were definitely the most negatively affected by soaking rather than firing up. Specifically, they came out under fired. I think their makeup is such that they need to reach certain temperature in order to begin melting, rather than an amount of heat work, if that makes any sense. As we've been discovering, not all things in the kiln respond to heat work in the same way. I think that sometimes you just have to get hotter for it to work.


I fire to cone 6, and cool my kilns at a rate of 175F per hour down to 1550F. Technically they say you should go down to 1450 or 1400, at which point slow cooling won't have any effect, but I don't see any difference at 1550. The whole cooling cycle takes less than 4 hours, and is only slightly slower than my big kiln cools anyway. Mostly it just slows it down at the top end. When I slow cool, all of my glazes look better. The glossy glazes are glossier and have deeper colors, and the matte glazes have more crystal growth, giving much more depth and variation.

#58190 Frustration Finding A City Workspace!

Posted by neilestrick on 08 May 2014 - 05:13 PM

Make sure you're on the same page about the cubic footage. When potters say 20 cubic feet, they mean stacking space, and the actual interior volume is  more like double that. When the city says 20 cubic feet, they may mean total volume, not stacking space.


I went through all this 6 years ago when I moved my shop. The problem was not the village building codes, it was the fire codes. My first shop was in a free standing building, which makes it much easier to get things done. They don't care so much if you burn down your own place. When I moved, every space I looked at was a multi-tenant structure (light industrial/office park). Suddenly there were all sorts of fire code rules that didn't apply before. In order to put a gas kiln in my current space I would have had to add 2, possibly 3, layers of drywall to the wall separating my space from the neighbor in order to meet fire code. The other big issue was that the gas meters are clustered in the middle of a 24 unit building, and I'm at the end. I would have had to upgrade 200+ feet of gas pipe i order to deliver the volume needed for the kiln. The cost: $12,000. More than I spent on the kiln. My HVAC guy also wanted $6,000 to move the vent I originally paid $6,000 to have built and installed.


All of this was what made me do something I had been considering doing anyway- I switched to cone 6 electric. And I must say I don't miss firing the gas kiln one bit.


Regarding John's comment about electric kilns: Most all safety issues with electric kilns come from user errors/laziness that are simple to avoid. Usually they come from bad wires, either in the wall or in the kiln, or form the plug/outlet. They wear out and short and cause sparks and possibly fires. Regular maintenance checks can prevent most of those from happening. The other danger is form people setting combustible things on or near the kiln. This happens most often in community studios and schools, where many people who are not familiar with the kiln are working near it. I've seen all sorts of fun stuff melted to the sides of kilns. 

#58041 Encouraging Glaze Movement?

Posted by neilestrick on 06 May 2014 - 09:29 PM

Looking at the inside of the mug, I'd say it did move a fair amount where it cam into contact with the liner glaze. If you overlap more with the fake ash it will definitely run, as fake ash glazes are quite runny. But if you want the purple to move more on its own, increase the Frit by 2% increments until you get it where you want it.


Can you post the fake ash recipe? I'd like to test that.