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Everything posted by yarddog

  1. It certainly could be right that I have the relationship wrong between high and low. I dialed the high setting down to a manageable speed and tweaked the low adjuster to just less than dead stop, if that makes sense. But still, when I depress the pedal, there's no response, no response, no response, and then zoom--it takes off. And trying just to get a sedate, slow speed is frustrating as hell. What could I be doing wrong? I am kicking myself for not having gone with a kick wheel, no pun intended. But now I'm stuck with this and really need it to work. Any suggestions much appreciated.
  2. Last time I used a Brent was 20 years ago. Never had a problem with it. My students banged the hell out of it, and it seemed indestructible. Just recently treated myself with the purchase of a new Brent C. Whoops, this one's a different story. The motor may be super, but the foot pedal really sucks. Depressing it a little does nothing...a little more, still nothing...then, zoom, off she goes. I try to slow it down just a little, and it stops. Try to coax it back to life--slow, please--whoosh. Race, stop, race, stop. Amaco sent me a new controller for inside the pedal, which I replaced. Zero improvement. The piece ain't exactly a marvel of engineering...just cheap, flimsy plastic, about as solid as a child's toy. Were these foot pedals always so temperamental, or has the quality of the Brents fallen off? I'm really kicking myself that I didn't stick with Shimpos...
  3. Have never been much of a fan of either Fords OR Chevys. But not a Cadillac guy either. More the Oldsmobile type, which I'm sure dates me. The Brent B is about $300 more than the Pacifica 800, both 1/2 hp I believe. And $300 is kind of a big deal to me. At my prices, that's a lot of pots... Worth it?
  4. Moving cross country to a new studio gives me an opportunity to dump the clunky old Shimpo and start with a new wheel. Have heard and read good things about the Pacifica 800s. Any reason not to buy one? Thanks in advance.
  5. The Laguna distributor is a pretty good haul from here, and I may well return it on my next trip over. But that's a couple months from now... Meantime, I should have been more specific. The clays are Laguna 60 and 90. I love the 90, and it throws like a dream, but folks seem to want to buy mostly the more dramatic 60, so I'd like to figure out a way to use it. And no, it's not particularly wetter or drier. Last, is it likely that pugging a bit of 90 into the 60, say half n half, would improve the 60 or spoil both? Thanks.
  6. First, a quick but heartfelt thanks to the pros among you who have helped me in the past. No mistake, I've found, is too obvious to avoid... Now an issue with a clay body. I have two hundred and some pounds of a clay body that is barely okay for throwing, if I work fast, but seems to lack the plasticity needed for decent pulled handles. It cracks badly, and I've ruined more than a few mugs. My technique hasn't changed, and the same kind of handles with a different clay body work just fine. This batch is from Laguna (actually, they both are) and they have been pretty consistent for me in the past. What's the cure? Will it improve with time? Something quicker?
  7. Thanks for the caution about not scooping. I do make a habit of mixing on the thick side, as advised. However, my real question was why a thick glaze to which I then added just enough water to produce the desired consistency would go watery after sitting for a couple of days. These was no settling at all--I mixed it thoroughly with an immersion blender, then double checked with a bare hand. It would make sense to me that a settled glaze would seem thin on top, but I don't quite get how a thoroughly mixed glaze would be fine one day, too thin the next. Very little experience with flocculants or deflocculants. One or the other called for here?
  8. I've mixed glazes too thick before, and I've mixed them too thin. But this time I seem to have done both, with the same glaze. That is, I mixed up a new batch of a recipe that I've used with good results before, got distracted by other projects for a couple of weeks, and came back to find it had thickened considerably, way too thick for dipping. So I added a bit of water until the consistency seemed fine, stirred well, then had a good session with the glaze. Coming back just two days later to finish the batch of pots, I found a lot of water on the top. Stirring it back in produced a glaze way too thin, about like skimmed milk. I waited a day, let the water collect on top again, scooped it off, then mixed again, and found the glaze is STILL too thin, way too thin. I have mixed it quite thoroughly and felt around in there, but nothing has settled out... Seems that no matter how much water I remove, it's too thin This has to be a newbie mistake. What should I do?
  9. Anyone had experience throwing with paper clay? Perhaps someone could save me the trouble and mess of mixing up a batch to experiment with? Also, am I correct that the shrinkage rate of the clay body would be unchanged by the addition of paper fibers/dust?
  10. Somewhere on YouTube, I came upon a British potter discussing the differences between American and British clays. His point, I think, was that British clays absorb much less water during throwing (particle shape/size/something?) than American clays, and are less quick to go soggy and weak. Dunno if I'm remembering that right, or if it's true...but if so, I'd like to have some.
  11. In my area, the most readily available clay is Laguna/Miller. Sheffield is also available, but considerably more expensive, and another hour's drive. I like a darker body, and have used recently #60 (WC-608), a speckled tan, sometimes mixed with a bit of #90. For wheel throwing, I like the 90 much better, but have an easier time selling the 60. I find the 60 pretty thirsty stuff. As a quarter-time potter, I don't throw with the speed or confidence of a production potter, so I'd appreciate a somewhat more forgiving body Any recommendations for a favorite tan-to-brown throwing body from Laguna? Thanks in advance.
  12. It seems that on some issues potters tend to be fairly certain of their positions, while rarely agreeing with one another... My old Gare defaults to 400F/hr until it gets within a couple hundred degrees or so of the target temp, when it slows down and tiptoes to the end. So it appears that I am already firing toward the high end of the recommended rates. Experimentation would be best, bu at 7-plus cubic feet, my kiln is by no means large but certainly big enough to preclude a lot of test firings at different rates. thanks for all the input. I guess for now I'll stick with the current ramp, and continue to holler at my granddaughter to turn off her lights and close the damn refrigerator door.
