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Everything posted by Maj0rMalfunct10n

  1. Thanks Bill, maybe I'll need to reconsider my firing process. I appreciate the reply.
  2. @Min, I'm a bit lazy, and I very much dislike the glazing process, so dip everything. In that I try to maintain a cream like consistency with my glazes and only dip once for each colour. I do layer, but rarely do I layer beyond two colours, so arguably in most instances the glazes isn't too think. I am very interested in your suggestion on firing down but I am unsure how I could do that with the kiln sitter triggered. Thanks very much. ~Mal
  3. Wow! Thanks for all this information. The type of clay I use typically is Plainsmen M340, which I bisque at a slow rate. On my dial, I move stages each hour (cone 04). Dial settings 0-1 (-one hour), 1-2 (one hour), 2-3 |(one hour), 3-3.5 (one hour), 3.5-4 (one hour), 4-4.5 (one hour, close lid), 4.5-5 (one hour, put two sight plugs in), 5-5.5 (one hour), 5.5 -max temp (one hour), kiln sitter usually trips the max temp setting after 12-15 mins. Total bisque time ~9 hours. I am unable to say exactly what temp each stage is. I have used a whiteness cone in the past but fell away from the practice. Maybe I should readopt the behaviour (I gave it up because I never fully understood the interpretation of the melted cone, in terms of practical temperature). I have a Paragon LT-3K, its a bit older, but in great shape. Plainsmen M340 is a very light grey clay with the following chemical mixture: CaO 0.2 K2O 2.1 MgO 1.2 Na2O 0.1 TiO2 0.6 Al2O3 17.7 P2O5 0.0 SiO2 69.2 Fe2O3 1.4 MnO 0.0 LOI 7.5% The glazes in this are both Mayco from dry mix (Copper Float and Opaque Blue). I have attached a photo of the outside and bottom. I appreciate the input on this, I am not part of a ceramics guild and any info is appreciated. Thank you ~Mal
  4. Hello, I am hoping to leverage some good experience from potters with more know how than I. I have a Paragon electric kiln, and use commercial glazes (Duncan, Amelco, Coyote, and Spectrum. I fire to cone 6. From time to time, and with what seems like without reason I get bubbles and or pimples in the glaze. I like to think I’m fairly careful not to let foreign material infect the glaze. Any thoughts on what cause these issues? Overfire maybe? thanks in advance ~Mal
  5. Hi all, I live in Calgary, Alberta Canada. I have historically been a spring/summer/fall potter but I have been hand building this winter in my basement. I have a medium sized paragon electric kiln in my un-heated garage. I was thinking I might fire it up the coming Friday, with the weather expected to be -10C. Is this safe from a cracking perspective. The work is in my basement and not cold, but would be transferred to a cold kiln. I use a kiln sitter. I could lengthen the warming stage, but I am more concerned with the cool down (am I being rational)? thanks for the input ~Mal
  6. Hi, I have a medium sized Paragon kiln in my studio, and from time to time use a smaller retrofit raku kiln in the yard. I have only one kiln stand, and in the past have lifted the Paragon kiln to access the stand for raku fun. I look at the costs for kiln stands and find it unreasonable. Is there a cheap stand that someone can recommend? Thanks very much Mal
  7. Hi has anyone tried to apply the Mayco Stoneware Washes to green ware as an underglaze? My plan was to apply (iron wash, cobalt wash, copper wash) to green ware and bisque, the clear when I fire again at 06. any predictions or experience to what may happen? thanks ~Mal
  8. Hi Fred, Thanks very much for the clarification request. I feel that the model is a S-82-3. Thanks ~Mal
  9. Hi, Had a bit of a scare on the weekend. I have a Paragon Model LT-3K kiln, and have run it for three years without much issue. I was firing cone 06 on the weekend and was moving the top temperature dial from 1 to 2 and I saw a flash on the top side of the kiln while adjusting the knob. I looked into the kiln as the lid was notched open at this point and the top element was on. I called my local Paragon dealer and they asked if I had vacuumed the coil channels recently, and I replied no. She said sometimes if a bit of glaze gets in there it can create a small arc. She said if the element is still working it should be ok. As the kiln was working fine, and I could not get the flash to occur again (I tried to adjust the temp using the knob up and down) I continued on with the fire. Fast-forward 5 hours, the lid is closed, and plugs are in. The kiln is not at Max heat yet but pretty close. As I move the top knob to 5.5 on the dial setting a large flash occurs, very bright, with an audible pop. The flash (what I think is an arc) then knocks the power to the whole house out. The kiln is in the garage and I have a dedicated 30A breaker for it. I went to the basement and tripped the breaker restoring power. I went back to the garage, the kiln didn’t reach temp so the kiln sitter had not tripped, the power light however was not on. I unplugged the kiln, and let it cool. Yesterday I unloaded it and there was nothing touching the walls or coils in the kiln. I don’t feel that I have glaze in any of the coil channels. I am at a bit of a loss to what may have happened. Paragon is closed today as is my local dealer. I plan to have an electrician look at it, but would like to give some direction to him. Any thoughts on what may have happened? Thanks ~Mal
  10. Hi pautts, I do use cones, one in the kiln setter and one that I can view through the the plug hole. I have a couple of clay bodies in this instance both from Plainsman. I turn the kiln on min for an hour with the lid notched open and He plugs out. I increase the temperature by moving the dials to one, then two and three each hour. Then I move to 3.5, 4 and then 4.5 each following hour. At 4.5 I close the lids do wait another hour when I put the plugs in and move the dial to 5. One more hour I move to 5.5. In this instance the kiln turned itself off shortly after. Aprox. 8 or so hours to fire. I have kept the cone from the stand and could photograph it if helpful. The cone in the kiln sitter was a complete "u" shape and triggered the kiln to trip off. I keep a journal each time I fire and could provide exact times when the kiln was turned up. I live in Canada and while there is no snow right now the day of the fire it did drop to 0 c or 32 f outside and I fire in a non heated garage. I normally don't fire this late in the season. I did use one different glaze which is a dry mix Mayco glaze. All the glazes I use are store purchased, I only mix my own Raku glaze. I can go into greater detail on any area. Any input is appreciated. Thanks. ~Mal
