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Mark C.

Member Since 09 Jan 2012
Offline Last Active Today, 05:52 PM

Topics I've Started

My Favorite Wax Is Going Away-At Least From Laguna Clay Co.

25 August 2016 - 12:30 PM

I got news this week that Laguna Clay was just going to sell their Axner wax (more$) and quit ordering my favorite wax that I have used for 40+ years.

My 5 gallon bucket just showed up via fedex this am.

They will carry it until stocks are sold out. I suggest if you ever want a trouble free water based wax get some of this while it easy and cheap.

Its Mobilcer (crystalcer) wax resist.

It comes in all sizes from axone on the east coast or Laguna on the west coast.

I'm sitting on 10-12 gallons now-which may last me thru the end of life.

I apply it with a cut damp sponge.Some brush it.Started using this in the 70's and its been the best and I have tested them all.

If you want to see it more clearly add food color.I never do but it works

Just do not let this stuff freeze.

Wheel Head Bearings Are Finally Worn Out On My Cxc

24 August 2016 - 09:01 PM

Well it took since 1982 to wear them out but my main go to wheel has a loose bearing-that is the shaft staring sounding like a loose bearing was loose. Now I can move the shaft as it has slop in it. I'll order a new 14 inch head and bearing and shaft combo in AM. This took 34 years of heavy use. This is my 3rd wheel head and bearings as I wore my model C out a few decades ago as well

I love these Brent wheels.

My guess is this is a $225 repair.

Ceramic Homemade Buttons-Everything You May Or May Not Want To Know

18 August 2016 - 08:58 PM

I have made 100’s of these over my ceramic life.

I have improved them ever time I can.

For me since I fire to cone 11 so my buttons need to be able to withstand extreme temps.

If you are doing raku or low fire or lower temps than 2400 in a reduction atmosphere you can use other clays and lesser (thinner) wires


For me stoneware clays will bloat sooner than white porcelain bodies in reduction. Not that bloating is a killjoy but it will shorten the life, as they will fall apart sooner.B mix bloats sooner than say porcelain.

I choose porcelains that are not going to glassify soon that is they are to tight i have found-I avoid say translucent ones such as southern ice or frost.

I have learned to use ceramic fiber as gasket material to keep them tighter so the heat does not get behind button and cause the wire to fail which it will if its exposed to the heat and reduction sooner.

I have taken some photos of buttons in service that are in my car kiln and have many many hundreds of cone 11 fires on them-they show signs of bloating but have yet to fail

I have used them in brick kilns, fiber kilns, expansion wire wall kilns.

I used a clay box I was testing paint spraying on for a photo backdrop today for the button photo


A is a commercial button-I have used them -they failed to soon for me- Mullite

B One of my new ready to go wired buttons-porcelain

B one old used homemade button-porcelain

C homemade button for my salt kiln with stem-these work well in soda and salt(yes fiber can work in some areas in these environments )_I have used many long stemmed buttons in salt kiln

D old style homemade porcelain –a few hundred fires on it

E fiber gasket-You can delaminate your fiber into these  ¾ inch layers and trim with scissors to a round button shape-these are a key step to long lasting wires

F-bloated button with failed wire


Wire photo is thick #15 –thru #18 gauge wire I keep on hand

Use thinner wire for lesser temps. I use the thicker wire Nicrome or kanathnal

I have learned that thicker wire works better-its harder to work with but as you can see in my termination photo its just a matter of putting a washer on and rolling a pigtail.

One last note-my main use is in a 10-11 inch wall starting on the hot face there is a 1 or 2 inch layer of 2600 fiber then a 4.5 layer of K26 soft brick then a layer of 4. 5 inch hard brick.Most will use buttons in a trash can kiln or a expanded metal kiln-whatever you choose use the gaskets and pigtails and washers no matter what wall thickness.

The hard brick has a 1/8 deep groove cut into it with a brick saw so wire lays in the slot-Wire is put thru a washer then wire is pulled tight to compress gasket and pigtail is made with needle nosed pliers. You can see a unused slot to the right of metal washer. 

These buttons can last for decades if you spend the time making them well-a slab roller and cookie cutter die is fastest(I have a tin can with bottom cut off as well as top). I high fire them and keep them in stock –some pre wired for easy replacement along with a box of button gaskets

That Time Of Year Again

17 August 2016 - 03:58 PM

Back from big summer art show.

Inventory is low again and its sunny -time to make some pots and get them dry NOW in sun

This was yesterdays pots

today looks about the same.

Throw dry trim every day while the drying is great.

Fall shows just around the corner.


I Like To Pack The Glaze Fire Tight

01 August 2016 - 01:20 AM

This was Fridays glaze load-the 15th  glaze fire of this year in this kiln-looks like my small kiln also has 15 fires in it. Maybe next year I'll slow down after I cut two shows.

Anyway I try and use all the space with stuffers. This kiln load had lots of stuffers.It takes longer to load-(up to two hours and longer to heat and cool ) but it's worth it.

Some of this load is heading to Anacortes this weekend near Canada-the rest is in shops close by for summer tourists . This season the sales in shops are up as the tourists seem to out doing more traveling.

My plan as always is get some puget sound underwater photography in after the show. This is close to my 25th year doing this show and diving afterwards.Some things are a good fit.Headed for Keystone under water reserve next week on Widbey Island

If you think getting ready for an art show is work try adding a dive trip with that gear on top of it. As well as underwater Photo gear .It not often I pack 4 scuba tank and gear for two to dry suit dive in a show van with pots. Fins pack in the wide spaces well as do weight belts. The Van will weigh in at over 11,000 pound loaded on the trip up.Less coming home. I always weigh it each way.That way I can answer how many pounds I sold for what money. Its a figure many do think about. Kinda like selling brass or bronze metal. whats the per pound price?

So next glaze fire see if you can stuff more in to it? If you can fit a piece of paper between the pots you have plenty of room. The more on a shelf the more efficient it is.Thes shelves are 12x24 advancers