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About Rockhopper

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  1. What kind of bats ? Are you certain they're completely flat when they're not on the wheel (do they rock any if you lay them on a flat table) ? Since they're brand new, if the bats are warped, or otherwise don't fit properly, you may want to see about returning them - but if that's not an option, here are some other things to check: What about the holes - do they fit snugly onto the pins, or is there some play ? If they're not fitting tight enough on the pins, place a bit of clay on the pin, then press the bat onto it so the clay will fill the gap. Do the holes go all the way through ? If not, it could be that they're not deep enough, and the pins are "bottoming out", and holding the bat up off of the wheel-head just a little. Either way, you can probably stabilize them by making a thin pad of clay on the wheel, then pressing the bat into that (like you would if you didn't have bat pins). A piece of rubber drawer liner on the wheel under the bat can also help, and is a little easier to lift the bat off than it would be with the clay under it.
  2. @neilestrick Not directly related to GEP's question - rather, curiosity sparked from reading the info at the top of the chart you linked to, which says "Maximum continuous temperature is around 1,100C". According to my Orton chart, the kiln will top 1100C somewhere between ^03 and ^01 - and be over 1200C at ^6. I guess it depends on how they define "continuous" - but how does that 'maximum continuous temperature' not become a problem when a type K TC is used in a kiln ?
  3. I don't know enough about TC's to offer any useful input on them - but have a couple of thoughts on why you're getting different readings with the three methods in your pic's: In general, when using an ohm-meter, it's best if you can have the component you are checking isolated (completely disconnected) from everything else (Method 1), so you're only measuring that component. Otherwise, your readings can be affected by other components in the circuit it's connected to. Also - depending on what setting your meter is on, the 'jumping around' may just be a matter of the quality of the connection between the meter probes and the TC connectors, or connecting block. In method one - the TC connector and meter probe are both hand-held, and could be moving around a bit. In #2, you're using just the very point of the probe (minimal contact) - against a rivet that may not have a solid electrical connection to the TC. In method 3, you're in direct contact with the TC connectors but, since they're still on the jumper block, they can't move around - making for a more steady connection. (If you use method 3, but disconnect the wires from the opposite side of the block, instead of disconnecting the TC, you would have both a steady connection and an isolated component.)
  4. Whether they can be successfully re-constituted will vary with type of product, and whether they've just thickened and/or separated - or are completely dried out. Glazes, and under-glazes can probably be salvaged - but I think you'll find that your "Duncan Bisque" is actually an acrylic paint ("Duncan Bisque-Stain"), that is applied after all firing is done. If these have thickened, but are sill moist, you can probably add a little water and stir - but if they're bone-dry, they're likely destined for the trash can.
  5. From the 'basic instructions' in Sculpey's catalog, downloaded from their website <https://www.sculpey.com/pdf/2018-polyform catalog-f3.pdf>
  6. A properly sized aquarium heater should provide plenty of heat... but I would be more concerned about safety. Most aquarium heaters I've seen are glass tubes, with a heating element inside and most of the ones I've used in my aquarium over the years eventually get some moisture seeping into them around the cord. They also usually have a warning printed on the heater and/or a tag on the cord, that says to unplug the heater before sticking your hand in the aquarium to do any sort of cleaning or maintenance... definitely not something I would feel comfortable having in a bucket I'm going to be frequently dipping my hands into. I do my throwing in my basement, so water temp isn't generally a problem, but if I was going to be regularly throwing in a cold environment, I think I would go with the crock-pot idea. I don't recall who it was, but I remember seeing a you-tube video in a studio that had a crock-pot at every wheel. Regardless of what device you use - if it involves having electricity connected in any way to your bucket, you should definitely make sure it's plugged into a GFCI outlet.
  7. It's not Mark... and no climbing gear... but how 'bout throwing with the wheel hanging from the ceiling? (Photo from an article about 'Ergonomic Throwing' at https://robertcomptonpottery.com )
  8. As Callie mentioned - if you could provide more detail of what you're having problems with, you'll get more helpful feedback... Are you having trouble centering ? Or is it in opening and/or pulling ? Compared to many here, I am what you might call an 'experienced beginner', but depending on what stage you are at when switching direction, that could definitely 'give you problems'. In addition to what Neil said about the clay 're-orienting' itself, unless you are truly ambidextrous, each time you change directions you have to think about your hand positions, and the direction you need to move them. (Can be a bit like being told 'pat your head with one hand while rubbing your tummy with the other... OK, now switch') If you consistently throw the same direction, you develop what some call 'muscle memory' and, instead of thinking about which hand goes where each time you start the wheel, you can concentrate on how the clay feels to you and how to respond to move it where you want it to go. That said, I have seen a couple of situations where reversing at specific stages has worked out well: I knew someone that always centered one direction, then reversed when she was ready to open & start pulling. I don't remember which direction she used for which stage - but she had more strength in one hand, and more dexterity in the other, so she used the strong hand for centering, and the other for the rest of the throw. I've also found that if I'm trimming on the inside of a piece (to increase interior volume on a piece that's too thick), I'm more comfortable reversing the wheel and moving to the left side of the pot, so that I the surface I'm trimming is oriented the same in relation to my hand, and moving away from me while I hold the tool in my right hand.
