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Stephen

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Posts posted by Stephen

  1. I would slice some in half to see what is going on and when. Before coming off the bat, right off the bat, before trimming and after. I'm with Mark on the foam trimming bat being the culprit but maybe its just the angle of the picture. Seems like everyone covered lots of possibilities though so if you can narrow it down for certain when it is happening one of the causes might come into focus. Good luck! 

    edit: I only use foam bats for things that are really only getting a little light clean up like cups and mugs. Anything that needs a foot trimmed in happens on hard bat.

  2. 12 minutes ago, neilestrick said:

    If it's big enough and the correct shape, it would work. I would say a typical grill isn't the right size or shape, unless you were just doing 1 small pot at a time.

    ha ha, this is Texas. We have some damn big ol grills and smokers. I think I will look around. Thanks! 

  3. oh one thing I was going to ask you guys. I recently bought a new pellet grill and gave away to old char grill I had which was on wheels and cast iron.

    In reading a lot of how to's last night I did not see anyone suggest using an old cast iron smoker or grill lined with ceramic blanket to make a raku kiln.  Has anyone ever seen a conversion doing this? Plenty of them are on wheels and even new only cost a few hundred and used are often free, Smokers in particular usually have a large rectangle box and swing door.

  4. Yeah, I did say that and meant it but the Olympic ones seem much more substantial for the dough. I does make me maybe re-think just building one. I have so much going on it just always seems counter productive to be building tools when that time can be spent making product but paying 3k for essentially a BBG grill body lined with a blanket and kiln shelf may be a little silly.

  5. great thread, thanks!

    In looking at the PP (I have their pug mill and its great) I have to wonder where the dough is though. It looks like a neat design but they want $350 for the propane burner setup and $2600 for what looks like a metal enclosure lined with ceramic blanket. Not meaning to dis it at all and looks like it works great just seems like a lot of dough for what it is. Looking at this I have to wonder if just lining a BBQ smoker enclosure would work just as well.

  6. hey those look nice, thanks!

    Events are fun but mostly just adding a raku for production so would prob roll out once every few days and do a series of firings. 

    trading text right now with someone a few hours away that has an Olympic 23 that is set up for natural gas and I need propane. They seem to think I can just switch over to propane easily, need to verify with Olympic. 

  7. We are adding a Raku kiln to the studio. Trying to decide what. Laguna and Olympic seem to be most common. Only use propane ones in past but see electric options. I get I can build one but just don't want to deal with it as it does not really seem to be production going that way. We have done raku so don't need to experiment with it, Just trying to decide which kiln and looking around for used as well as new.

    I am also not clear on size I see the Olympic 18" as a 3 cubic feet and the 23" as a 7 cf but can you stack shelves in raku in the same fashion as a standard kiln? I have always dealt with single shelf load where you then pull the pots every half an hour or so as kiln reaches 1000-1200 f and then load another round. Is the cf size just to indicate putting in large pots?

  8. Interested to see if the kiln guys say different but looks just fine. I get it these things are expensive but I would try not to be too protective of them, it will drive you crazy. They last for a really long time with normal wear and tear. Ours have lots of stuff like that and have never been an issue. You kiln is constantly going up to 2k degrees and cooling and the bricks expand and contract a bit each time so small cracks develop. Totally normal and hurt nothing. 

  9. Hey Ronny,

    Ya know I am not sure this is the right place for manufacturing per se. You are using speech like 'I will' so I am assuming you did not make the pottery items currently in your online store but want to start making your own, is that correct? Do you or your mom currently make pottery?

    When I see the word manufacturing I think of a manufacturing process with lots of specialized equipment geared toward mass producing products. While that description does somewhat describe many of the folks here that make and sell pottery, most potters on this forum see themselves as  part or full time artist/artisans and they either use a technique called slab building or wheel throwing to make pottery and a smaller group here that use slip casting. Most of us make scores or hundreds of things but we don't really mass produce anything. Slip casting would probably lend itself more to making many multiples of one vase design though so that might be the one you key on.  Plenty of potters use all three methods depending on what it is and how they sell them.  None of this may be relevant if what you want to do is have a little mini factory making thousands of each design.

