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Everything posted by Stephen

  1. was writing when you posted, my small test kiln (40L) has an electronic controller and fires the same as our 7cf and 9cf for our cone 6 (mid range) work..
  2. I would also think about how you are going to use it as far as size goes. A small kiln for a hobbyist can be filled and fired more often but you will have other issues such as the size of individual pots and such. If you want to make a few small bowls and a coffee mug or two at a time the small kiln might be fine but if you want to make a tallish vase or large bowl, not so much. Maybe make a cutout of each of the shelves you will get with these kilns and mark where the post will go and then pull out some finished pots that are similar to what you will be firing and get a look at what your kiln load will look like each time you fire. I think its important to try and match what you buy to your needs. Small kilns do often have cheaper power needs but the kilns themselves may not cost that much more to get a substantially larger kiln. I have a 40 liter test kiln and it really holds only a test pot or two. I could put one large bowl on one shelf and fire it but otherwise its just a few small pots. I use it to see glaze test or fire a single small pot from time to time. If you do small jewelry, beads or just small pots though a small kiln could be perfect. Bisque firing can have things stacked but when you glaze, all pots will have to have a little space around them and not touch the sides or top of the kiln so there will need to be some space allowance there as well. Kilns can last a very long time so buying a little larger than you need right now can be a good thing and save money in the long run.
  3. ya know I need to hook it back up but I have a small wifi camera setup that works great. It cost around $25 at Amazon I think and you can sit it on a shelve across the room and you can use the camera a thousand miles away (used it on vacation to keep eye on house and why its not in the studio right now) and pan it around the room and zoom in on stuff. I had it pointing at the kiln at one point when we went out of the house during firing and it worked great, once I saw the controller flashing complete I could relax about the firing. Thanks for the prompt need to go put it back. It is an app on my phone and is easier than having to get up. Having it build into the controller does seem cool as well. I will say it is comforting to actually see the kiln in the room firing. Obviously not necessary but just being able to visually check it out feels good.
  4. Running the kilns at night I would make sure that you set an alarm to get up and check that the kiln has in fact shut down when it was expected to. We try to time it so that that is actually around the time we wake up but if its in the middle of the night we set an alarm so that one of us gets up and goes and checks that kiln has turned off. Not sure it matters if you bisque only or both bisque and glaze fire for this situation as both temps are extremely high and I don't think glaze firing is going to make any difference in the safety precautions you take. Curious to see if anyone disagrees with me on that.
  5. Humm, it sounds like you are mixing the purging of a new mold (raising 10psi for a minute or two in ramps until you get to 70-80psi to get it ready to use for the first time) with a session of tile pressing. I don't use a 100 psi though but about 65 and I do spray the mold with a spray bottle in between packing with clay so the mold stays wet as I press but I leave the compressor on the same setting throughout when using to press tiles. Or am I reading your post wrong?
  6. Tried green soap as well. Once sealed the wood just won't release the clay. I brushed on green soap in 5 layers, drying in between and it still took a day to release and messed up the surface, Could keep experimenting but tired of messing with them. Only had 10 and I just tossed them in the trash.
  7. I think Intent also matters if you are thinking of galleries and that type of artistic recognition. I think most of the regular posters on this forum are functional potters (at least it seems that way to me). Functional pots will have acceptance as art in many circles but not everywhere. Academic level will matter a great deal to some and little or none to others. Repetition will be important in building skill for wheel thrown forms (often refereed to as muscle memory) so number of hours as opposed to years on the wheel will very likely determine how skillful you are in the long run for wheel thrown pottery. A person who throws in their personal studio several several hours every other day and lets say 6-8 hours on weekends will get in 15 hours a week of throwing and that works out to around 700 hours a year if they miss a week here and there for vacations and such. I think almost anyone would consider someone who throws that often to be a serious potter. It will take a similar number of hours or more in the studio each week to actually process that work all the way through to the glazed rack. If they do that for five years they will have several thousand hours on the wheel and about the same in trimming, glazing and general studio work and would very likely be considered very accomplished. An obsessed teenager with nothing to get in the way beyond 5-6 hours of classes during the week might hit that experience level in a year, year and a half if they were really into it and because so much of that time would be compressed I would guess they would prob be even more experienced. Either way the five year potter or the less that 2 year potter would either be considered really skilled at that point of making pottery or it is probably not their thing. Exposure will likely be up to you to achieve if your work is functional. When you get to the point that YOU think your work is exceptional then apply for some juried shows and approach galleries. Use social media to try and develop a following and maybe consider an online store and local shows to try and sell your work. If you become very good and manage to get your name out there then you could consider teaching classes or giving workshops to enhance your name recognition further. Have fun!
