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Member Since 04 Oct 2011
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 04:43 PM

#62038 Wireless/network/remote Smoke Detector?

Posted by neilestrick on 08 July 2014 - 04:04 PM


#61819 Aesthetically Pleasing Garments For Clay Workers.

Posted by neilestrick on 05 July 2014 - 01:54 PM

When I'm done with my jeans, they are not in good enough condition to make an apron. Plus I've never found an apron that keeps me clean enough to warrant wearing it all day. Got plans for converting old jeans into a hazmat suit?

#61425 Building A Top Loader Kiln Lid.

Posted by neilestrick on 26 June 2014 - 05:39 PM

The steel rod is totally unnecessary in a slab of that size, and will likely cause problems in a lid that's only 3" thick. The rod will be too close to the edge of the brick and will likely warp due to the heat. The hole in the middle of the old kiln had nothing to do with the failure of the lid. A crack may have found its way to the hole, but the hole itself is not a weak point. Mortared lids fail over time. It's just the nature of the beast. The flex and move a lot during a firing, and take a beating being raised and lowered every day. The best thing you can do to increase the life of the lid is to get a good quality hinge that mounts front and back on the slab, and all the way down the back side of the kiln. L&L and Skutt come to mind.


The key to good mortaring is to keep the mortar joint very thin, and get the bricks joined up quickly before the mortar dries. It's not as easy as you might think. Personally, I would spend the money on a factory lid, or find a cheap used kiln in the area and use that lid. If the floor slab is in decent shape then you'll have a backup. I would not spend the time and effort in making my own lid, knowing it will most likely not be as strong as a factory slab.

#61361 Real Time Preheating Question

Posted by neilestrick on 25 June 2014 - 11:32 AM

The cost of preheating is so low you might as well do 12 hours just to be safe. If I put freshly trimmed pots into the kiln I usually do an 8 hour preheat to get them dry.

#61170 Sanding Porcelain

Posted by neilestrick on 19 June 2014 - 01:11 PM

220 grit wet-dry.

#61077 Canvas Texture On Handbuilt Work

Posted by neilestrick on 18 June 2014 - 09:20 AM

So a couple of you have mentioned something about her customers being happy. Not to hijack the thread, but does a happy customer justify the work? Or is it just the unskilled selling to the uneducated?


As a potter and teacher, I spend a great deal of my time educating my students and my customers.

#61040 Most Difficult Aspect Of Making A Pottery Business Work?

Posted by neilestrick on 17 June 2014 - 07:02 PM

Like my friend Fred always says: Making pots is easy. Selling them is the hard part.

#61032 Canvas Texture On Handbuilt Work

Posted by neilestrick on 17 June 2014 - 04:25 PM

I cannot stand the canvas texture being left on slab pieces. Unless it is integral to the design, it should be removed. I have no problem with texture on slabs, but canvas doesn't really leave enough texture to really stand out, so there are much better choices.


As for the work of the woman mentioned above, I see little to no technical skill in what she is making. Rough cut edges that could literally cut someone, texture that fights with her glazes, no sense of form or function- I can appreciate the minimalist quality that she is going for, but without some proper clay handling it's just junk. My kids classes do a better job of finishing their work. This is literally some of the poorest work I've ever seen being sold. And at those prices people are really getting screwed. It's another case of marketing winning out over quality.

#60778 Clean Up After Reduction Firing

Posted by neilestrick on 13 June 2014 - 09:30 PM

A hold at the end of the firing can serve one of two functions, or both. First, a hold time can help to smooth out any glazes that may have problems such as pinholing. This can be true of any type of firing, whether reduction or oxidation, gas or electric, etc. The second type of hold that many people do at the end of a reduction firing is a period of heavy oxidation. This can affect the color of some glazes. I used to do this for my copper red glazes, since without it the white rims were often more grey than white. I stalled out the kiln for 15-20 minutes with lots of air moving through, then shut it down. Neither type of hold/cleanup is necessary unless your glazes warrant it.

#60740 Glaze Making/ Testing Again!

Posted by neilestrick on 13 June 2014 - 10:54 AM

Start with fusion buttons: Melt a little glob of each material on a tile. This will give you a good idea of how each material behaves in the glaze melt.


Then do line blends: 90/10, 80/20, 70/30......10/90. You could just do two materials, but you won't really get anything you can use. Instead, add some EPK and flint in there so you might actually get a useable glaze. I'd go with:

10% EPK

20% flint

70% flux material

Mix up 2 batches of this formula with different fluxes, like maybe a frit for one and a feldspar for the other, and do the line blend.


Then do a triaxial, where you use the same 10/20/70 formula for each corner.


