Jump to content


Member Since 05 Nov 2011
Offline Last Active Apr 27 2017 05:23 PM

#123415 Qotw: How, When Or Why Did You Start With Working In Clay?

Posted by ayjay on 08 March 2017 - 10:54 AM

I'm sure I've said before; my wife started pottery classes at our local Adult education Centre, after three years she was still bringing home a multitude of strange misshapen lumps (these were thrown, not hand built)  and I found myself wondering -  "how hard can it be?" 


So I started going as well, it's not hard at all, my wife is just crap at it.


As an aside, pottery is how I came by the name Ayjay.


Everyone in my father's family is known by their second given name - I don't know why, (but I could speculate).   So, I've been known as John for all my life, although first name is Alexander. 


I arrived at the pottery class the very first time and my wife said, "This is John".   The tutor said, "Well who is this Alexander on my list" 


After a few seconds of trying to explain she said, " I can't handle all that, you'll have to be AyJay,  and so far as pottery classes are concerned I've been Ayjay ever since, I doubt that anyone there actually knows my proper name.


Ten or so years on I'm still potting, (my wife can no longer even attempt it  because of her MS).



#121019 Finding Bats To Fit Shimpo Rk-2 Wheel Head

Posted by ayjay on 21 January 2017 - 04:11 PM

I make all my own bats, I also had to drill my wheelhead to fit bat pins: I first made a template with a 3mm hole at the centre to allow me to centre it on the wheelhead in which I'd also made a 3mm hole at the centre, a 3mm diameter masonry nail serves as a locating pin.


I made the holes for the bat pins asymmetrical: one of them is about 90mm from the centre and the other is about 120mm -  my bats can never be put on the wrong way cos it would be very noticeable.


I've obviously kept the template so that any future bats can be drilled out to the same dimensions, a 3mm hole at the centre and a couple of clamps and it's ready to go.

#120669 Cone 6 Firing Schedule- Nerds

Posted by ayjay on 16 January 2017 - 03:44 AM

I've taken the liberty of Anglicising your firing schedule Nerd.


Use your current firing schedule up to 1120°C - no need to change any of that.


50°C an hour from 1120°C to 1200°C with long peak hold: or,


50°C an hour from 1120°C to 1220°C with very short hold.


Natural cool. -- unless colour development is desired.

#120485 Drying Cabinet Idea

Posted by ayjay on 12 January 2017 - 05:56 PM

Sometimes i think it would be really neat to have things dry more quickly, but I reckon on the whole I'm happy with my slow drying garagio, no heat and no draughts.


I can throw pots and leave them uncovered for 10 days or more before they're dry enough to trim. It gives me the best chance to catch them at the right time for trimming/attaching handles etc.


I've not tried, but I reckon sometimes I could put them back on the wheel after a week and pull another lift.


If I need to speed them up they go outside if it's breezy and in the airing cupboard if it's not.

#120483 Quickie Question – What Weight Of Clay To Make A Large Bread Crock?

Posted by ayjay on 12 January 2017 - 05:47 PM

A guy where I learnt to throw quite often used to make large stuff like bread crocks and hand washing bowls - he was a very experienced thrower and to me at the time, the amount of clay he was throwing looked almost monumental.


..........BUT, he had a lot of problems with S cracks in his bottoms, so make sure you compress your bottom well and maybe also take the precaution of firing it on something that will allow some movement.

  • oly likes this

#120328 How many hours does an ^06 slow bisque and an ^6 slow glaze take on an electr...

Posted by ayjay on 10 January 2017 - 02:54 AM

all of you are talking about the time when you turn off the kiln right like Mark C pointed out?


actually cooling enough to take the pots out might take another few hours depending on kiln and other factors right? 


Yes: I just allow 24 hours from start to showtime for both bisque and glaze,   It's the K.I.S.S. principle at work.

#119193 Pre Heat Greenware To Dry Out Days Before Firing

Posted by ayjay on 26 December 2016 - 11:45 AM

Just how off the chart wrong am I??
In all my years in pottery (30) I've candled a load under ten times. I load when things are dry and fire. No problems.
It's the way I was taught ... is there anyone else who does this?


you can easily test it for dryness by holding it to your cheek .


When I hold a piece to my cheek to test for dryness I encounter my beard, I'm guessing that you don't have that problem. :blink:


It's just belt and braces for me Chris, I already know it's dry: it costs me 1 kw of electrickery for my usual candling routine, it's nothing - 12 pence, and the kiln is then preheated so my bisgue fire costs proportionately less.


In my 50 years as a Carpenter, nothing has ever collapsed, fallen off the wall, come apart or failed in any other way because of poor fixings etc - my  belt and braces mentality is the reason for that and it works for pots too.

#119064 Last Glaze Fire Of The Year -Shortest Day

Posted by ayjay on 24 December 2016 - 07:47 AM

My last glaze fire of the year will be tomorrow - yes Xmas day - I screwed up a Xmas pressie for nipper and so I remade it - bisque firing later today - glaze and fire tomorrow.  Travelling down to furthest depths of SW Wales to see him on Tuesday.


