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Member Since 04 Oct 2011
Offline Last Active Today, 08:56 PM

#115387 Stoneware Warping In The Kiln

Posted by neilestrick on 30 October 2016 - 07:51 PM

Putting a bottom slab on it will solve the problem. Or just set it on a sacrificial slab that can shrink with the piece. Any time you have an open bottom like that it will distort if it's sitting right on the shelf.


It's only over fired if it's a cone 6 clay.

#115323 When Centering My Wheel

Posted by neilestrick on 29 October 2016 - 10:42 AM

It's a spray stuff they make for car engine belts that keeps them from slipping. Do not use on salad.

#115287 Help With A Glazing Process?

Posted by neilestrick on 28 October 2016 - 12:24 PM

You can use any sort of underglaze or engobe for sgraffito. Do the carving on the stiff side of leather hard. Bisque fire to low fire temps (cone 06-04), then glaze and fire for the glaze. Your glaze should be formulated to mature at the same temp as your clay, whether low fire, mid range or high fire.

#115219 Pulling Walls

Posted by neilestrick on 27 October 2016 - 01:02 PM

Practice, practice, practice. The size of your hands doesn't really matter. My undergrad professor had hands the size of dinner plates and he made dainty little porcelain pots. Once you get taller than your hands it takes some practice to get used to not being able to hook your thumbs for stability. Make the cylinder a little wider for comfort, then just keep making the same thing over and over and you'll get it. Repetition is key.

#115204 Kiln Furniture Question

Posted by neilestrick on 27 October 2016 - 10:02 AM

The mesh of the silica sand doesn't matter, as long as it is sand, not powder. I've always used 70 mesh because that's what I had on hand from using it as a clay additive. I wouldn't go much finer than that. 50 would work. You just need to sprinkle it on the shelf. It acts like little ball bearings.

#115162 Any Thoughts On How To Improve My % In A Good Gallery?

Posted by neilestrick on 26 October 2016 - 04:57 PM

One of my neighbors at an art fair this summer was a jeweler. It was a slow show, so we spent a lot of time talking about the differences in selling our work. She explained that her materials costs were quite high, often 50% of the sale price, and there was a lot more labor in many of her pieces as well. But the most interesting thing she said to me was that most women could spend $100 cash in her booth and take home the jewelry and the husband would never know she had bought it. But try sneaking a $100 lidded jar into the house....

#115161 Kiln Furniture Question

Posted by neilestrick on 26 October 2016 - 04:52 PM

Put silica sand under large pieces to allow them to move against the shelf. Buying custom refractories will cost a fortune. Better to make your own out of groggy clay, or shave down soft bricks. You could also cast your own with castable refractory, but that stuff's not cheap.

#115039 Blisters Worse After Re-Firing

Posted by neilestrick on 24 October 2016 - 07:43 PM

Agree Babs:  but he said "unstable glaze- not enough alumina and/or silica." Alumina and silica are refractory materials. Depending on the ratio of flux/ refractory materials, the melting point will rise and fall.......  I took a short cut in my explanation. hope it is now clearer what I meant. 


Yep. If it was fired cooler it might be fine, but at that temp it needs more silica or alumina to stabilize it. If we had the recipe we could compare it to limit formulas, but without a recipe you could run tests adding equal parts alumina and silica in 2% each increments. At some point, if that really is the problem, the craters will stop. Equal parts clay and silica will generally keep the si:al ratio the same as the original, or at least very close.

#115038 Kiln Shut Off Too Early - Can I Refire These Pots?

Posted by neilestrick on 24 October 2016 - 07:23 PM

As long as the glaze didn't crawl, you can refire them with likely success.

#114950 Perfect Fit For A Lid.

Posted by neilestrick on 20 October 2016 - 09:47 AM

I get what you're saying, but- lids should dry on the pot, so if the lid is so tight that you need to grind them together to get a perfect fit, then there's a chance of cracking the rim of the pot as they dry or the lid getting stuck.

#114931 Homemade Gas Updraft Kiln, Not Enough Temperature Any Help :)

Posted by neilestrick on 19 October 2016 - 09:40 PM

Are you saying you don't have an exit flue? All kilns need an exit flue. Heat has to move through the kiln, with enough air to feed the combustion. You shouldn't have any carbon buildup, especially at low temps. I can't really tell what's going on from your photos, but I would recommend getting a kiln building book to learn about how to build one properly. There are certain 'rules' to follow if you want it to work.

#114700 Quickest Way Of Making An Enclosed Form?

Posted by neilestrick on 14 October 2016 - 12:51 PM

If you want to hand build them, I'd find some bowls that are the right size and use them as  slump molds. Lay slabs into it and join them up once the've firmed up.

#114691 Blisters Worse After Re-Firing

Posted by neilestrick on 14 October 2016 - 09:33 AM

Have you used that glaze before? Does is have this issue often, even a little bit?


To me it looks like an unstable glaze- not enough alumina and/or silica.

#114649 Concerns About Wood/anagama Kiln Smoke Vs Neighbors...

Posted by neilestrick on 13 October 2016 - 09:39 AM

Some areas consider kilns to be just like open burning. Others think of them as barbecues. Others consider them an industrial process. It just depends on where you live. Even if they allow the kiln, don't buy anything until you check on what building codes will apply to it, such as location restrictions like boundary setbacks, chimney height, etc. There are lot of potential limitations that may make it difficult or impossible to build. I would have a kiln plan ready to show them, since they probably won't have a clue what you're talking about.

#114627 Concerns About Wood/anagama Kiln Smoke Vs Neighbors...

Posted by neilestrick on 12 October 2016 - 09:37 PM

Certain types of kiln smoke more than others. The long slow types like anagama tend to be smokier than faster firing, more efficient designs like a train kiln or a cross draft kiln. In grad school we were required to fire with as little smoke as possible, since the kilns were right in the middle of campus, and it wasn't a problem with the types of kilns I just mentioned, other than during body reduction. Every type of kiln will smoke to some degree, however, so you want to do some good PR work with your neighbors. Invite them to help stoke, let the make some little pots and put them in the firing, provide lots of beer, etc. If done right, it will likely smoke less and be less of an annoyance than burning leaves.


On that note, check with local fire codes and building codes before buying a house. Have a conversation with the fire marshall about exactly what you plan to do, and get things in writing.