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Everything posted by perkolator

  1. Completely understand - I've never really had any issues either so it's why we've always used their product. Talked with Mason's techs about a problem we did have once and like said they were very helpful and respectful for our "little problem". Great to know! Figured this day and age there wouldn't likely be many manufacturers globally for this type of product, it all likely comes from the same place. Going to give them a shot and order a bunch of different stains.
  2. Between these two companies that make stains -- are they comparable/interchangeable? I have always ordered Mason Color stains because that's what my local suppliers stock. I knew US Pigment existed but I never ordered from them or really looked into their product until now. Need to order stains and after looking at price comparison I'm seeing the US Pigment stains are significantly less expensive, some of them at 1/2 price and now I'm wondering why? Two examples: Mason Color Canary Yellow #6410 = ~$29/lb.......US Pigments Canary Yellow #6410 = $15/lb Mason Color Dark Red #6021 = ~$53/lb...............US Pigments Dark Red #6021 = $29/lb The code/# for the stains and names are exactly the same, so I'm wondering how interchangeable they are between companies? Any reason to stick with Mason Color?
  3. ^This. Even when there is "no bagwall" (example: Bailey downdraft) there is usually some sort of "target brick" in place to help direct flame
  4. I recently purchased the "better" Harbor Freight heat gun and I like it. I needed a new heat gun for studio and I decided on this model solely because it comes with a screw-on base that allows you to use it hands-free.
  5. Bad relays stuck in closed position. You got lucky you were there to observe and stop before any other issues could happen. A friend told me a horror story of a kiln that never shut off -- he fired a load in his outdoor carport kiln area and then had to leave home for a long time and trusted his equipment to do its thing like it "should". Came home at night when the kiln should have been off hours before, but saw glowing coming from underneath.....kiln sitter got stuck and the timer also failed somehow allowing the kiln to keep firing - melted all his glaze off the pots enough to eat through the floor of the kiln, hence seeing glowing from underneath!
  6. $100 for what "guts" parts on the Brent wheel pedal? there are several parts inside the foot pedal, the entire assembly is around $150. I've personally only seen one item actually fail inside a Brent foot pedal, the plastic lever arm, and for that part it was only like $6. Even if it was the speed controller, the most expensive part on the assembly, it's only around $65.
  7. Like said, check the fuse - it should be located on the back side of the power switch box where the power lead and foot pedal lead enter/exit. Standard glass fuse, if you see a break in the wire inside it's no good. My guess is that you have an issue inside the foot pedal - if you said you plugged it in and it spun erradically, then you shut it off and it won't work anymore....usually when I see that it means the speed controller inside is still engaged slightly enough to make the wheel spin, but if you couldn't change the speed then the fork inside the pedal is not engaging the lever properly. Inside the pedal is a plastic "fork" that moves the speed control lever switch up/down -- what happens sometimes is the fork gets loose and slides around (it's adjustable with a set-screw) and the fork prongs no longer engage the switch anymore...or the fork prong breaks..like if you accidentally drop the pedal on the floor or stomp on it too hard/fast. My advice is to open up the foot pedal and see if anything inside looks out of ordinary, I bet it's something simple. Good luck!
  8. We use an iron mix similar to the 1st suggestion, only ours has some clay added in there. It's not equal parts like an underglaze, it's more like 3 parts Iron, 2 parts flux (Gerstley borate) and 1 part clay (EPK) for suspension. Use CMC gum solution instead of plain water. Adding manganese dioxide will make it more black vs iron red
  9. West Systems is good epoxy. I kinda prefer PC-7 and PC-11 I think because it's more available in my area. JB weld is good depending on application - especially if you need heat resistance Like said, roughing up the surface of the magnet will help a lot for getting a better bond. My suggestion is to use the rare earth magnets that have the tapered screw hole in them, not the smooth ones. These are meant for screwing onto objects for a much stronger mechanical bond vs adhesive. For ceramics, simply leave a hole/recess where you plan to add the screw, add a dab of epoxy into the hole and then use a short screw -- the threads get anchored into the epoxy and that sucker isn't gonna come loose.
  10. I had a problematic little 120v test kiln doing this same thing last year (basically the Skutt equivalent of your Cress). Everything tested as "functioning" but the resistance on the elements was a tad high - I replaced a few parts but not the elements (since they seemed good to me) but it wasn't until I finally replaced the elements that the kiln finally acted normal and achieved ^6.
  11. I've only seen it online, I believe there are several vendors. Last year someone gave me a dinosaur mug with a temperature-based color-changing decal on it (when you pour hot liquid inside, the dinosaur skin goes transparent and the skeleton is left; as it cools the skin goes back to opaque). Of course I jumped online to see if I could figure out how to make my own decals that do this...that's when I discovered someone's invented a photoluminescent powder for using in glazes = glow in the dark ceramics! Google is your friend
  12. I started getting silica sand from my local Industrial Mineral supplier to replace expensive grog in my kiln wadding -- turns out it's the exact same 100# bag of sand that is sold in my local Home Depot in the masonry section. It is NOT "playground sand" it is 100% Silica Sand
  13. I recommend having a couple of diamond drill bits on-hand. Obviously using a a resist or a temporary filler to keep glaze out of the hole is the 1st line of defense, but sometimes things happen and the hole heals over with glaze anyways -- for these you need a drill bit that can penetrate glass....hence the diamond core drills for a rotary tool/drill.
