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Everything posted by Benzine

  1. My District has been teaching mostly in person since September. Families did have the option to do virtual/ online learning as well. Each Quarter I have had several students opt for the latter option. We were forced to go completely virtual back in November due to a spike in cases. In both instances the learning was asynchronous. We used virtual meeting times, specific for each period. While we could offer extra help and such during those times as an incentive for showing up, we could not require students to attend the meetings due to; connectivity issues/ no access to internet, bus
  2. Yeah, generally a bit of underglaze won't affect your slip or reclaim. I regularly have students recycle their sgraffito bits into the slip bucket, and we use a light colored clay body.
  3. What size brass connectors would be recommended for the 231-18 kiln? I see that Euclid offers a couple different sizes. I'll likely end up using these connectors, since like Neil said, if something similar goes wrong again, I wouldn't necessarily have to replace the now *brand new* elements.
  4. I never understood the crimp connectors. You have to shorten the feeder wires each time. I'm guessing the assumption is, that by the time that the feeder wires were too short, it would be time to replace them anyway, simply due to age.
  5. Ooooh, those brass connectors are pretty slick! Are those meant to be reusable? I only ask, because the L&L I have in my classroom included all new bolts and washers, with the new elements, despite the fact the old ones looked fine. What is that Kopr-Shield stuff exactly? That kiln restore looks terrific. Too bad their aren't "Car Show" like events for kilns. "Hey man, you see that restoration Mark C. did? That thing looks cherry!"
  6. Would it be better to go directly through Skutt, rather than a general ceramic supply company? The supplier I use for most of my clay classroom materials doesn't even list elements for this type of kiln, but they say they can get them for nearly any model. Buuut since I also need a couple bricks and feeder wires, I probably won't use them. I only ask, because I will likely have to add/ have approved either Skutt or another supplier to our purchase order system.
  7. Thanks for the advice gents. I'll just go ahead and replace the feeder wires then as well. How do I go about checking the functionality of the switches?
  8. Well... Found the problem. No black marks, but two connections between the feeder wires and the elements were melted through. One of the feeder wires was touching the red case, hence the sparks I saw, when I tried to turn the switch on. So of the four connections in the top ring, it was the top most and bottom most that had melted through. The feeder wires looked OK. Would just the elements need replaced, or is this indicitive of another potential problem?
  9. Get out the "Spring" jacket! We are supposed to get back up into the 20s, maybe even 30s a week from now. That's going to feel like 50 compared to what we've had the past week.
  10. We are supposed to hit -20 or so for the low. It wasn't above zero for the high today (Despite the Sun trying to pretend it was decent out) and it's not supposed to be for another two to three days.
  11. Yikes! I have a former student, who lives out there. She's posted some pics of the snow online. We have plenty of snow too, and it definitely aint going anywhere when the temps are this cold. Thanks for the kiln advice. I actually have the exact same model of kiln in my basement, that was given to me forever ago. I was always going to get it running, but came across a better one. I was going to donate it to my District, because one of the elementary buildings is sans kiln, but they may end up getting a new one. If they don't want it, I plan to convert it to a gas, salt or
  12. Yeah, I was going to do that last night, but didn't have a screwdriver on me. I'm guessing I will see some black marks in there somewhere.
  13. Good Afternoon from the Deep Frozen Midwest, I regularly check on one of my colleague's kiln, since I live very near the school she teaches at. Normally this just involves me turning up the switches, and checking to make sure it has shut off. She contacted me yesterday to ask me to do so again, but also noted that it was not firing/ operating normally. She said that on a recent, previous firing it was still running after nearly a day. It was glowing red, but the cone didn't bend and trip the sitter. She stopped the kiln and said everything seemed to turn out fine. She re
  14. I know a thing or two. Marcia is definitely the expert. I've tried a lot of different reduction materials over the years; newspaper, shredded paper, cardboard, dried leaves, dried corn husks, saw shavings (from a table saw/ planer) saw dust (from a sander), and a dried pumpkin *cough*... I've found newspaper to be quite reliable, and less likely to mar the surface like saw dust or other thicker combustibles will. I like to have a layer of saw dust/ shavings on the bottom, both for a bit of padding on the metal bin, and to give a bit of constant reduction, while more is being unloa
  15. My clay class is going pretty good, even with the online students. There were a couple more that switched *to* online learning, even though they started in person. We ended up being completely online the two and a half weeks before Thanksgiving, going back to in person right after. I thought we'd all be out again a week or so later, due to a Thanksgiving related spike. That really didn't happen. So here we are, ready to go back after our Winter Break. We have three weeks until the end of the Semester, and we have a lot to do. I am not concerned about my clay class, as much as
  16. I switched my classroom to Speedball based on your recommendation, and am happy with the change. I previously used Amaco, which are great, but Speedball are a much better value.
  17. See, that's why I use a weed burner form my Raku kiln. You just keep it next to the house, and if you have snow on your way to the kiln, just melt a path with the burner... hehe. I actually *have* used that burner to melt a large sheet of ice, next to the main entrance to our house. The shovels and ice scrapper were not getting the job done!
  18. Spent the last couple days getting clay "kits" ready for students to take home.  We had to go to Online Learning a week ago, and will continue at least past the Thanksgiving Holiday.  I wedged the entire contents of our reclaim bin (650 lbs. or so), for the kits.  We have so much surplus clay, I didn't want to add to that by giving them the boxed clay.

  19. I think there some literature from the '90s on the subject, specifically the "Nevermind" album...
  20. Huh, that's funny, I thought lithium was supposed to make things better...
  21. Welp, We made it through our 1st Quarter well enough, then we got two days into our 2nd Quarter and have had to go online, for at least a week. The problem wasn't so much kids being absent, it was all of the teachers out. We just don't have the Subs to cover classes. It also didn't help that we were getting low on Bus Drivers as well. Luckily, we had a heads up, so I was able to go over some things with students, and send a Glaze/ Sketch Journal home with the students. The plan is for me to do a bunch of demo videos, so the kids have that info, when they come back and hit
  22. I have one, but I mainly only use it to add a more defined groove, when I adding surface decorations, or use it to pop out the square insert in my Wonderbat (They get a bit snug after absorbing some water).
  23. In my classroom, I just break larger pieces into smaller bits by hand, then crush those pieces with a rolling pin. It gets them small enough that they slake down fast. I usually only do this to get bone dry bits for my deflocculated slip. For reclaim, it goes from the bone dry bin, to the slip bucket, and eventually into the reclaim bin.
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