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Chris Throws Pots

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Posts posted by Chris Throws Pots

  1. I’ve had plucking at cone 6/7 using high alumina kiln shelves without wash. I always wash the shelves used by our students but keep a personal set for my own work. I never washed those... just marked them A side and B side with RIO and alternated sides for glaze firings to prevent warping. After a while I started getting plucked feet so I started kiln washing. If there’s something else I can do to prevent plucking please let me know. I’d much prefer to not use kiln wash. 

    Grinder update: I bought a $40 Bosch corded grinder with a slide lock switch. It’s probably in my head and makes no difference, but knowing how wrong things can go with an angler grinder I felt better going with a brand I know and trust.

  2. I appreciate the feedback. I don’t have an air setup so corded or battery are my current options. I see some of the corded models have a paddle switch that can be locked on so maybe that’s a happy medium?The corded Ryobi grinder I’ve been using for the last 10 years was purchased for probably $60. I don’t mind spending a bit extra for a better quality/safer product but the cordless Milwaukee is probably excessive given my only use for a grinder is kiln shelf maintenance. I’m only considering it because I already have tools using that battery platform and I can get one with a battery for $179 at the big orange box. The battery alone retails for $129 so the tool would essentially be $50. But the special is only offered on the paddle switch version, not the slide lock.  

  3. It's time to replace my angle grinder and I'm  torn between sticking with slide-style on/off switch that locks the grinder on, or switching to the paddle-style. I have always used grinders with the locking slide switches, but the increased safety of the paddle switch seems a good thing to invest in. However I'm concerned that keeping the paddle engaged could be tiresome and uncomfortable when grinding a stack of shelves (sometimes 30+ in a session).  What grinder do you use? Anyone have a paddle-style and love it? Hate it?  Anyone made the switch from slide to paddle?

    Drilling down one more level into specifics: I have several Milwaukee M18 Fuel tools and if I go cordless for the new grinder it would be with one of the M18 brushless grinders so that I can use the same battery platform I already have for drills, drivers, etc. If anyone has experience with these particular grinders I'd appreciate your review of the tool for grinding kiln shelves. How long will a 5.0 battery last when grinding glaze spots and kiln wash?

  4. The studio where I work has a bin labeled "ALUMINA" but it doesn't say whether it's hydrate or oxide. I'd like to mix up some alumnina wax to help prevent lids from sticking and am curious if:

    1. Does it matter if it's hydrate or oxide? 
    2. If it does matter, what test can I run to determine which it is?

    If it's relevant, I've made kiln wash and wadding using this many times over the years. And when I've ordered it to replenish the bin, I've always just asked for alumina.

  5. @merryrogue To second what Hulk said, equally important to my pottery and display, whether for a 6' table show or a full 10'10 canopy show, is my hand truck. I cannot emphasize enough how valuable a good hand truck is. Pottery is heavy. Tables are heavy. Displays are heavy. Moving in to your new place at your masters program will be heavy. My advice: invest in a well constructed hand-truck. Mine converts from an upright to a flat/four-wheeled dolly and it is well worth it's pricetag: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Milwaukee-800-lb-Capacity-2-in-1-Convertible-Hand-Truck-CHT800P/100071520

    Also, if there is a newspaper in your area you can usually get endrolls of blank newsprint for free that are great for wrapping pots. Past issues of newspapers work well too, but I often cringe at wrapping my work in the current events.

    Have great shows!

  6. 20 minutes ago, Shawn said:

    I have a small boutique company and now I am outta luck. The price of the fired on is more than double what the beldecal price was. This is a bit of a nightmare. 

    Respectfully, it's not a nightmare and you are not out of luck. It's an inconvenience, pretty typical of doing business in any sector. Bel was selling sheets at roughly $1 per page. Fired On sells at roughly $3 per page. If you consider how many decals you can fit onto a single sheet (unless you are printing very large/full sheet decals), the cost increase to produce each piece is negligible. The potential savings using another manufacturer's paper is simply not worth the risk of legal trouble. Production costs increase in all types of businesses all the time.

  7. Monthly studio membership in my studio has a prerequisite of prior experience in a clay studio. Total beginners are required to take an 8-week class so they are taught both the ceramic process and the studio's rules, regs, systems and safety stuff. Students who sign up as monthly members after their class ends do not need a studio orientation, as their class serves this process, but they do need to fill out membership paperwork. People who have previous experience and sign up as members without taking a class, regardless of how much experience they say they have, are required to go through a studio orientation process and sign a liability waiver/acknowledgement of studio policies. Within the studio there are no different spaces or rules for members and students.... everyone has the same access and expectations. And all hours of studio access are hosted by a volunteer who helps with kiln loading, glaze mixing, etc, but also can step in to make sure things don't go awry... like wax getting dumped down the sink... woof.


  8. @GEP raises a good point about the shape of the channel contributing to your warpage woes. But if you're committed to the horizontal channel, I wonder if filling the gap with a coil of wadding would help. I also think using a clay with a high grog/sand content would help as @Joseph Fireborn has suggested. Using a cone 10 clay but underfiring to 6 would probably yield improved results, but then you end up with the challenge of keeping your throwing slurry and trimming scraps separate from the cone 6 clay you're using for everything else. Maybe it's worth the headache, maybe not. 