    If however you want to start smallish, those three terms 'wheel throwing', 'slab building' and 'slip casting' in google and/or here on this board under the search bar should get you started reading on pottery processes so you can decide how you want to make your pottery. You can also go to YouTube and watch videos on all of those methods. It is possible to teach yourself how to make pottery but it takes a lot of practice and repetition to become skilled. If there are any pottery classes in your area I would jump at that if I were you because then  someone will get you grounded and help you get to a starting point. If there are no classes close by then on YouTube there are a number of potters who do video classes and many, if not most, are free.

    Good luck, have fun!

  10. Road shows really add up even if you are camping or staying with someone. If a show cost a couple hundred booth fee and then you spend even another $500-$600 doing it then the first $800 of pots is just to cover those cost. Now add in the materials and time you spend making and that number goes up and then add in the actual time of doing the show (easily 30 plus hours for a weekend show) and take that now 2-3 thousand dollar number and divide it by the average price of one of your pots. That's how many pots have to sell before it means anything at all to you financially.

    You still have the time and material investment in the local shows but after the booth fee and materials you can at least convince yourself that the fun of doing it was worth working for low wages if sales are slow. Sow shows on the road mean that you actually cough up hundreds of dollars to do the show on top of low wages.

    I would stay within driving distance of your home if at all possible until you really feel like you have it figured out. If you do have to go on the road try and make it as cheap as possible until you feel like you know how the numbers will turn out. Some of the guys here have done the same shows for years and years so they can budget based on what they usually do, be very careful until you can do the same. Two or three bad shows in a row can mean basically giving away hundreds and hundreds of pots and paying cash money out the door for the privilege of doing it.

  11. On 1/31/2021 at 3:22 AM, Ronny said:

    I opened a online store a year ago but not go so well and here is some planters I have . 

    I will say that it is not unusual that your online pottery site has not sold many pots. From what I can gather from others here not many have actually sold much online other than to their existing customers. The pandemic I think has changed that dynamic a bit though so it will be interesting if the potters here that have some activity on their sites during the pandemic will continue to get sales at the same pace after the vaccines kick in and people start venturing back out.

  12. While I do understand what manufacturing means I guess I would ask you to clarify. Do you mean renting/buying a large building and putting ceramic manufacturing processes in place to produce these pots with both labor and machines or do you mean you want to make your living from making these pots in your studio yourself and sell them? 

  13. I did it from the Seattle area down to Texas a few years ago both with a couple of kilns (skutt 1027 and a 9cf oval) and a pug mill was among the other stuff. I had zero damage in a rented moving truck. Neil or someone recommended getting the 4" foam insulation sheets at Lowes and cutting in half and putting one top and bottom and strapping the kilns in. Did that and packed everything else carefully and everything was just fine. I didn't put the insulation between the rings or wrap with plastic wrap but that certainly seems fine to do as well. I was careful to strap top and bottom tight but not so tight it would be crushing, just good and snug. Also made sure the pallets they were on couldn't move around and that nothing could come crashing into the kilns by roping it off really well. 

    Driving myself I felt every bump and pot hole I hit and feared the worse since the oval kiln was older and the bottom already had usage cracks but all worked out fine.   No way though I would have let anyone move my studio. Maybe it would be fine but the times I have had movers they just kind of take over and it seems like it would be hard to get them to really do it right. I have had a hard time convincing trades workers that the kilns are not one piece and cannot be shoved to one side as everyone thinks its fine to sit stuff on them. Me, I wouldn't let any movers near my pottery or woodshop stuff. If you have too then I would go marks route and pack all the stuff in a wooden crate.

  14.  

    On 1/18/2021 at 5:57 PM, rox54 said:

    Having a degree in nursing, retiring to start a new career, then teaching myself pottery, only to find i need to learn social media and building a website... whew!