  9. When you're testing, make sure you low-fire your test pieces the same as the eagle, then re-fire, so that they will 'experience' the same cumulative heat-work as the eagle. If you just fire straight to ^6, you may (probably will) get different results than if you low-fire, then re-fire - and your tests won't give you a true indication of what might happen with the eagle. Another option might be to paint over the under-fired glaze with acrylic paints, then apply a clear top coat (lacquer, shellac, polyurethane) to produce a uniform gloss. Won't be as durable as a mature glaze, but you'll still have a very nice finished sculpture. BTW - Nice work. Hope you're able to find a solution that works.
  10. Thanks Bill. I was pretty sure that's the case... but didn't want to buy, then find out that 'the other kiln' would have been a better choice for cold. I have a propane-fired infrared heater that should 'take the chill off' pretty easily. (Would make for more comfortably loading too ) My old kiln (heavily damaged, along with the rest of the garage, when a tree fell on it last spring) was all manual. The only problem I had firing it in the cold was keeping my fingers warm while loading - and waiting a little longer for things to cool after firing, to avoid possible 'oven-to-freezer' issues.
  11. Bisque firing is (almost) always lower than the glaze fire, so it would be pretty normal to bisque at ^05 and glaze fire at ^6 - but I don't think that's what you're asking. If you're asking "Will a ^6 glaze work if it's only fired to ^05", I'm going to say probably not. You'll most likely get a very dull surface that doesn't look anything like the glaze would look at ^6. (May not look much different than it does before you fire it.) If you're asking "Can I glaze fire a ^05 clay at ^6" - I would say again, you will probably not have good results. Your clay will be very over-fired, and may even completely melt into a puddle - so if you try this, make sure you put a ^6 'waster' slab under it, to keep it from ruining the kiln-shelf. (Pic is a bowl made from an unknown clay, fired at ^6. Obviously, it was not a ^6 clay)
  12. I'm getting ready to buy a new electric kiln, which will reside in my unheated, detached garage. I've seen a couple of threads discussing problems with controllers that won't work below a certain temperature. My old kiln was approx 3 cu.ft. manual with sitter. As a hobbyist firing at ^6, I will most likely be staying in the 3-4 cf range, but looking to upgrade to electronic controller ( ex: L&L E18T, Paragon TNF 82-3, Skutt KM822). My question for the community: Is any of these likely to perform better at 30* F (or colder) than the others - or, do they all use variations of the same controller, and therefor have the same limitations for ambient operating temp ?
  13. "Spar Varnish" and "Marine Varnish" are different names for the same thing - a 'varnish' (or, in this case, polyurethane) that's designed for prolonged exposure to weather (see Bill's comment about 'spars' on ships) .. 'Varnish' is generally oil-based, will usually be yellow-ish in color, and tends to darken over time. Polyurethane is available in either oil-based or water-based. Water-based poly usually looks like watered-down milk in the can, but drys very clear and generally stays that way. (Definitely better for maintaining the original color of the piece.) It's a little hard to predict exactly how any of these will behave on your sculpture. I don't think any of them would cause damage, if applied in light, even coats - but I would definitely test on something less important than a completed work that has already been sold.
  14. Minwax, and Varethane (made by Rustoleum Co.) brands are both good quality and widely available. I know both have a water-based satin finish for exterior, but flat/matte may only be available in their interior products... ZAR is also a good product and, according to their website, does make exterior in matte - but may be a little harder to find (more of a hardware store brand, rather than 'big-box').
  15. It's going to be tough to find an exterior sealer that won't add some gloss... but a matte or flat water-based 'Spar Urethane' might work (would probably need to be sprayed on, in several coats). Since you said your 'recipe' includes yellow carpenters glue: Are you using an exterior grade of glue ? If not, you may find that a different glue would help. Unless your glue labeled for exterior use, it is probably not waterproof, and will soften with prolonged exposure to moisture. Assuming you are in the US, I would suggest Titebond Ultimate, as it's actually labeled "water-proof" (vs "water-resistant"), and readily available at most home-centers & hardware stores.
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