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Posts posted by bciskepottery

  1. I use a wire cutting tool to make 45 degree beveled edges on my slabs, score the edges, and assemble.  Use the triangle piece cut from the edge on the inside to strengthen the corner, or a thin coil.   For boxes with tops, I follow Min's process -- make the box, let it set up, then cut the top part off.  On the inside of the bottom part, I add some thin slaps to serve as a gallery or sorts.


  2. At one point, we were all beginners and newbies.  Min and the others have given some good advice. 

    On your bloating, does it happen throughout the kiln, or just top, bottom, or middle? 

    Does your kiln have one thermocouple or three?  Sounds like one -- which means your kiln controller is measuring its firing temperature at the middle of the kiln (also called one zone).  To compensate for unevenness in temperature, the manufacturer will alter the elements for top and bottom to heat differently than the middle -- all part of their design to even out the firing.  A kiln with multiple thermocouples typically measures top, middle, bottom and adjusts element heating accordingly.  The cones will tell/confirm where your cool spots are.  Then comes the fun part of figuring how to load your kiln to balance the heat and reduce/minimize the cools and hot spots. 

    For bisque, if you are firing bone dry wares, no need to keep the top open -- especially if your kiln has a vent system.  If no vent, some leave the kiln top slightly open, then drop it at 1000F.  That allows any steam from physical and chemical water to escape.  When I fired kilns for a community studio, we did a preheat because we were dealing with a wide range of work, some thick, some thin, some bone dry for weeks, some on the shelf that morning.  That was a precaution for us.  In my own studio, I know my work is dry, no preheat.  For glaze loads, drop the top.  My kiln top rises slightly during firing (1/8 to 1/4 inch) because air in the kiln expands as it heats.  That is normal.  If the lid does not sit flush when not on, or rises a lot -- more than 1/2 inch, you will need to adjust the hinge -- as Min suggested. 

  3. Applying glazes takes practice; you should get better over time.  Unfortunately, there may be many pieces made, glazed before you get the technique down.  But I've found that is a learned skill.  As many potters will have as many tricks of the trade they've developed.  You sound like you have the basics (although I'm a three or four second dipper); just make pieces and practice.  The part of potting that most "hate" is glazing, because it doesn't turn out the way you envisioned the glaze.  But you'll get there.

    Some glazes are very sensitive to glaze thickness, so even rubbing down a drop on a tong mark or finger mark will leave a trace.  I've use an artists paint brush to dab tong marks,  let it dry, and then smooth it down until it matches the rest of the glaze thickness.  Some leave the marks and let the glaze melt cover them, especially if the glaze tends to move while firing.  Some glazes show those marks more than others.  Spraying leaves no tong marks, but takes longer (and has a good learning curve to get right thickness). 

  4. Yep, locally made . . . with glaze ingredients/oxides mined from Africa, kaolins imported from New Zealand, feldspars from England and Spain, etc. etc. etc. 

    And don't forget to support your local artists . . . who are more than willing to sell/ship world-wide from his/her Etsy/Amazon/personal web site. 

    I associate the word "bandwagon" with fleeting supporters/fans who join the latest fashion or fad.  Give me long-term, loyal customers who buy regardless of trends. 

    (Just feeling the irony today).  ; )

  5. 2 hours ago, docweathers said:

    The only criticism I have heard of the whisper VL is that it lacks enough torque.  What's your view on this?  How much clay do you throw? 

    I am not a "big" thrower; on those really rare occasions when I do make a big item, I take the Tony Clennell approach and throw in sections . . . 8 to 12 lbs.  or so.  At those weights, torque is no problem.  Coning, centering, and throwing 25 lbs. or so takes strength I just don't have at my age.   I had an instructor who would occasionally throw a demo with 25 lbs. -- and he would collapse the ware at the end of class. 

  6. Looks like we need to step back and take a deep breath . . . It is okay to respectfully disagree or challenge on content, but let's avoid making comments that characterize members personally.  That is not what the Forum is about.  And, I'm not singling out this thread . . . it has also occurred in some other recent ones.  We all bring different strengths -- whether experience, education, or whatever -- to the discussions and all of our members, whether professionals, students, or newbies, benefit from those strengths. 

    Sputty's comment is accurate regarding the auto-ignition point of wood.  And the suggestion of a layer of bricks with aluminum foil is a valid one -- it would satisfy the manufacturer's suggestions listed by Neil.  One clarification I'd like to see is whether Sputty's kiln is sitting directly on the OSB floor or if there is a layer of bricks/stand that separates the kiln floor from the OSB floor.  One clarification I'd like to see is whether the Milwaukee fire cited by Neil involved a kiln directly on the floor or if it was raised above the wood floor with a stand or layers of brick or other materials. 


