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Member Since 04 Oct 2011
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 08:50 PM

#79545 Glaze Squirt On Kiln Shelves

Posted by neilestrick on 17 April 2015 - 09:43 AM

Small spots on the shelf are likely from spitting, and can be caused by the boron. Large spots on the shelf and bare spots on the pots are different. When the glaze pulls away leaving bare clay we call that 'crawling'. It can happen when glazes are overlapped if the second dip is applied when the first dip is still too wet, or too dry. It can also be caused by the surface tension of the glaze during the firing, glaze thickness,  firing parameters, etc. Floating blue can be prone to lots of different problems, including crawling.

#79417 Turned Foot Rings On Mugs; Elegance Or Affectation?

Posted by neilestrick on 15 April 2015 - 03:49 PM

I turn a foot ring into almost every pot. I think it shows a level of care in the maker. A couple of forms that I make don't allow for it because I simply cannot turn them over to trim, but most do. I do not necessarily define a raised foot on the outside of the pot, but I do trim a foot ring on the bottom.


Rayaldridge, I agree with Mark that the foot on your mug is a little small. It feels like it would be tippy. In reality it is probably not, but it's all about proportions and perceptions. I think the handle is just fine, though. On a small mug you only need to get one or two fingers in it. I think a larger handle would overwhelm the form, and there's just not room for a larger handle without it being a big loopy thing.

#79281 Oxygen Sensor/probe - Commercial Vs Homemade Auto Sensor

Posted by neilestrick on 14 April 2015 - 09:28 AM

Like Marc said, the oxy probe will do nothing to help with evening out reduction. That's a kiln issue, and your type of kiln has lots of evenness issues. It could, in theory, help with over all efficiency so you're not reducing more than you need to, but that would only work with a kiln that can handle adjustments without throwing everything else out of whack.


When I reduce, I stall out the kiln so it's not climbing in temperature at all, and let it reduce for 45 minutes. Then I put it into light reduction and start climbing again. With your kiln, I would go very slowly up to body reduction to try and keep the temperature even, then reduce the crap out of it, stalling it out. In a kiln that size it shouldn't be too difficult to get reduction throughout the kiln if you stall it out.

  • Diz likes this

#79070 Pottery Add

Posted by neilestrick on 11 April 2015 - 10:18 AM

Or, as I tell my students, shut up and throw.

#79012 Pottery Add

Posted by neilestrick on 10 April 2015 - 03:18 PM


I think one of the hardest things to do is to focus on just one thing. The older and wiser I get the easier this is becoming.

You have to know your limitations. I love all of the interesting glazes that you glaze gurus can come up with, but my heart is not in 600 fired test tiles.

I know mine either. The problem was changing from cone 10 reduction to cone 6 oxidation. We moved from Oregon to North Carolina and my gas kiln rattled to death on the trip. It is hard to get gas in NC and we have been living in a rental for five years.

 I am not dead yet and refuse to give up!!



(aka Maddmudder, aka Bethbw13

Had some serious puter problems)



I made the switch to cone 6 oxidation about 7 years ago, and wish I had done it much sooner. I do not miss reduction firing at all, and find cone 6 to have many more options for color. The other nice thing about working with electric kilns is that I can run glaze tests in my little baby test kiln rather than waiting for the big kiln to fill up. That just wasn't an option when I only had a big gas kiln. I can fire several tests a week now, and develop a glaze in a couple of weeks instead of months. The transition was definitely stressful, but it was also a lot of fun to jump into something new.


Firing gas is definitely more romantic than pushing the 'On' button, and there a few things that can be done that won't work in an electric, but for most people it's just not practical any more. Building codes have made it all but impossible to do anywhere other than a commercial setting or an unincorporated area. An even then, there's a lot of hoops to jump through. Although I was already strongly considering making the switch to electric kilns, I was ultimately forced to do it when I had to move my shop. I just couldn't find another commercial space that would allow me to install my gas kiln, or one in which it was affordable to run the gas line and venting system.


Sorry to hijack the thread!

#79011 Pottery Add

Posted by neilestrick on 10 April 2015 - 02:58 PM

Finally, I'll rail against the idea that making your own glazes is difficult or expensive.  One thing that always annoys the dickens out of me is to see a glaze that has 15 or 20 components, and all are detailed down to two decimal points.  It ain't necessary, folks.  If a glaze works with 6.23 percent talc. it'll work with 6 percent talc (and if it doesn't, it's a lousy glaze, not worth the effort.)  I'm currently working with slips that are just porcelain trimmings from the wheel, with colorants and other oxides added in small amounts, and they work great, as far as I can tell.  They fit my leatherhard pots perfectly, too.  It only takes a few pounds of various inexpensive things to make a perfectly useful glaze, and some folks make glazes out of stuff you can get at the hardware store or dig out of your backyard.  There are some truly magnificent glazes made out of nothing but wood ash and clay.



