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Everything posted by perkolator

  1. technically speaking clay can be VERY thick, you just have to fire it very slowly - think of a brick, those are 2.5" thick and they don't explode in the kiln. also, it's not just the preheat that needs attention to drive off physical water, you also need to fire very slow since the chemical water in your clay needs to escape the core of the work. lastly, there is down-firing involved with thick ceramics or your pieces will crack when cooling. i've got a decent amount of experience firing thick work - usually firings take 3-5days when you get into the 2" thick range for life-size sculpture.
  2. first thing i would do is figure out how to get those drains snaked because i'd bet that's half your problem. i'd even guess your custodial staff has one in their supplies as i've always know them to have at least one to test out before calling up a plumber and pay money. if not, you could rent one or better yet buy a cheap $10 25ft hand-crank snake from Harbor Freight (maybe even use a 20% off coupon since you can usually find a dozen in one Sunday paper) to keep in your classroom since this may be needed in the future. if your sink doesn't have one yet, look into either buying or fabri
  3. mortar and pestle? i would also try calcining it like suggested.
  4. we just use studio body/whatever clay you're using for a firing tray/drip catch plate. make sure to build it well and fire it to the cone you're glazing at - this way you know it is crack-free. to help make it more of a re-usable tray, coat with kiln wash and place a nice layer of silica where your drips will fall - silica will hopefully just catch the glaze and either "bead" it up or soak up the mess allowing you to remove it for a clean tray.
  5. pretty much any white slip recipe can be made into a colored slip. for most natural oxides you will use the same percentages you would in glaze recipe (so like 2% for cobalt carb = blue) if using a mason stain, you'll want to be up near 10%. my go-to basic white slip recipe is equal parts (25/25/25/25) of EPK, OM#4, Silica, and Custer Feld. you can easily tweak this recipe with flocculants/deflocculants or suspension agents to get the consistency you desire. this slip can be used at pretty much any temp range. for a raised slip/heavy surface texture, i prefer "Arnie's Fish Sauce" and
  6. wow, that's crazy! we've accidentally and purposefully fired coins in the kiln before, but never had any results like this. gonna have to do some experimenting!
  7. one of our faculty has a large AIM oval kiln that is over 15yrs old. she fires it all the time and never had any problems with it until a couple years ago when she burned through a couple sections of elements with glaze drips. to my knowledge, it's only had the elements replaced the one time (all of them), 2 relays, and one kiln sitter tube assembly - I would say that's a pretty good kiln. one thing I really like about the AIM is that it has clamping connectors for the elements instead of crimped like on a Skutt - I'm guessing it's slightly less efficient in terms of resistance, but sure is a
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