  7. Quote

    I think we are veering off on an unrelated tangent . . . so let's get back to unity formulae and glaze calc.  Lots of interesting information to ponder, but a bit off track for the forum.  The most interesting presentation on unity formula I've seen was by John Hesselberth -- he used an assortment of different colored bottle caps to show how molecules realigned in a glaze formula.  That helped me because I'm basically math challenged. 

    BTW, Tyler -- the pix of the log cabin you are building up north looks really good. 


  8. 10 minutes ago, Judith B said:

     I used to work with a potter who only did single firings. We would spray the glaze en dry pieces and never had any issues. Isn't applying the glaze on a leather hard piece tricker? I feel like the piece would just fall apart from too much humidity once glazed... 

    Different glaze application techniques will make a difference.  When you spray, more glaze and less water goes on the ware -- so dry pieces mostly get glaze and not water.  If you dip, you will have to deal with more water and will need to dip at a stage where adding that much water would not affect the ware. 

  9. 1 hour ago, glazenerd said:

    Correct Tyler- my beloved I-pad wants to auto correct everything.  several liability.  I was drug into a lawsuit years ago between two land owners arguing over property boundaries. A corner of my ground touched theirs, so one attorney enjoined me in the suit. They were suing over a tract that was 1 foot by 120 foot. 

    Whether 1 foot x 120 feet or 15 feet x 120 feet, they are all billable hours.  And the more lawyers involved, the more hours billed. 

    (Full disclosure:  my daughter is a law school graduate, I work with an agency full of lawyers, and am a consultant who bills by the hour.) 

  10. I think a main concern about leeching is that it could affect the taste or appearance of the food coming in contact with it.  Also, there can be some discoloration of the surface of the ware. 

    Hesselberth and Roy adopted limits leeching for U.S. drinking water (I think) because there are no standards (except for wares used in commercial eateries that are issued by FDA).  

    And, if you look at limits between H & R, Britt, Tony at Digitalfire, and others, there are variances in what they recommend.  H&R focused on durability, so their limits reflected that emphasis. 

  11. Week 24

    Note from Pres: The questions this week are taken from an older book. The book is about electric kiln ceramics, and unless otherwise stated, assume an electric kiln when talking about firings.


    1. The main alternative to creating and reducing atmosphere in the kiln is to add reducing materials to the glaze. Several materials are available but by far the most useful and one with the author has experimented is _____________________.

      1. bone ash

      2. soda ash

      3. silicon cabide

      4. sodium silicate

    2. To fit well, both before, during and after firing, body and glaze must expand and contract at much the _______________________ and to much the same extent.

      1. same rate

      2. differing rate

      3. same hardness

      4. none of the above

    3. One method of joining together a burnt-out element. Stretch the wire and interlock; dab the join with ___________. Turn on the electricity supply , which will cause the wire to arc at the joins and fuse together.

      1. Kiln cement

      2. oil

      3. water

      4. super glue

    4. A _______________ glaze develops because the glaze contracts when cooling more than the body, this can happen with shiny or matt, colored or clear glazes.

      1. Glossy

      2. Lava

      3. Matt

      4. Crackle

    This weeks questions come from Electric Kiln Pottery-The Complete Guide, by Emmanuel Cooper, c. 1982, Anchor Press for B.T. Batsford Ltd.


    Note from Pres: A much older book that helped me years ago to explore cone 6. This was the first book I was aware of at the time that had a full chapter on Cone 6 Ceramics, and glaze recipes of which Floating Blue was on I first used.




    1. 3. Silicone Carbide-The main alternative to creating a reducing atmosphere in the kiln is to add reducing materials to the glaze. Several materials are available but by far the most useful and one with which I have experimented is silicon carbide (SiC) better known as carborundum.
    2. 1. same rate-Here the problem is to achieve a good fit between body and slip. Shrinkage has to be much the same and a good bond has to form between body and slip.
    3. 3. water-One method of joining together a burnt-out element. Stretch the wire and interlock; dab the join with water Turn on the electricity supply, which will cause the wire to arc at the joins and to fuse together
    4. 4. Crackle-The development of craze lines in the glaze which are recognized as a decorative feature are known as crackle glazes. . . .. On pots intended for functional use such a crackle creates both a poor bond between body and glaze, which makes it physically weak, and a trap which can hold food and make it unhygienic. For these reasons crackle glazes are best reserved for use on decorative pieces. A crackle develops because the glaze contracts when cooling more than the body, and this can happen with shiny or matt, colored or clear glazes.
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