    Ya know I wouldn't stress to much more on the site. I know some people here are doing more from their sites since the pandemic but the verdict is still out on if that will continue. As far as I can tell before that no one here really made any (much) money from their website's and most pottery websites are more of a brochure than selling platform. If I were you, based on your original post, I would call it good for now and concentrate on the stuff that will make a difference in your new business. Like Callie said the site is an ongoing project and you can always come back and dink around with it some more when everything else has settled down. Just my two cents.

  15. 14 hours ago, Ayelet said:

    Hi Stephen- thanks for the info. I'm also interested in purchasing a vac, and have read the comments above. Could you upload a photo showing how the dust separator attaches to the vac? I'm not sure I understand it. Thank you!! 

    sorry not by shop for pic but just search in google on dust deputy or dust stopper and you will see a bunch of examples of each. The dust deputy sits between the hose in and the shop vac and I find it reduces (by a lot) the dust that gets to the shop vac.  I use it though to pull plaster dust off a CNC router that is in a sealed enclosure. Without the dust stopper the shop vac was putting out some dust out into the studio and when I added this that stopped. I do wood and pottery and have a larger dust collection system for my wood working tools.

     Another way to go if you have an outside door is to just get a large shop vac and buy a really long hose and sit the shop vac outside. 

    No doubt bill knows what he's talking about so for sure take that into account. My shop vac is hepa rated, not sure about the dust collector. I do know that there is no residual dust at all from hours of cnc cutting plaster so there's that. 

    Hope that helps, good luck! 

     

  16. 27 minutes ago, liambesaw said:

    These online webpage in a box places like wix and squarespace offer the ability to tune the layouts perfectly.  My own website was like this when I first set it up and I had to tweak everything to look right.  The settings are there, it just takes some messing around.

    yeah you are right but of course one has to agree on what's perfect:rolleyes: To me Wix and Squarespace turn out almost every website identical. Getting back to the OPs site I guess I don't see her site as unusable on a phone but yeah you do have to scroll down from the logo so there s that. 

  17. Ah you guys are tough. I didn't even look at that as an issue but rather a style thing. Once I scrolled the page into view the menu works as expected and it seems to me that responsive designs are always quirky .  I write web apps for the day job and hate responsive phone coding. Make one look nice and the other doesn't without dinking around. Wish adaptive had won out because platforms IMHO should be individually optimized if it matters or just go with mobile friendly. Phones are so big these days just going with mobile friendly with the same design on both is just fine.  But I am an old man who came up writing desktop applications in the 80's so I am not on the cutting edge, just the edge. 

  18. 5 hours ago, rox54 said:

    Thank you for calling that to my attention and for the tips on my website!

    I tried to look through the threads to see if I was being redundant. I went to your website and under portfolios the page is off so I would fix that. Hey very nice pots and the site is nice as well. When I clicked 'shop individual pieces' I just get an enlarged picture and price. I see there is a message that says pay through pay pal and tax not included on some pages and on others just tax not included but I don't see a way to add anything to a cart and checkout. If the routine is for people browse through your pics and to then go to the contact page and order what they want by just telling you, I wouldn't do that. I would either have a link to an Etsy store (or some other shop listing platform) so they can buy the item or have a site with a cart and checkout. I don't think many would go through this process unless they know you personally.

    If I missed you saying above that you are adding a shopping cart checkout then please ignore this annoying post of mine B) 

    Good luck, I am sure you will have no problem dialing it in with all the great advice you got in this thread and with such nice pottery to sell. 

    here's a screen grab of that errant portfolio page. 

    image.png.f5225273f78cf1e63edad60d336c3b58.png

  19. looks like you have lots of good advice. Thought I'd throw out our experience since we also combine the pottery business with W2 income for me and also have an LLC with business insurance (all things you mentioned). If you make less than I think $600 I don't think you need to do anything unless you want to write off equipment and/or expenses. If it is a hobby business then you should go to the IRS website and read up on that because you can only write off some stuff with that designation.

