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Everything posted by WillowTreePottery

  1. I have recently purchased one of the new model Shimpo deairing pugmill and I throw clay straight out of the pug mill . I wedge the clay on the wheel by coning it up and down a few times to make sure I have it conditioned properly. If I am lazy or forget to cone up smaller pieces like 4 or 5 pounds I have had the odd s-crack but by and large none. I had previously used a Walker non deairing pugmill and always had to pre wedge as well as cone but this new one has saved me and my poor old wrists a ton of time and stress. I do fairly heavy production of up to 200 pounds a day many days and really appreciate the ability to have the clay come out of the pugger so well conditioned.
  2. The new Shimpo all in one pugmill has a lid with a seal and the clay stays moist for quite a long time if you close and seal the lid and put on the end cap. For the old Peter Pugger I used to have a thick piece of upholstery foam that I soaked in water and tucked around any clay in the machine then put a couple of plastic garbage bags on top.
  3. I do a lot of wholesale and my hands were so bad I needed to do something to take the pressure off them. That was my primary goal and it's been great that way. Clay comes out of the pug and I just wirecut into the size of piece needed. My production has increased a lot and an added benefit is that I do not have any big garbage pails sitting around the studio waiting for me to reclaim them.Scraps and rejects go right back into the machine for the next batch. I was also wasting a lot of clay simply because I hated to take the time to reclaim it . By my calculation I have already saved myself about $500-600 worth of clay since I got it last June. Also the time factor, I think I will have paid myself back in clay and time saved in the reclaim process and wedging by next fall. I don't do much dry mixing in the winter because it's an indoor set up; but come spring, when the polar vortex abates here I will also save $ by being able to use dry bagged clay and not have to pay to have "water" shipped to me. That will also represent a savings of about .07 cents/pound on clay. Now to the point of the original question," is the clay better when pugged in this new machine than the stuff from the old Peter Pugger I used to use a couple of times a year,?' Unequivocally YES! The dry mix and reclaim are a bit short sometimes but some vinegar and new clay easily compensate, I also add some other plasticizers if needed but that's a different discussion. I am a one person operation and that pricey little gadget is the equivalent to hiring someone two days a week to do the jobs it does. I guess that is how I justify it.\ Kathy
  4. Last year I began to have some pretty severe arthritic problems in my hands an wrists after 30 yrs of making pottery, I had only used an old relic of a peter Pugger borrowed from a school. I have upgraded to the new Shimpo mixer/pugmill http://www.tuckerspottery.com/tkps/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=1859&category_id=163&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1 I am a walking ad for this machine. I can mix and pug out about 100 pounds a couple of times a day and it is always the perfect consistency. Easy to use, reconstitutes dry scrap in no time at all and it means far less waste in my studio. Best money I have ever spent, It deairs clay perfectly and if I want a bit more aeration or plasiticity i just don't run the vacuum as long or add some vinegar to the mixer. Kathy
  5. Has been as cold or colder than Mars for the past few weeks , -40+F temps here in Manitoba , everytime the temp gets above -25C here it snows about 3 inches, That's what happening today. I want Hawaii!! Cheers to all who are braving the elements. K
  6. http://kilnshelf.com/glazeeraser This is one of the best investments I ever made.
  7. I like the following books on glazing for someone just starting the journey. 1) Daniel Rhodes Clay and Glazes for the Potter will help with the intuitive stuff and give you basics. 2) Mastering cone 6 Glazes has some great recipes. 3) Richard Zakins Electric kiln ceramics was my bible for a few years. 4) Robin Hopper's book (s) The Ceramic Spectrum and the subsequent editions are my "go to" books. 5) http://digitalfire.com/index.html has links to pages of information to help you learn after you start and need to troubleshoot. I've been a collector of ceramic books for about 30 yrs now and I still use these resources on an everyday basis. Kathy
  8. I looked at the Bailey ones. I think I will go with the c 10 ones then I should be able to use them at both mid and hi range firings. thanks
  9. I have 2 Advancers and would love to have enough for the whole kiln but since I don't I think plate setters would be a better alternative, I have 20 plates to fire and it is important that at least 12 get into one load for glaze consistency.
  10. I will watch the thread tp see what the people experienced in using plate setters say. Kathy
  11. Wedding registries and dinnerware seems to be about all I am doing these days, that and urns. (Wondering what that says about our times?) Plates range form 30-40 depending on diameter. Salad or soup bowls 15-20 depending on style 6 in Side plates are 18 Mug is 24. Cup and saucer is 40. I am working without plate setters and find this pretty "kiln" consuming, does anyone have recommendations for places that I can purchase good ones for c 10 gas firing? Kathy
  12. Interesting about the compressor, I must remember that. What psi would be needed?
  13. I would like to continue the discussion about this issue , and be able to consider both anecdotal and research findings giving each weighted credibility,John pointed out some of the variables that would affect the fired strength of any clay. Observations may not be scientifically valid per se, but they can add to the summary knowledge that we have about materials and lead to hypotheses that can be tested in more scientific ways. My research background is in the social sciences (soft science) and observational information is a valid way to direct much more scientific rigorous studies of a phenomenon. Mark has presented what social scientists would call a case study and this cannot be generalized past his own experience, for him it is valid. It may raise many questions for others and that too is perfectly valid. I work with a variety of clays and although I stick to c 10 clay for my functional work I would really like to know all I can about using clays at other temperatures and be able to evaluate some of the things like how glazes affect the tensile strength, etc and where to direct my energies in learning more.\\ thanks...please keep discussing. Kathy
  14. I have three wheels and they get cleaned when the grunge starts to interfere with putting a bat on the wheel head. I'm bad.