  8. for what its worth I thought I would toss in some unsolicited opinion and of course just ignore if this seems off target. I could see building and using a kiln for myself. Bought a book on small wood fired kiln designs so I can do just that when pottery is all I do every day and I have the right property. I love projects and I am somewhat an equipment junkie. I wouldn't want to use a kiln built by a family member or friend though because with that comes now a tie to someone I like/love. If I was happy with the end result forever and it always met or exceeded my needs then obviously no problem. Now instead of the kiln being a tool that I can use as long as it serves my purpose and I can toss, sell, upgrade or even give away, whatever, when the need or want moves me, it is something someone else contributed and worked very hard at building this elaborate tool and so it now has some emotional tie that has to drive my decisions about this tool, probably for almost ever (kilns last a long time). Just a thought. I know kilns are very expensive in your country and of course you guys may not have any of the issues I would have in the same situation. Kilns and wheels are the main two pieces of equipment and if those don't measure up for any reason it's got to be fixed. Shelves, counters, drying racks even slab rollers and recirculating sinks can be a little off the mark and still be fine but the kiln and the wheel have to be dead on and as you go along the needs often change and they have to be changed up to something else for your tools to keep up.
  9. ya know I hear ya but the slow movers do sell and those sales are sweet when they happen. If the slow sellers are the more elaborate and higher dollar pots it gives you a chance to stretch and builds the cash register as they sell. We have had some 3 digit pots that take a number of shows to sell but worth it when they do.
  10. Well as an update, decided to pass. Seems like a good deal at first blush but since I don't need them now then matching power to these kilns becomes part of the decision for the next studio or I have to spend hundreds of dollars on each kiln to upgrade them if the power doesn't match. Also have to pay to store them until we grow into them which could be a few years. Just seems like the wrong move for a bunch of 15-20 year old kilns that have prob been heavily used in a school system. I also didn't like make the decision for a bunch of small kilns instead maybe a large car kiln or larger front electric being made now.
  11. yeah we use 2 of them. I have built several drying racks and its hard to beat the cost and these are mobile so they can be moved around and that really comes in handy. With the cover they work great for clay because you can slow drying as much as you want by zipping it up. To almost stop the drying (like a wet box) just put a blanket around the bottom when zipped up and that will essentially slow the drying to nothing. Just zipping it up slows drying substantially and for handled pots like mugs its great for the first day of drying. If you buy some be sure and use 3/4 inch ply for the racks. 1/2 inch will warp if it gets wet. I measured the width so that while not going all the way to each end, when pushed all the way to either side they would not fall through (that would be a mess). That extra couple of inches got an extra couple of shelves out of a sheet of ply. Think about how you want to use it when you cut your racks. For instance if you wire off the pots onto a board in a row say for mugs then you can cut the racks in strips only as wide as the intended pots and then just slide them into the rack as you go. On these rows you might have 3 or 4 shelves on one row. If you dry on bats then you can make the shelve one large board and then just slide in the bats with the pots. Square bats are helpful if you dry mugs, tumblers and small bowls on bats. Lots of combos work. They come in two styles, one has the racks slide in from the end and the other from the side. Decide which you want. We went with one of each. edit: Old lady posted while I was typing and Hadn't thought about the weld/bolt situation. The side load one is welded and the end load one is bolted. had them both for over 10 years with steady use and these two have remained sturdy. Your link shows the welded one is $130
  12. It makes you wonder though if these trends are really just the new normal. Mark mentioned he noticed in late 80's and that's 35-40 years ago and about the time that unions and working a lifetime for a company started changing as well. The gig economy opens up a lot of possibilities and lack of great pensions exposes a lot of need/wants. With folks living well into their 80's on the average now I think that second chapter is a more serious and thoughtful decision. Used to be you retired early, late 60s and died in your early 70s now it's spending 25+ years just hanging out and that is just not that appealing to a lot of folks. When you are old your needs are different and you have the ability to choose a second act business if that's what you want, based on passion rather than need to pay off mortgages, buy trucks and send kids to college. The retired dentist may well be just doing his thing for kicks but the old guy next to him that is a year into starting his art business is building a business with as much seriousness as any other pro in the show and he may well have thousands of hours of experience to leverage.