    I'm in Texas and we are an LLC, have a sales tax id from the sate, work from a home studio in a garage and have business insurance through a commercial insurance company. If your kilns burn down your house your regular insurance and/or home owners  will not cover your house if you sell anything from your home studio. I am pretty sure that is true no matter where you live in the country. I trusted my agent when he said it was fine but when I moved from WA to TX and pushed for clarification Allstate made it clear that it we sold stuff my homeowners would not cover it if the damage was caused by the studio. It cost us about $800 a year to have the insurance but we also have some riders added to cover some show liability, some lost sales and some inventory value as well as just covering incident damage.

    I file our personal taxes jointly using Turbo tax small business edition online and the business income is on a schedule C on our 1040. No employees and no federal tax ID. I have had an in-house comptroller/book keeper and an outside corporate accountant in my day life so I get the value of that and if that's the way you want to go then don't read the rest of this post, just keep your receipts and hand them over at tax time with your Esty reports and it will be easy once your guy sets everything up.

    .... I only spend an evening each year dealing with our taxes and we just have a few quarterly reports for the local stuff so if you are pretty savy working with basic numbers its certainly doable on your own and, at least with us, not worth the expense of outside help.

    Since I felt just fine doing my own I started doing ours on TurboTax have never felt a need to do anything else. When we started selling as a business I converted all the studio equipment to business equipment using market value so I could then take advantage of being able to depreciate it. We had about 20k of stuff to depreciate and in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis there were some extra benefits for a few years so it did matter. If you have existing equipment you bought for personal use in the past you can convert it to business use and then write it off every year on a schedule based on what it is.  Any new studio equipment beyond consumables and small incidentals and hand tools you will need to write off like this as well.

    Turbo tax small business handles all of this with just a few questions answered so you don't need to do anything but tell it about the equipment and what the cost or market value is and it does the rest. It will ask you every year if you bought anything.

    We have pretty much all the same expenses and categories each year so we just keep an envelope with all the receipts that are not online and I pull it together and knock it out in an evening. Texas does not have personal income taxes but I think it will handle Oregon State stuff as well.

    The feds don't care about the LLC and you don't need to report anything until you have income over I think $600 unless you want to have write-offs and I think $400 or so before dealing with self employment if you just file as a sole proprietor. A single member LLC (husband and wife qualify as single) you can file for federal income tax purposes as a sole proprietor if you want to and you probably do.

    TurboTax deals with the self employment as well. If you start making a lot of dough (10's of thousands) you will at some point need to pay that quarterly. I do that with a direct pay from bank to the IRS website and its not hard to set up and a few clicks but you only do that the first year following clearing a certain threshold and Turbo tax will clue you in when you need to. 

    Good luck. My sister-in-law just opened on Esty with fused glass work and had several dozen sales her first month. She took advantage of all the marketing options and at the end of the day it all added up to about 30% of sales so not bad.

  20. 10 hours ago, ango0211 said:

    Thank you all for your thoughtful replies. I missed out on this kiln, but it seems like it would have been too large for me anyways. You have all furthered my knowledge and I am closer to understanding what kind of kiln I want for a home set up. Thank you!

    bummer, hoe you get the next one. We have a Skutt 1027 with the Kilnmaster controller and two others with Bartlett controllers nd there isn't much difference. Both have some pre-programmed fast/slows and both allow you to put in custom ones as well so don't worry about if another one pops up with a Bartlett or Kilnmaster. 

  21. With pottery if you can get clay you can start doing stuff 10 minutes later, seriously. From your post I can't tell how experienced you are or if this is a new studio so if you are an experienced potter with a studio already then ignore my post as it will likely just be annoying :)

    ...but if you are new then I'd advise you to just pick the right kiln for your work, order it and then just do other stuff until its installed. Of all the things to have to wait for a kiln would bother me the least. Just make stuff and prep it for the kiln and then when it comes in you will have a few bone dry loads ready to fire. A few months will go pretty fast. Are there some other things that you can do to get ready directly for the kiln? Is the electrical installed and ready? If not then once you order then you have those specs and can get an electrician for that scheduled and done. Do you have drying racks, work tables, etc

    Good luck, if you just have to have it right now, I agree with others that a 10 year old kiln is really not that old. 

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