  13. I have been getting a bit of blistering, usually at the bottom of the kiln. The thermocouple is brand new (~6 firings), and I have just replaced the elements. Also, I re calibrated the controller. Can't think what else to try. Possibly related: it appears that my three center elements only begin to show a little color at around 1000 degrees. That is, the top and bottom elements get nice and red almost right away, but the center elements lag pretty far behind. According to a rep I spoke with at Evenheat, this is normal, but I don't remember it from previous kilns... One last piece of data in case it helps: despite the new thermocouple and elements, the kiln is firing too hot, probably to 7 or a little higher. Whew. Why would I get blistering only in the bottom of the kiln? Suggestions?
  14. Perhaps I should ask it this way: assuming the bisqued ware has been glazed a few days ahead of time and is thoroughly dry, why not just power through with a very fast firing up to 2000, then slow way down at R3, soak at 6, and follow with a slow cooling? My electric bill, and my not-so-green footprint, would both benefit... I guess a small test kiln could answer it for me, but I don't happen to have one. And thanks, Chris, for reminding me about the Hesselberth/Roy book. Reading it right now.
  15. Anyone advise me on the advisability/dangers to fast firing of cone 6 oxidation glazes? I don't mean soak or hold times, just how quickly I bring the kiln up to temp. What little training I ever received in firing only differentiated bisque and glaze firings by the desired temp or cone, not the length of the firing. So I've always ramped up slowly, bisque or glaze. My consideration here is not just time, but the expense of lengthy firings. If I can shave a few hours off a glaze firing without compromising my results, then it just makes sense. Any advise much much appreciated.
  16. This is my first kiln without a gold ol' kiln sitter, and I guess I was too trusting. Although watching the witness cones is clearly sensible, I guess I still am uncertain: Would a faulty/failing thermocouple be consistent one way or the other--under firing or over firing?
  17. I have an old Gare that I picked second-hand. I'm on maybe my fifth glaze firing, and after some unexpected drama with flowing glazes etc, I finally took the sensible step of using bracketed witness cones. After a rocky cone 6 firing last time, I tried it yesterday set to cone 5, with witness cones 4, 5, and 6. Whoops. Although the electronic display indicated that it fired to an appropriate temp of 2155, the witness cones--both in the top and bottom of the kiln-- all slumped into puddles, as if it had fired hotter than 6. Is it time for a new thermo-couple? Nobody around here works on these things... Any advise much much appreciated.
  18. A midfire Shino I recently mixed up is misbehaving. Dipped pots are emerging from the glaze covered with air bubbles. I have a leftover bit of the same formula that covers just fine. I mix the glaze very gently, so I'm pretty sure I am not causing it by stirring air into the glaze. And any other glaze over the Shino will also be pitted with air bubbles, although the second glaze will cover perfectly elsewhere on the same pot... Worst of all, I'm embarrassed to admit that this same thing happened to me last year, but I'll be damned if I can remember the cause or solution. Could someone help this dunderhead?
  19. Neil, I see that you are a repair tech for L&L. What do you thin about firing an old K14 up to cone 6?
  20. (Sorry in advance if this is a duplicate...original post seems to have disappeared.) I picked up a tiny 30 or 40 yr old L&L Econo K14 which had probably never fired higher than 05 or 04 in its long life at a community center. I'd like to re-purpose it as a test kiln for a batch of glaze variants. I think these little babies were originally rated up to 2300, but I'm not sure that's realistic, especially considering its age and history. I'm testing mid range glazes, 5 and 6. Am I being overly cautious? Thanks for your perspective.
  21. Thanks for this. While one potter's defect is another potter's desired result, I guess I am still a bit troubled by it. I should add that the two local potters I referred to in my post both shrug at the question of crazing, as if it's just not an issue. That is, they don't try for it, just don't particularly mind it, and don't see any particular problem with it. For a number of years, I used three, and only three, glazes delivered pre-formulated in bags from a potter up the road. Add water, presto. Cone 6, gorgeous, durable, and never a bit of crazing. Now I am mixing my own... It just seems to me that there should be a straight-forward answer to the safety issue. Crazing over stoneware is safe, or it isn't, Japanese, Chinese, Korean traditions notwithstanding. Again, many thanks for the benefit of your experience.
  22. I have read and experimented a bit, but have not really heard a definitive answer to this question: Is crazing on dinnerware bad? Always? Some times? Two skilled pros in the area sell dinnerware that is uniformly crazed, and it always bothers me. They both maintain stoutly that the crazing in no way effects the safety of the ware. I was taught was back when that crazing indicates a poor clay-glaze fit, period, and that a crazed glaze is going to stain easily and trap food, drink, whatever. In short, that crazing is a defect. Thanks in advance. I know this is an amateur's question, but that's what I am, and so I ask it.
  23. I know the reason usually cited for pinholes is too-thick glaze. I am not referring to the pinholes that appear in a glaze firing; I mean the bubbles/pinholes that are left on bisque ware after dipping in a glaze... The glaze in question, a cone 6 white, is fairly thin already, but leaves multiple small pinholes. The obvious answer would seem to be that I stirred too vigorously, and introduced a lot of air into the glaze. I have tried stirring very gently, to prevent air bubbles, but they seem to happen with this particular glaze anyway, almost as if the air bubbles remain in the glaze from day to day. I first mixed this glaze a week ago... I am able to stir other glazes with a drill or, in small quantities, a hand blender, without problem. Why would a particular glaze need to be stirred more gently? (Very much a newbie at this, having just mixed my first five glazes, so any advice much appreciated.)
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