Bingo! When I teach my glaze formulation class, we make glazes that only have 4 or 5 ingredients. We make some really great, interesting, durable glazes with just koalin, flint, and 2 fluxes.There is a massive variety of glazes that can be made from 10 primary ingredients (plus colorants, of course). With a good gloss glaze and a good magnesium matte, you can create a huge palette of surfaces.

#78949 Pottery Add

Posted by neilestrick on 09 April 2015 - 07:40 PM

I'd love to be in the position to make my own glazes, but available space, at this time, prevents it. My [so called] studio is a small 10'x12' shed that I share with my husband and all of his tools. For some of us, we don't really have the choice to house  multiple 5 gallon buckets of glaze, nor the raw materials in bulk.That doesn't make us foolish. It just means that we've learned to work within the confines of our environment. ;)


I didn't mean to say that folks who use commercial glazes are foolish. My apologies if it sounded that way. For many people it's the best option. But for that guy to say he didn't have time to mix glazes was foolish.

#78935 Pottery Add

Posted by neilestrick on 09 April 2015 - 02:52 PM

That guy isn't very good at time and money management. Premixed glazes are formulated for brushing, which takes 20 (40,50,100?) times longer to apply than dipping. A dip takes 6 seconds. Whatever time he would take mixing his own glazes would be more than made up for in the speed of application. And the money savings alone would allow him to make and sell fewer pots for the same profit margin, or would increase his profits. Plus his pots would be more unique if he developed his own palette. Foolish.


This reminds me of a conversation I had the other day with my merchant services provider. We were talking about monthly fees for mobile credit card processing, like everyone uses at art fairs. I was telling her about a neighbor I had at at fair a couple of years ago who was selling handmade felt hats for women. Her typical hat was $40, and she didn't take credit cards. She said she didn't want to pay the monthly fee or processing fee, that it was unfair. I saw her lose at least 4 sales the first day because the customer wanted to pay with a credit card. So to save less that $20 in fees, she lost out on $160 in sales. Foolish.


You gotta do the math!

#78922 Olympic Kiln

Posted by neilestrick on 09 April 2015 - 10:25 AM

Would have bought an L&L based on my perceptions of better build and technology, but price difference was simply too high as I needed a glass kiln as well (Paragon Pearl 22). 



For future reference, glass can be fired in digital pottery kilns just fine. There is a myth among glass artists that you have to have elements in the kiln lid, or that you can't use shelves in the kiln. I have several customers who fire glass in their pottery kilns, including one who does large 22" wide slumped bowls and platters. She can fire 5 at a time in her L&L E28T-3.

#78775 Armature

Posted by neilestrick on 07 April 2015 - 09:14 AM

The other issue is that the clay will shrink as it dries and fires. The armature will not shrink, causing the clay to crack.

#78449 Small Pink Glaze Mystery

Posted by neilestrick on 02 April 2015 - 09:13 AM

It's the titanium. I've got a satin/matte titanium glaze that will do the same thing if it's on thick enough.

#77602 Firing In Mold

Posted by neilestrick on 18 March 2015 - 02:27 PM

Shrinkage could be an issue, as the mold will not shrink at the same rate as the clay unless it is made of the same clay. Thickness will also be an issue, since to withstand the pressure of dry pressing the mold would have to be very thick, and would probably not survive firing.

#77523 Gloss Going Matt

Posted by neilestrick on 17 March 2015 - 02:40 PM

Did you just dry mix the 10,000 grams and pull out 100 gram tests of the dry mix, or were you working with wet mix?

#77421 Kiln Vent Operation

Posted by neilestrick on 15 March 2015 - 04:28 PM

A vent will not even out a firing unless it's only very slightly uneven. The only way to ensure even firings is to modify the load as I described above (which still may not do the job), or to get a kiln with zone control. More thermocouples = even firings. Most brands offer zone control as an upgrade (Skutt, Paragon, etc.), L&L has it as a standard feature. It's well worth the money to have it.

#77074 The Max Wheel 1500?

Posted by neilestrick on 10 March 2015 - 03:32 PM

Alpine made a gear drive wheel. There are still some in use.