  15. Interesting discussion. So many variables affect this. I work in both c 10 and c 6 , mostly c 6 and c 04 in the winter when my gas kiln is frozen shut. I find that the glaze fit seems to be the critical variable that affects my work regardless of the recommended vitrification temp. True test would be to fire the clay bodies raw and then repeat your crash tests. This is a very non scientific observation as well, the pots that have survived in my kitchen cupboard (unchipped) for more than 25 yrs are all cone 10 red stoneware Plainsman 443 glazed with good old standard white or off white glazes. Other clays have come and gone, we've managed to break, crack, or damage the ones that were put to everyday use. Cone 6 stuff is still around but much of it is pretty badly crazed. Not everyone makes functional dinnerware, or whacks stuff around when they cook like i do. I am not saying that one firing temp is better than another just another non scientific observation about the survival rate of my pots over 25 yrs.
  16. I would stick to using #! pottery plaster for the longevity of the molds. Other plasters will end up chipping and pitting as you use them and do not cure the same. I have used dental plaster or Hydrocal in a pinch but still prefer the pottery plaster. Kathy
  17. Chris, I make sets of plaster molds for my larger (16-20 in) pieces from the `Slump-Hump`commercial molds. I also carve the hump part of the mold so it needs inverting. I tend to make my pieces on the hump mold first and then invert them into the slump mold for covering and drying. Saves distortion and cracking on those large slab platters and ovoid forms because they dry to almost bone dry in the slump plaster. If it is a bisque bowl I normally just use the inside curvature and let it set up in the bisque bowl. Not sure whether you were asking me the question or not. I have just lost two many of those long platters in the past due to my own careless drying that I just bit the bullet and pour an innie and an outie when I pour plaster. eg: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stonewear/5845038165/in/photostream/ kathy
  18. I agree with the last two posts. In order to use molds effectively as hump molds you need to be able to watch and `wait`until the form is just stiff enough to flip over onto a board without rim distortion and if it is large or oval -oblong you need another board to sit on top to prevent warping. A heat gun is another option but it has to be used carefully or there can be cracking due to uneven heat. Kathy
  19. I have made one or two bangles from clay but I found them quite unsatisfactory for wear and selling them was almost impossible. I have combined metalmsithed bangles and clay and epoxy for a more durable type of outcome. I use heavy kanthol wire to suspend heavier porcelain jewelry from the bead rods if i want to glaze and entire piece You will need to use two rods to suspend a bangle and then grind down the resultant small marks the wire leaves on the underside of the piece with a dremel or Foredom.
  20. IIf I use bisque bowls for a hump or slump mold I do one of 2 things. Wet newspaper and apply it to the mold, or roll my clay on plastic wrap and then do my forming with the plastic wrap side down. If using as a hump mold the plastic method is the better alternative because it has more tensile strength and you can get it removed at a stage before it shrinks enough to crack, then use the female,slump portion of the piece to give your work support for the rest of the drying process. This prevents wall slumping on bowls and other such items because they have the support of the original form. Kathy
  21. You have received some good advice. I tend to use my rejects a way to smash away frustrations. I've used enamels and china paints extensively and they rarely salvage a bad pot,plus they are very expensive to use, and tricky to apply and fire unless you use a preliminary coat of something called Klyr Fire.
  22. I have done this a few times. An angle grinder as someone suggested is a good option. Another short term solution I've used is to use a chisel and just gently pop off any ragged edges.
  23. I make unglazed buff or red stoneware bread bakers in a lot of shapes, and pizza stones that are perforated with drilled holes like a colander. The clay is one I mix myself and contains about 12 % grog. I bake every day and it is pretty important to season your pan ( slather in olive oil and canola oil mixture and heat to 350,then let it sit in oven for at least an hour, wipe gently when done). About 3/8 in thickness is the ideal. I also recommend not ever cleaning them if you can avoid it because the water is not great for them and can cause steam. If for some reason there is any weakness or lack of integrity in the clay the steam can cause cracks or explosions. I learned this the hard way many years ago as a beginning potter when I tried to make solid pizza stones , the drilled holes are much safer and make great crispy crust.
  24. I'm a food channel addict and my eyes are always "peeled" for the various chefs who use ceramic dishes to serve their dish, or those who have them on display in their sets. I wish I were not so far away from all of you, I'd love to attend the conference. I have an idea, several years a group of us here put together a small cookbook with our favorite pots and our favorite recipes for a fundraiser. It was a huge success and contained great recipes that I still use today. Maybe one of the outcomes of the conference could be a committee that could work to put one together for the Potter's council. The only necessity is a really good camera ,(or a friend with one. Kathy
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