  9. 1 hour ago, neilestrick said:

    If you need to add dry material, it's best to add a dry mix of the clay body you're using. Just adding ball clay can mess things up over time. Most clay manufacturers will sell dry mixes of their clay bodies.

    To help prevent our reclaim from throwing short, we buy 50lb bags of dry mix of one of our clays and add a big scoop of the powder directly into the pugmill with each batch we mix/pug. Each bag lasts a long time and it has really helped the quality of our reclaim.

  10. @Frankiegirl  Will you be moving the wheels around your classroom much? Or will you set them up and leave them for the most part? I ask because the connection between  pedal and controller of the VL Whisper is more or less a coaxial cable and is pretty delicate. In my classroom we often pull the wheels away from where they're set up for throwing in order to clean beneath/behind. This cable on our VL Whisper has broken a couple times when moving the wheel and after a handful or repairs I ended up just hard-wiring the pedal to the controller.  Also, even though the splash pan design has been improved in the last few years, it's still not great. It is one of the messier wheels when beginners are working in the studio. More experienced students and many of our studio members love the VL but I have opted not to purchase  ore of them as our studio serves many beginners.

    Have you considered the Pacifica GT-400? They cost $700-$800 (right in the middle of the Clay Boss and VL) and are no-frills work horses, more than adequate for students and hobbyist potters. When I give studio orientations and get asked about our different wheels I describe them as the Honda Civic of pottery wheels: function over fashion but not without attention to design or aesthetic, easy to operate, low cost of ownership, easy to repair when needed, attractive price-point.  Plus they have a great splash pan design, especially for students who tend to use a lot of water.

  11. The chain/cog mechanism in the pedal for my Soldner S100 is slipping, rendering the wheel all but useless. The timing couldn't be worse, but that seems to be how pottery mishaps go. Has anyone had to replace one of these before? I am sure I could send it to Bluebird and have it repaired, but I just don't have the time in my production schedule to wait. The Bluebird/Soldner website is lacking to say the least and I cannot find any listing for a replacement pedal on any of the major (and some smaller) ceramic supply retailers' sites. Does anyone know the approximate cost I should be expecting?



    For reference for anyone who has a Soldner wheel, as of September 2018, the cost of a new pedal is $489 and the cost to send it out to Bluebird to have it repaired is usually around $250. 

    HOWEVER, unless the pedal has been dropped/abused or has water damage, these measures are typically unnecessary. My pedal needed some lubrication in a specific spot and two set screws needed tightening. Aaron at Bluebird/Soldner was super helpful and walked me through the process. The tune up took about $5 (WD-40) and 15 minutes. Now my wheel is running like it's new again.... or at least what I assume is how it ran when it was new. In my conversation with Bluebird/Soldner I learned that my wheel, that I got used from its second owner in 2010, was built in 1999. Not bad for a 19 year old wheel!


  12. In my college Intro to Wheel Throwing course my professor had us all do this as a project over the course of a few weeks. We found pieces in Lark 500 and other ceramic books or from websites like Schaller or Musing then did our best to deconstruct and reconstruct the forms. As very green clay students we were completely unaware of the challenges that lay ahead of us when trying to recreate salt/soda/wood effects with only cone 6 ox, but it was a pretty great exercise for getting a crash course in materials we likely wouldn't have otherwise touched: latex, oxide washes, oxide resists, colored slips, underglazes, vinyl. Very few of the pieces looked much like the originals they aspired to, but the project was graded on progression through a few rounds of tests, and it planted lots of seeds for how to use the other materials in projects for the rest of the course. So in that case emulating was extremely valuable not for the products of emulation, but the lessons learned about the medium. 

  13. @Denice The idea is to replace/modify the existing table so that students use it in the exact same way they currently do... to replace/modify so that the new table has the same function but takes a smaller side-to-side footprint in order to increase the walkways on either side of the wheels. The current tables are used every day, they are just a bit too wide for our space (as mentioned earlier in the thread we recently to a new studio space similar in overall size but with very different dimensions). I intend to build something with two fixed tiers or one fixed tier with adjustable tier(s) above the fixed platform. I was seeking pictures/examples of existing shelf/table setups that function the same way to use as a starting point for my design.

  14. 6 hours ago, PSC said:

    I encourage my students to stand up between pots. So if they have to move to put it some place its better for them healthwise.

    @PSC Me too. I stop the entire class every 45 minutes or so to have students stand, stretch and look at their pots from different angles. Most students are good about getting up form the wheel when they feel their body needs it, but some students need reminders that pottery isn't the most ergonomic activity and that frequent stretching is important. 

    The goal of my question was to get ideas about improving the studio layout by increasing walkway space between the wheels and the shelving racks lining the walls. Our current system works well: Students place their freshly thrown pieces on wareboards and place the wareboards on the table between the wheels. When they fill a wareboard (or sooner) they get up and move the wareboard to their personal shelf space. I am not seeking to retool the system, just the tables.

    Once our summer camp program ends, the studio has a couple weeks of downtime before our fall programming gets in full swing. If I decide it's ultimately worth the time/energy/material cost to overhaul the tables I'll be doing it during this quiet time and will post pictures of what I come up with. 

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