  13. I think it all depends on motive. A hobby that pays for it's supplies might better describe the retired Dentist that paints watercolors and sells them at a local art fair from time to time, or maybe described as a side gig that adds a few bucks to low retirement income for someone who would rather toil over a potters wheel or painters canvas than flip burgers or check receipts at Walmart. But if the company is being started with the goal to survive and thrive then I think an art business fits into the overall small startup landscape if that's the point. If you stream and have Amazon prime I think the series 'Where Small Business Grows' is just fantastic. Only one season but they go through a dozen plus small businesses started by regular people.
  14. I have an opportunity to buy up to 8 paragon TNF273 kilns that came out of a school district at around 5-600 a piece. These are 8cf kilns and I don't need them now but thinking about buying 4 or 5 of them to store and use later when we grow a bit. Anyone have any experience with these kilns? The plates I have seen are circa 2004 so they are 16 years old and I assume have been fired a lot in a school setting. Few chipped bricks here and there but appear to be in pretty good shape and prob taken care of. I have no experience with 208. Is this going to be commonly available in commercial shops if I lease? If I buy a lot and put up a studio shop is 208 going to be a hassle to have wired? How hard/expensive is it to convert 208 to 240? Here's a shot of one of them and I love the heavy duty lift kits and have electronic controllers (DTC 1000)
  15. It is nice, didn't think I would like it at first but getting ready for and commuting back and forth to a job is a lot of time I can plow back into the business.
  16. Hey ya have to do what works if it's a business. Evenings would make more sense for me too and I could potentially get in more time because there wouldn't be a clear stop time like there is now. Since I work from home and start at 9 and end at 5, I could be in the studio a few minutes after I get off and start working but more often than not that didn't happen when that was my schedule and I was just dinking at the business here and there. A lot more planning than doing. I program all day and I am just exhausted at 5 and instead of heading straight into the studio I would just opt for down time with news, diner etc and then the 'object at rest tends to remain at rest' theory takes over and the evenings would often blow by without doing anything. Back when I started throwing I did it early before a commute and remembered that I did like it once I got into the grove so a few months ago switched. By doing it first it gets done and I find I like that quiet time of the day and tend to get a good nights sleep because I just relax early and mostly get 6-7 hours sleep. I also pretty much don't go into the studio on weekends and that keeps it from becoming a drag.
  17. Hey congrads! As everyone has said, great deal. We've got the model 20 (I think its 9.3 cf). We bought it for just under 2 grand in 2008 with the Bartlett controller and it has been solid as can be. I've moved it 3 times now and one of those moves was from Seattle down to Dallas and then from Dallas to the Austin area and it held up fine. Snapped a pic of the back below to show the hinge assembly ours has. I know yours is the 25 and bigger but so far no issues with the top bricks on ours in over a dozen years now. It divides time with a Skutt 1027 but we have gotten well past 200 firings on a set of elements. We use it more than the Skutt because the oval shelves just load better for things other than mugs.