Merry Christmas everyone - and don't eat too many humbugs - I already have. :rolleyes:

#118029 Trying To Figure Out How To Measure Hand-Built Top Before Curving

Posted by ayjay on 07 December 2016 - 11:32 AM

Thanks, ayjay! So I could do it with cardboard, right? And just give it the approximate bend I will have? 


I'm not sure that that's how I'm seeing it.


I'd make the lid too large and then trim it down.


Roll out clay, put over bowl.


Make a flat cardboard template, cut a hole at the centre which is the finished size of the lid, put over bowl (and clay) and trim lid to size.

#118028 Qotw: Are There Redundant Things In Your Studio?

Posted by ayjay on 07 December 2016 - 11:24 AM

I'm sure there must be some redundant stuff in there somewhere - if only I could find it! :o :D

#118025 Clay Weight To Fired Object Ration?

Posted by ayjay on 07 December 2016 - 11:15 AM

If you want consistency, then most vessels are made from a certain weight of clay proportionate to their holding capacity when finished.


A 2 pint casserole takes about 2.25lb of clay and will measure 4" high X 6.5" wide

A 4 pint casserole takes about 4lb of clay and will measure 4.5" high X 8.5" wide.


I got these figures from another website and tested them recently and found them to be pretty accurate. The lids used about 1lb & 2lb respectively.

  • oly likes this

#118022 Trying To Figure Out How To Measure Hand-Built Top Before Curving

Posted by ayjay on 07 December 2016 - 11:04 AM

Off the top of my head, (for a first attempt) - I'd make a flat template of the correct size, make the lid oversize and cut the lid to the template size when it's dried a little. Use the template under the lid.


.......or (probably better) make a template with a hole at the centre of the correct dimension for the finished lid, make the lid oversize and slip the template over the top to trim when dry enough.



3rd idea. make a hump mould the right size for the lid.

#117541 Adding Low-Fire Liner To Glazed Stoneware Vessel?

Posted by ayjay on 30 November 2016 - 08:40 AM

I made a pot a while back in ^6 stoneware (ES5), it had a landscape picture on the outside that I'd made with both painted and sprayed underglaze. 


I was in a hurry to get it finished before an event but didn't have anything that needed glaze firing.


It went into the next bisque fire with a clear earthen-ware glaze (good at 1050°C)  on the inside and the outside left unglazed.


It's on my table now cos the wife likes the picture,  it still pings every now and again, but the first three weeks were like sitting next to an orchestra as the glaze crazed.


The glaze has to fit the clay - another lesson in not rushing, how many do I need?



#116925 Is Cone 6 Practical For Domestic Ware In The Uk?

Posted by ayjay on 22 November 2016 - 05:46 PM


  I'd be very interested to read your firing schedule Ayjay, and many thanks again.


PS: I've just had a look at Colin Jone's website where in his techniques he says he glaze-fires to about 1240c.  I've just taken some re-fired pots out of my electric kiln, fired to 1220c with a 30min soak – cone 8!!!



Here's how I fire mine Oly, all temperatures in °C, I don't think there's anything special or unusual in my firing, but it seems to work OK.


My pot are always completely dry before I fire them, I'll usually have a kiln half filled while I wait for more pots to fill it and I'll often candle it for a couple of hours every few days just to be on the safe side, the pots that go in later will probably have been in the wife's airing cupboard for a couple of days and I usually candle the whole lot again before I actually fire them.


I nearly always fire to 1210,  I've sometimes gone down to 1200 and sometimes up to 1220, (or anywhere in between, with different hold times) but always in between those two figures.


Bisque fire.

@ 100 - 600

@ 200 - 1050

hold 15 mins.


Glaze fire.

@100 - 600

@175 - 1100

@50 - 1210

hold 15 mins


A good clear liner glaze for ^6. (add Tin Oxide  - 4  for a White liner glaze) this glaze dries nicely on the pot can be handled without leaving marks and any runs or drips will rub off quite easily with a finger/soft rib etc.


Std. Borax frit - 20

Wollastonite  - 15

Potash Feldspar - 20

China Clay - 20

Talc - 6

Flint - 19


Colin does like to get his glazes moving, some of mine move plenty as it is, I wouldn't want to fire them any hotter.


Attached File  DSCF2417 modified.jpg   391KB   2 downloads


Here's a typical 6 cone from one of my firings.


Attached File  DSCF1822.JPG   88.09KB   2 downloads

#115728 Once Fire Glaze For Glazing Greenware - From The Uk?

Posted by ayjay on 05 November 2016 - 04:22 PM

Never seen glazes specifically for once-firing. 


There are some (recipes). For leather-hard clay you need a high clay content in the glaze to counter the shrinkage of the pot being glazed - without it the glaze is likely to fall off as the pot dries. 


For dry clay you need to reduce the water content of the glaze - this is where CMC will help, it doesn't reduce the water so much as prevents it from reaching the pot.


If you just dip an unbisqued pot in ordinary glaze it's likely to create cracks at any joins/seams, or possibly just fall apart.