  14. I too am a fan of using CA glue (SuperGlue/KrazyGlue) to anchor items while the 2-part epoxy sets. Tape also helps to hold stuff together while the epoxy cures
  15. Glow in the dark/photoluminescent glaze powder and add that into your glaze.
  16. My favorite tools to use on ceramics are chopsticks and used gift cards...because they're free and are easily customized into different things. chopstick can be used as a stylus, shaped into chisels and carving tools, used as handles for brushes and other tools, it's one of my favorite tools to stir up a container of glaze while I've got it open. gift cards are great for rib tools - they are flexible yet rigid, they won't rust or cut your hand like a metal rib, you can cut them with scissors to make custom shapes.
  17. I used to have a really good one from our studio but can't find it anymore. It was from a project we did once where we got a whole bunch of "unsellable" dishes from a thrift store and re-glazed them with underglazes. I think one of them was actually not clay and may have been glass -- oops Anyways, I would personally fire it - I would just make sure it goes on either a waste shelf or inside a pre-fired firing tray/saggar to catch any mishaps. Here's a few good ones I found on Google images:
  18. Very normal wear to me on a kiln that actually gets used. For $250 I would definitely consider buying that kiln assuming the elements and control panel are all functioning and not needing parts from the start. The floor slab is still held together with a band, it won't fall apart if that's your worry. Just make sure to pack it well before transporting. You want padding to reduce vibrations yet you want it to be fairly rigid so it cannot shift. My suggestion is to put down a piece of semi-rigid foam, underneath the kiln -- like the styrafoam sheets you can get at a hardware store. You will also need something between the lid and the top bricks if keeping the lid on - soft foam sheet, bubble wrap, blanket, etc.
  19. Lol, you're seriously overthinking this one. Years ago many people used to come and ask me to make smoking devices for them. If you want to see some really cool stuff look at John DeFazio's work, a lot of what he makes is a functional bong/waterpipe. A "simple" pipe doesn't need to be hollow, it simply needs a bowl/depression with a hole in the bottom, leading to an extended tube/bore for the smoke to travel through - think "funnel/beer bong" shape. If making a hollow "spoon" pipe like the glass one pictured (and what the other guy was making) then yes it needs to be hollow - it's for insulation from the heat. If you look at the pic of the glass one you can see it's a hollow form, with a depression/bowl. The hole needs to be in the bottom of the bowl and doesn't need to be very large, maybe 1/8" or slightly larger. The "exit" is the mouthpiece. The 2nd hole you see coming off the side is called a "carb hole" it allows you to clear the chamber of smoke without drawing through the bowl itself. The closest thing I can think of that would look really really similar to a spoon pipe is actually a kiln peep/spy plug, it just lacks a few holes.
  20. Has happened before and will happen again with certain mined minerals. Industry changes, the vein of mineral in the mine changes, etc, we get very little opinion or control if any. If it weren't for industry mining these minerals for other purposes, we wouldn't even have access to them for ceramics - selling off part of their product inventory to some hobbyist ceramicists is not even a fraction of their income, so why would they change things according to our needs vs that of industry?
  21. That's pretty much it -- but if you took more advantage of this method, you could likely fit several more plates on that shelf level.
  22. I can't really tell from the pics, but it looks like your burner comes in horizontal, not vertical from the floor. Where is your kiln's flue/exit/damper? Just like for those who make their own raku kilns from trash cans - many are finding the need to add an extended flue in order to get sufficient velocity/flow inside the kiln. I can't explain exactly what happens here, but by venting more it somehow allows more efficient use of the heat energy produced. So like your blacksmithing friend suggested - try extending the flue - perhaps some dry-stacked fire brick will work temporarily for testing purposes. Take a look at this page, it will hopefully help explain: http://www.kilns.com/ddfiringsystem.htm
  23. What he's doing is "staggering" the height of bowl rims, since they're all the same general height - so he can place them closer together and fit more per shelf - very smart way to load. People who are good at Tetris and puzzles excel at kiln loading! The other method you got confused with actually used to be common in ceramics. Example: saggar fired ceramics used to be common when you had "dirty fuel" sources to fire your kiln. Inside these saggars it was common to stack/cradle glazed bowls inside one another, to maximize your volume. Since glaze obviously sticks to anything it touches, they would space the bowls apart with 3 small balls of wadding/clay to separate them - the balls would be under the clean foot ring of the top piece and they would clean a circle of glaze where it touched the inside of the bowl underneath - this way nothing sticks to glaze, its all clay-on-clay. So if you see old Chinese ceramic bowls with 3 unglazed dots in the center, it was likely fired this way and very old.
  24. careful. I've cut tons of tile in my life working for my dad, a regular tile wet saw is very underpowered to cut kiln shelves, a "brick saw" would be more appropriate and even then that's not really ideal since you're hand feeding it. a lot has to do with the thickness of the shelves vs blade diameter and the power of the saw motor. go VERY slowly and let the blade do its thing, or it will grab and suck it in. clay kiln shelves are significantly easier to cut vs silicon carbide shelves.
  25. Sometimes you just need some "waste shelves" for special instances. If it doesn't have glaze on it, I keep most broken furniture for some sort of use. I keep around larger pieces like this as well as small bits (smash shelf with hammer into small pucks for elevating work in kiln, propping, misc). If you have access to a wetsaw, you can make your broken bits look intentional
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