  18. I hear ya brother. I'm going to be 60 in October and in IT that is really old. I'm getting up at 4 these days and and try to be in the studio working by 5:30 so I can get in a good half day before the day job. If I was the type that could roll out of bed and be pugging clay 10 minutes later it would add another day of studio time by the end of the week but I'm the sluggish, slow moving grunt that has to have coffee and build up momentum.
  19. hey I know you are eyeing making a switch to pottery at some point and it sounds like for good reason. No better way to make that a reality than developing a steady stream of repeat customers. I would suggest taking some time and making sure you are getting everyone on your mailing list and maybe getting your website, Facebook etc in top form so you can keep the momentum going with kiln opening announcements and show notices as you start doing more of those. One thing in the past 6-7 years that has stood out to me is that low cost, moderately priced pottery is hard to build a sustainable business around. Side hustle, sure but a sustainable living wage business a lot tougher. I know some here do it but many of those potters have spent decades building up the volume they need. It just cost so much to live these days and a potter can only make and sell so much pottery. I have no idea what your prices are but since you are just getting started establishing you customers I thought I would mention it since obviously the time to establish a higher end product line is in the beginning .
  20. are these people that have bought b4? Sounds like you have some regular customers who like your pots!
  21. I'm in the states but isn't that a pretty small kiln? When I put in 40litre I get a 1.5cf equivalent but it says it weighs 100lbs (46kg) . I have a 1cf test kiln but it weighs nowhere near 100lbs. If its on wheels like Chilly's or is not a single piece I bet you will be fine. Maybe have a backup person you can call if you can't manage it. Chatting with the supplier does sound like good advice they should know. have fun!
  22. What size kiln is it and what style? A pic would be great. Are you male or female? If it's not a large one piece kiln you might be able to just do it yourself. I have moved all of our kilns several times myself including the initial install on two of them. One was a sectional Skutt 1027 and I bought it in Tacoma Washington and moved it to Texas by U-haul. I unloaded it in pieces off of a pallet out of a moving truck in the driveway and into a garage so that would be similar to your situation. None of the pieces individually are that heavy. It's not a big deal. Just read the manual, go slow and be careful with the pieces as you move them in. The 1027 is small enough (7cf) that I can manage to carry each piece myself and each section has handles but I am a guy on the larger side The brick is soft so don't bang it around and I had a bunch of moving blankets that I spread the whole thing out on before I reassembled. We have a 9cf oval that I have taken down, moved and reassembled several times now and with that one I have had someone to help and grab one end. I could maybe do them by myself but it would be awkward and I would probably use one of those carpeted mover dolly's you can buy at the hardware store for $20 if no one was available and I was on my own. I sold a sectional kiln to an art teacher in a city 200 miles away and she came and got the kiln in a pickup and I am pretty sure she and her mother put it back together on the other end.
  23. Is this something you have seen instructions on or are you experimenting with this? You mentioned ceramic pieces in your original post but then here say ceramic is not planned? I have just never heard or read anywhere of someone taking slip cast molds and pouring plaster in them. Would love to see the info if you could post a link or two. Don't know about easier but it's different. The plaster whatever pieces will be plaster and fragile. Decorating the finished products will need some sealing as well since it will soak up any paint you try to use and then that has to accommodate whatever you are going to decorate with in that it might look different when put on top of sealed plaster and have trouble drying/sticking. Have fun testing, good luck! If you do figure it out I think there are lots of cheap molds out there, I see large batches for cheap post around often. edit: Also I would definitely consider testing with the stronger ceramical or hydrocal (there I think might even be one more level of hardness) because plaster is going to chip easily.
  24. Also on Amazon, ordered a bottle yesterday delivery today. A pint was $8 and a gallon is $22 with free shipping. If it works well will get a gallon next time. Although I am not using it on a model in pouring a mold I am still going to brush it on some oak press molds and let it dry as Liam suggested. I used baking spray last time and while it worked I put too much on and it mixed in with the clay and was just a mess. Corn starch didn't work very well b4 that and WD40 sounds about as messy as the baking spray.
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