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Mark C.

Member Since 09 Jan 2012
Online Last Active Today, 03:39 PM

#80140 Community Challenge #1

Posted by Mark C. on Yesterday, 08:31 PM

I had no plans of taking the time for another project -that said my (landscape with clouds square plate) that came out of last glaze kiln fits the bill


sorry about the poor photo.


Attached Files

#80126 Some Restrictions On Posting To Stop Spam?

Posted by Mark C. on Yesterday, 03:19 PM

Here's an idea

#79965 Is There Any Way To Give Stoneware White Clay The Look And Feel Of Terracotta?

Posted by Mark C. on 23 April 2015 - 08:36 PM

The one I use the most in studio is an 5000 gram max electronic Ohaus that I bought on sale from Bailey but the one I use in the house which works just as well is the 8000 gram my weight  I got on amazon-there are many types but this one turns out is plenty accurate.You can get them for much less as well.For $34 its great for most applications.These new electronic scales hit me a few years back like a ton of bricks while reading about them here on this forum. I had been cave maning with my triple beam  for over 35 years and these scales have saved me so much time.  They also make a 7000 gram for less. 

http://www.amazon.co...=my weigh scale


this one also look fine


#79788 The Dirtiest Job In Ceramics

Posted by Mark C. on 21 April 2015 - 11:32 AM

After a 10-hour glaze day yesterday I reminded me of what makes me want a shower the most.


Throwing pots

Making clay

Making glaze

Cleaning the studio

Or glazing wares

For me its glaze day-that’s when I get the most love for a shower.


Ps wood firing is another level for sure



#79749 Travertine Tile

Posted by Mark C. on 20 April 2015 - 09:22 PM

Save some for when your break and need replacing-use the rest for another stone tile job. One will cone up.


My guess and its only a guess on what I have seen and experimented with is your stone will not be happy with cone 4.

You can test a chunk to be sure in your next fire.


#79671 How Often To Clean Your Kiln?

Posted by Mark C. on 19 April 2015 - 12:54 PM

The one thing this thread has shown me is most vacuum the kiln Way to often.

I suggest doing it only when it needs it-which is not very often.

Reasons for doing it include


blowing up work

replacing elements

spilling materials inside

stuff all over floor

stuff on elements


#79647 How Often To Clean Your Kiln?

Posted by Mark C. on 18 April 2015 - 12:15 PM

Here's another confession-since we are going there. I don't use kiln wash either. Not using glazes, so I don't need to wash the shelves. The shelves that have kiln wash on them I often place in the kiln with the kiln wash facing down as the bare  unwashed shelf is smoother.

Sometimes I put the peanut butter laden knife in the jam jar.

TJR. :blink:

I to have some shelves not washed for the electric-the ones that are washed I bought are used so some had wash on them-I to pay no attention to which way the wash is facing up or down.

Now as to peanut butter I to leave a knife where it should not go as well-but since I like peanut butter the knife is never full.

I often do not wear shoes while eating peanut butter-actually we are a shoe free home-shoes live in the mud room.


As to mud daubers they leave my pottery area alone but always build nest in my outboard motor's pee hole-I use a wire to clean them out.

Boy has this thread gone sideways.


Now that we are talking about cleaning I have an outside washing machine used just for clay cloths and pot shop towels.

Its cold water only -I use no soap and use the water from washer to water our raspberries.-The machine lives under a overhang next to my car kiln-the berry patch is only a few feet away-I bought it used for 50$ for clay use. No clay clothes go into our house washer (which is on our septic system).


#79516 How To Avoid Thin Porcelain From Breaking?

Posted by Mark C. on 16 April 2015 - 08:34 PM

I have a suggestion . Place your thin porcelain on a thicker slab of the same porcelain -it will shrink at the same rate-bisque it together as well as glaze fire that way it all shrinks the same and is good support. I did this with a 3 foot wall art fish and it worked great.


#79452 Turned Foot Rings On Mugs; Elegance Or Affectation?

Posted by Mark C. on 16 April 2015 - 01:38 AM

My point on the mug was it really does not matter what others think- its how it works. I cannot pick it up -so the handle may work well or not-without holding  it one is at a loss and I should have said to thin looking in the middle but I make 1 and two finger mugs as well .As far as tippy I'm also at a loss as I cannot tell without being there.

I'm in the busisness of selling thousands of mugs  a year so I want them stable and to please a large market base so I make all sizes and that includes handles sizes as well. I no longer make them just for my asthetic. I make them to be trouble free and work so well they want more and come back to buy more. I tend to make tham as stable as possible.You should buy a mug the feel in your hand not other asthetics I feel.

I unloaded two kilns today that had at least 150 plus mugs total in them-I never count them so I'm at a loss on the number it may be 250 or  200?I have only priced about 1/3 of them and will finish in am.

I love a trimmed foot but that does not fit into my production runs anymore.

I used to trim a foot on everything but I got very serious about making a good living long ago and that means some forms are not footed. Most still are just not mugs. My baby bowls are still footed which are miniature.

As you said it depends on esthetic judgement and yours is right for you. One thing is if you ask for my thoughts I will always be truefull but its only an opinion not necessarily the right one .


