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fergusonjeff

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  1. I have both a new Thomas Stuart and a shimpo whisper. I can definitely cause a little slowdown in the whisper with larger amounts of clay, but most items are under 5 pounds and it is not really an issue. I end up throwing 95% on the whisper for two reasons: 1) it is in a better spot (had it first) and 2) the wheel spins freely when the pedal is stopped. I find it really annoying to have the wheel stopped and not be able to spin it with the stewart.
  2. The kiln is just a standard catenary arch cross-draft kiln. the arch is one layer of hardbrick, about 3" of ceramic fiber, and then expanded metal sheets on top. The thin cement is a mix of fire clay, sand, and Portland cement, but I do not recall the exact mix. The cement is just thick enough to cover the expanded metal, probably 1/4 to 1/2" thick. I could try to get a photo, but it is just a solid gray coating - you cannot see the metal. My shed is 15' high, so it lets rain in at an angle and it has not shown any problems from moisture so far. The metal is just "expanded metal" available at any hardware store. It is commonly used in concrete applications.
  3. What would you like pictures of? Kiln? Saw? Happy to help, but may take a bit. I have not posted photos here before.
  4. I used a layer of expanded metal with a thin coating of a mortar with additional Portland cement added on top of the fiber. Has held up really well with little compression of the fiber. Try using a cheap circular saw (only $30 new) and 6" masonry disks (about $3). You can cut almost completely through on one pass. I have cut hundreds of bricks nd my cheap old saw is still working.
  5. I just got a great digital scale from Costco. There is no Costco in my area but I went to one recently while visiting some relatives. It was about $20 and seems to do an excellent job of weighing in grams all the way to about 20-25 pounds (almost the range you are looking for). I tried to find it online but it is not on their website. I just got it a couple weeks ago. I really liked that the battery area is well-sealed with 4 screws. My shop is very humid most of the year and I seem to only get about 2-3 years out of a scale once the humidity and heat get to the battery compartment and the batteries corrode the terminals to the point that the scale fails.
  6. MFP - I think what you are seeing as "darkening" is just the shadow of the hollow sections of the shelf. I have been using a few of these corelite shelves and they have held up well. Seem to warp less than the solid shelves at cone six. I just got a couple 1/2 round 26" advancer shelves and they are even better than I expected. Plan to order more once they get back in stock.
  7. I pretty much use the same system as Neil. Just pack everything tight with no paper/foam. In the last 10 shows I have only broken 2 sponge holders and I bring many hundreds of pieces to each show. I have some rough surfaced wood fired pieces and I do put a sheet of newspaper around those because they can scratch other pots if there is a little rattling while moving/driving. I am usually one of the first folks packed up at a show.
  8. My methods come from Bede Clarke. I use a ash/feldpar mixture (I think 50/50). Usually sprinkle it on the wet glazed surface as GEP suggested. If it is too dry then I just lightly spray with water. Don't spray so much that the glaze start to run. I use a fairly fast-fire cross-draft wood kiln, so only the front pots get heavy ash. I use the ash sprinkle to supplement and the feldspar helps the ash melt in a shorter firing. I can also get nicely glazed post with little ash out of the back half.
  9. I think Mark means to add water through the hopper (top), but at the side toward the barrel end. This is what I do, and it allows the water to mix before it works through into the vacuum chamber.
  10. I have the VMP20, but use the same strategy as Marc. Just add water a little at a time and be cautious to avoid "the spins".
  11. One secret to getting plaster to stick to the batmate is to get it a little drier than you might think. If it slips, try getting it a little drier.
  12. Seems like a bad idea. Concrete mixers are cheap compared to just about any pug mill. I have heard of folks using concrete mixers for mixing clay bodies.
  13. The stuff will degrade at high temperatures. I was told it would work as a damper in my wood kiln. When the kiln was around cone 4 it collapsed making for a challenging first firing. It should tolerate temps on the outside of a kiln, but the question is for how long? Will it be exposed to the weather? I did use the cement board between the cinder blocks and the soft brick and hard brick layers under the floor of the kiln. No sign of problems there but it is pretty protected.
  14. Every couple months I switch between various white cone 10 clays and mostly red cone 6. I get it as clean as I can by hand without taking it apart and then run two batches through. I mix the two batches and run them through again. No problems either direction. I think the only big concern would be switching from some dark stone ware to a fine porcelain - if you really cared about keeping the porcelain perfectly white.
  15. It looks like the problem might be occurring before pulling up the walls. It kind of looks like the clay is being folded over as it is first opened. This would create a layer of slip that prevents the top of the bowl from staying firmly attached to the bottom. I am probably not explaining this very well. Be sure to keep the clay together as you open and don't let the clay fold over on itself.
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