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Piedmont Pottery

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About Piedmont Pottery

  • Birthday 10/19/1955

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  • Location
    : Fuquay-Varina, NC
  • Interests
    traditional folk pottery, crystalline glazes, pottery instruction

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  1. I've had a number of customers buy my brie bakers as cigar ashtrays and apple bakers as ring holders. It seems that function, like art, is in the eye of the beholder.
  2. Perhaps Dremel the too-large ring connectors down a bit on the sides to get it to fit? Take off only the minimum amount of metal needed.
  3. While I wouldn't mix a clay body by volume, if you wanted to you could check the calibration on the bucket by weighing the empty bucket, filling it up to the grog line with grog, and weigh the bucket with the grog. The difference between weights divided by 5 gives you the unit weight, i.e., multiply that unit weight by 10 and add that amount of Hawthorne to the bucket and see how close it is to the Hawthorne line, then continue on with the other components in a similar manner. I'd be curious to know how close things lined up with the marks. The grog mesh depends somewhat on what you are planning on doing with the clay. I think 30 mesh is fine for some hand-building and for raku bodies, but I like a finer mesh for throwing bodies.
  4. While I agree that wheel direction is more cultural than handedness, many left handed potters I know throw clockwise. If your wife has already learned to throw clockwise, I see little point in having her relearn. On the other hand, if she's just starting out, learning counterclockwise is what I'd also recommend. I inherited an old model B from a friend who is left handed and who has always thrown clockwise. Reversing the direction involves opening the control box and switching the two wires going to the motor. It's a pretty quick fix. It's also a good opportunity to check the condition of the wiring in the control box, as the insulation is sometimes degraded on these older wheels and may need to be replaced.
  5. I got the same cease and desist letter from the trademark holders. I call them French butter dishes now on the website. I think it's a bit ridiculous that a company can trademark a name that's been in common usage for a long long time, but such is the world we find ourselves in. It would appear that they have someone on staff whose job it is to scour the web for trademark infringers. Interestingly, while on a tour through the Rhine region of Germany a few years back, I spotted a local pottery shop and of course had to stop in and meet the potter and look at her work. In her shop they were called Swiss butter bells.
  6. I have settled on Square for all my sales transactions. I used the phone app for years and now use Square Terminal as my point of sale system in our brick&mortar gallery/studio. There are a few primary advantages for our operating model that Square has. First, I can import inventory items from a spreadsheet, and my price tag/barcode label software reads the same spreadsheet. To add new items to inventory it's just a matter of editing the spreadsheet and uploading it to Square and then printing whichever price labels I need. Another huge advantage is the helpfulness with accounting. The native sales and transaction reports are useful for tracking sales, and more importantly, the square transactions are posted automatically to my QuickBooks software using a plug-in called CommerceSync. CommerceSync charges $10/month, but has greatly reduced the time I have to spend on bookkeeping. Additionally, Square offers the ability to incorporate e-commerce site development for no extra cost. Square may not be the answer for everyone, but it's working well for me.
  7. For large bowls and platters, judicious use of a torch or heat gun to stiffen up the form a bit before wiring off helps with removal without deformation. Be sure to keep the torch and or pot in motion when doing this so the upper part of the pot dries evenly and slowly. Depending on your heat source, this only takes about 5-10 minutes. However, I also agree with what the others have suggested about getting bats that fit your wheel correctly. It is sometimes difficult to wire off large bowls or platters without the wire rising up in the center and taking off a bit more of the pot than desired. Here is a simple tool I made many years ago to help with this. Three sections of angle iron welded together at an angle with the cut-off wire stretched tightly across the gap. Tensioning accomplished using eye bolts through threaded holes at each end with two nuts on each side to lock the bolts in place after tensioning.
  8. Paper clay slip is your friend for repairs like this.
  9. You may also want to check the Peter Pugger reconditioned page on their website. There's some bargains to be had there occasionally.
  10. A quick nonquantitative trial of sucralose vs. wollastonite. I had two 1kg test batches of glaze with the same base glaze formula, different colorants in each, but the same amount of wollastonite. Each was added to approximately 120 ml water, 2 g of sucralose was added to one, and each was allowed to slake for about 2 hours with frequent mixing, then filtered through a small sieve. The image on the left below (or top, depending on your browser) is the residue from the one with sucralose, while the one on the right (or bottom) is without sucralose. Visually, although difficult to tell from the photos, the glaze with sucralose appeared to have about half as much wollastonite agglomerates on the filter as the one without. In each case, the aggregates could be dispersed through the sieve with gentle pressure from a silicone spatula, but the sucralose sample dispersed more readily. Based on this quick and dirty trial, it seems like it will be worth while to repeat this a bit more rigorously. I have to admit I was surprised by the apparent effect of sucralose, as I wasn't expecting to see much difference with this test.
  11. Estimate the amount of time you would spend manually reclaiming scrap in a year, subtract the amount of time it would take to reclaim using the pugger, and multiply by your hourly rate as an attorney, which is, after all, what your time is worth. You should see a fairly quick ROI.
  12. An inspection mirror can also be helpful in packing the back of the kiln.
  13. I have both top loaders and an efl2635 front loader, and for my back, the front loader is much easier to load. I did invest in nitride-bonded SiC shelves, which makes loading both much easier than without. I did rent a forklift to get the kilns onto my loading dock, and a pallet jack to move them into place. I made sure that my door openings were wide enough for the kiln, but it was on a pallet that protruded a bit on both sides. A few minutes with a circular saw fixed that issue.
  14. No chromium in rutile, unless as a trace contaminant. Titanium (85%) and iron (15%) in rutile. Chrome tin pinks are mostly what I've used, not familiar with cobalt-magnesium pinks. You might want to set up line blends with varying amounts of cobalt carbonate to see if you can find a range that works, but I'm thinking it can't be too much cobalt. My sapphire glaze is pretty intense blue at a bit less than 1% cobalt oxide.
  15. I have been using a Peter Pugger model VPM-9 since 2007, and it has been incredibly reliable for the most part. I have found their technical support to be very responsive on the rare occasions that I have needed them. I don't know how many tons of reclaimed clay I have put through it. I have also used it as a power extruder with the die sets they sell. My unit did die two weeks ago. I pugged out one batch first thing in the morning, loaded a second batch in the hopper and started it running. came back a bit later, and it was non-responsive. Talking with tech support it was determined that the electronic control board had failed. I'm getting an upgraded control board sent out, and hope to have it soon. They emailed me the instruction for replacing the electronics, and I have to say it is the most complete and clearest instruction for equipment repair I've ever seen. I'd have preferred the board to not have failed, but after 14 years of heavy use, I can live with the fact that things eventually wear out. I have not regretted purchasing the Peter Pugger.
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