#79336 Are You Making Your Own Pottery Tools?

Posted by Mark C. on 14 April 2015 - 11:27 PM

I make my own brushes.


#79334 Developing A Hair Line Crack In Third Firing

Posted by Mark C. on 14 April 2015 - 10:31 PM

Use the More reply options-but 1st read the FAQ at top of main page-read about poting photos-its easy.



PS my guess is the decal fire is to fast going up or to fast going down.Platters need to go slow-put a shelve over them to trap the heat.

#79271 Oxygen Sensor/probe - Commercial Vs Homemade Auto Sensor

Posted by Mark C. on 14 April 2015 - 01:26 AM

Well - I am definitely self taught!  Some places say reduce around 1650 for body and then again around 9 for glaze reduction.  When I started I was told to do BR from 1650-1850 and then open it up a bit but try to keep it in mild R all the way to the end going heavier around cone 9 to 10 down.  A couple of times the kiln has done every step without me touching a damper or port - wish that kiln god would visit more often!  I rarely can get flames out my bottom peep, even with top port about 90% closed and my 4 primaries closed to only 1/4" open on each.  Once I close the primaries during a firing they stay at that setting til the end and I just adjust my top port only(also have a baffle shelf 1.5" below the lid to hold back the flames a bit).  Last summer I learned a lot with help from Mike at Continental Clay (a GREAT place for supplies ad help) but now I am focusing on improving my reduction.  Also my firings generally last 10-12 hours, if that says anything about my firings.


I'll stick with my auto sensor, and this summer work for reduction by looking at the spy holes and watching my numbers on my sensor.


One question - something I have never been able to manage - how do I stall the kiln during reduction? Mine just marches right through - and that may be the root of my problem.  I have heard that it should take 1 hour (stall) for R but mine can be as short as 1/2 hour as the temps march on.


Thanks for the help - much appreciated.  This sight is a goldmine for info - so freely shared.



First I would need some info on your flat to suggest when to start a reduction

Lets assume it stoneware as thats usually what folks use.

1650-1800 is fine for body

for me in an all porcelain wares kiln I start at 1750 if I have reds

if not its around 1950-2000 and I keep the same reduction the rest of the way on my oxygen meter

I never adjust my my primaries only use the damper whether its my downdraft or updraft kiln-only adjust the damper. Now thats said I will do micro adjustment with a burner or two to keep it in zone as the damper moved a 1/32 can be to much one way or the other.

If I was firing your torchbearer I would damp it down more than you describe and do it sooner like 2000 degrees. My fires are all around 12-13 hours .I think you are under reducing if you never had a stall . You should be able to stall with a digital meter by closing the damper way down. I try not to ever stall kiln as 12 hours is a good melt  time for glazes . My fires slow down as the temp gets hotter like cone 9-11. This is the critical melt time as well.With a digital meter you can control the rate to be slow by damper use. Remember good reduction also will slow fire . It does not mater how much you close damper (you said 90%)It may take 98% or 70% what matters is the flame color and how to judge reduction by color and lick in lower ports.Once you get this down it should be very similar in most fires. If you cannot read this color fire at night so you can see it until you know it.


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#79032 21 Century Customer... Perpetual Replacement Of Pottery

Posted by Mark C. on 10 April 2015 - 09:44 PM

John said (decline in society.)

Wow I'm shocked its not me only that sees the downward spiral. 

Customer service is a fine line and you need to analyze the problem 1st before 100% replacement is given. Pottery is not rubber boots and bedding (LL bean)

Its to bad there is not a pill for stupid yet but I hear its being worked on for the public.I think If I  recall they will add  it to water systems for major cities 1st and phase it in to small municipalities later.


PS I'm on a well so it may take awhile for me to smarten up-right now I'm working as an unpaid conslutant

#79024 Pottery Add

Posted by Mark C. on 10 April 2015 - 07:08 PM

I think you should make a sign like my friend did and make it large letters and post it in Garage.


Embrace the Chaos



#78999 Pottery Add

Posted by Mark C. on 10 April 2015 - 10:23 AM

I'm with Tom-its my mess-I clean it twice a year to some degree-For me to work I need space that is open and free of stuff-tables for wares-I need this every week.

I'm focused and do not let non studio/ceramic items in the studio-the only exception is a 15 inch vice.

I work about 15 buckets of glaze and have another 6-10 under some tables. My space is 12x22 give or take

My glaze are is always set up-my green room (for throwing is just an area for green ware)I keep a ton of warm clay in shop under wedging tables-my sink area is always a busy area.-Items have thier place and always go back.


My suggestion is get focused draw the line and organize with shelves and keep your tables clear

Glazes you are never going to use dry out and get rid of.

Its hard for me to think like asa  hobbist and make whatever pops into my head-maybe this is part of it-make list of forms and make those in order.It sounds like focus is whats needed. Clean the gargae and restart fresh.

Concentrate on getting clear floor space.

I have to glaze two kiln loads today and load it for Saturdays fire-Thats all I am doing -no phone calls no side trips-focus.