Then do a quad blend, where you take a glaze from the line blend or the triaxial, and increase the alumina and silica across the grid. You'll need glaze formulation software or a good grasp of how to work unity formulas by hand in order to do this. Personally, I'm a fan of Hyperglaze.


Once you get something that works, run color tests. 

#60599 Kiln Vent Questions

Posted by neilestrick on 11 June 2014 - 11:17 AM

If you're using a downdraft kiln vent (Vent-Sure, Envirovent, Orton), the vent is only pulling a small amount of air from the kiln- just enough to keep negative pressure in the kiln. That air is then  mixed with a large volume of air from the room, which cools it down to about 150 degrees, no hotter than what comes out of your clothes dryer.

#60490 Kiln Disclosure

Posted by neilestrick on 10 June 2014 - 03:26 PM

My Olympic 1827 came with a plug. I paid to have an appropriate breaker installed and it is only used for the kiln I also have the wire run on the outside of the wall in metal conduit brom the breaker box to a special shut off box and switch then down to the the plug still running in conduit. The kiln is plugged in to this special plug. My question is how long before oxidation builds up, is there a way to look at it and see the oxidation and know I need to replace, I have not removed the plug from the outlet since first plugging it in since was told that can damage the plug.

Also reading here it's got me thinking I need to go pull my insurance policy and see if they listed it on there. I called and spoke with my agent a few times before and after getting the kiln to make sure I did what I needed to on my end to get coverage. Was told what I needed to do, which I did and then told verbally once everything was installed I was good to go and had coverage. I just assumed that they would put it in the policy but am now wondering.

PS. Fires scare me and I am extremely careful throughout my whole house having special hard wired detectors in each room that is one sptriggers they all go off on all 3 floors. I also have several fire extinguishers on each floor and bought one to sit near the kiln as well. I won't even burn candles or use a space heater. This topic has me wondering what else I can do to safety proof the kiln. It sits on a stand on a concrete floor in my garage. It's 2 feet away from the wall... Do I need to think about installing a sheet of fire proof board on the wall? What else am I not considering? OH and I installed a video camera with a motion sensor facing the kiln so I can monitor it throughout the firing cycle.


It sounds like your kiln is set up right. But do unplug the kiln once or twice a year and inspect the plug for corrosion. Also inspect all the connections inside the kiln control panel, and your breaker panel on the wall. This is especially true if you live in a humid area. Humidity will greatly increase the speed at which connections corrode.


Electric kilns, when wired properly and set up with safe clearances, do not start fires. It is virtually impossible for a kiln to melt down and have all that heat pour out across the floor. The electrical system should fry out long before the bricks melted out. What you can get are electrical fires, like John mentioned, where the wiring is inadequate for the kiln, or there's corrosion in the wiring. You can also get fires if the kiln is too close to something combustible. I recommend a minimum of 16" clearance to my customers. With regular maintenance and checkups you shouldn't have any problems. But if you see corrosion on any of the wiring in your breaker boxes, or at the plug, then you should strongly think about replacing that wiring. I see plugs that corrode and fry out occasionally, but I also see hard wired systems corrode and fry out. I've seen many melted breakers. More often I see wires fry at the power cord terminal connection inside the kiln, rather than at the plug or the breaker, because that area has to deal with a lot more heat than the plug or breaker do. Again, regular inspections are necessary, and will save you money in the long run, because when thing fry they usually damage other things, too, which means more labor and more parts to get it up and running again.

#60117 I Want To Make My Own Bathroom Floor Tile.

Posted by neilestrick on 06 June 2014 - 08:10 AM

You do not want to make your own tiles.


But if you really, really do, cone 6 clay will work just fine. 10x10 is a big tile, and you're really going to struggle with keeping them flat. Like Babs said, keep them sandwiched with weight. Take your time, don't rush them. You will probably not be able to fire them on a tile setter. Flat on a shelf will work best, which means you need a lot of shelves.

#60093 Noob Seeks Advice Building Kiln On The Cheap

Posted by neilestrick on 05 June 2014 - 09:23 PM

When you cook a pork roast, you can cook it at 350 degrees for an hour or 275 degrees for 4 hours. Either way you get a roast that's cooked to 170 degrees inside. The heat work is the same even though the temperatures were different. In a kiln, the temperature at which you achieve the heat work will primarily depend on how fast the kiln is heating up. Faster climb equals higher temperature to achieve the heat work.

#60062 Glaze And Oxide Question

Posted by neilestrick on 05 June 2014 - 04:14 PM

It will al depend on how thick it goes on. Too thick and you'll get a nasty matte wrinkly metallic surface. Too thin and it won't show up well. So keep notes on your water to RIO ratio and try several different applications.