  11. Hi, I fired my kiln yesterday and I received some mixed results. I follow a fairly strict process when firing my kiln (usually takes 8 or so hours) and have had good success in the past. I don't mix my own glazes yet, and use dry mix from Mayco. In this fire i received a fair amount of bubbles in the glaze. I have attached a few photos. I was wondering if this is a symptom of overfiring? I am sure this is ceramics 101 but any input would be great. thanks ~Mal
  12. Thanks very much! I appreciate the feedback. ~Mal
  13. Hi, I have been working on some old men busts, and I have a question about paper trapped in the head. I built a wooden armature for the work and made a paper ball to use as a mould for the inside of the head. After removing the armature and as much of the paper as I can there is still some paper trapped inside. I have let the head dry very completely, are there any concerns with firing in an electric kiln with some paper left in the head? The bust is not terribly large (9" or so), and I used 1 sheet of paper from a local flyer. I would estimate that I got about 50% of it out. I realize that I could have cut the top of the head open to fish out the paper and reattach, but I plan to Raku this and didn’t want the seam where I reattached to be a weak spot. Thoughts? Thanks ~Mal
  14. Thanks to everyone for the great advice, I’ll reconstitute them and let you know. ~Mal
  15. I am a seasonal potter. What I mean by that is my studio is taken over by my wife so she can park the car in the garage in the winter. This means that I have large periods of time when my glazes sit. Last year I did some raku work and thought I packed them away at the end of the season safely. This year however they are bone dry. Can I reconstitute raku glazes? If so, will the colours be affected? I understand this might be a difficult question to answer as different chemicals may react differently to time and or lack of water, but in the spirit of generality has anyone had success? Thanks ~Mal
  16. I am kind of embarrassed, I took Min's advise and took a critical look at the problem before I put the work back in and simply re-fired. The issue was that I wasn't paying attention and put a 06 cone in the sitter (which tripped the sitter at a temperature that was too low for the glaze to mature) and a large cone 6 in my peep-hole stand. Needless to say that I have matching cone 6 cones now and am re-firing the kiln. Thanks for the support. This is a great community. Mal
  17. Hi, I am looking for some advise if possible. I fired my kiln last night but the kiln didn't reach full temperature. I looked at the cone I have in my cone stand and it is not melted. The cone in the sitter either melted or fell off and the kiln shut off. Can I re-fire? As I have not unloaded it, can I just turn it on? Thanks Mal
  18. Thanks for the note. I made the tongs just for these pieces, because of the size of the work compared to the inside diameter of the kiln was too close I couldn't get my tongs under the pieces, once the work was in my reduction chamber the larger circumference of the barrel made it easy enough to grasp with my tongs and I used them to get the work into the water. I do appreciate your point on combustion and feel that it is a very real concern. The gloves are a great deal from Amazon, on $20. Thanks again. Ian
  19. This is a great idea. I did have some chocking in the beginning that took me a bit to work out. I'll look into this for sure. Thanks! Ian
  20. Hi TJR The advice around a brick reduction chamber is very sound, in fact I received very similar advice from my father who although has a different core medium (casts bronze sculpture through the lost wax process) feels that I could use fire brick to increase the size of both my kiln and my reduction chamber. And because I am using a 500,000 BTU torch I should still be able to reach upwards of 1850F given the correct exhaust size. Taking on a project like that would be very exciting and I would love the learning I would get, but my backyard is also a playground for my children and the permeancy and real estate required for a brick kiln or reduction chamber would more than my lovely wife would be willing to give. Great ideas are fantastic. All advice I get I very much appreciate as I work somewhat in a vacuum, and I haven’t really done ceramics since I left college 25 or so years ago. Thank you again! Ian
  21. Hi oldlady, Thanks for the suggestion I will try inverting the container next time, I had not thought of that as a solution. I did struggle a fair amount trying to get the “right†reduction chamber, the most I found we not large enough in circumference to fit the work. I did use a smaller container for my test run which I used some thrown wear, and it worked fairly well. I don’t like having to lift the pieces up and over the higher wall height of the reduction chamber I am using, and the solution you have provided would remedy that. Thanks. Ian
  22. Hi All, I received some great advice from the members of this forum for my first Raku fire and wanted so show some of the results. If fired the kiln twice, once as a test with sample items and once with my work which was more successful. The video is of the second firing (although I did upload the first to YouTube as well, I learned a lot from it). It is not very long and shows the completed work at the end. I used a combination of glazes that I prepared from recipes from the internet and books as well as some pre-mixed Laguna glazes. I made the kiln from an old Paragon kiln I found for $50 off of a site similar to Craigslist. Again thanks for the great Raku Input. Ian Cook
  23. Thank you all for the terrific advice! I am using a clay that is designed for Raku, my work has gone through a proper bisque, so I will trust the clay. Thank you all again, I do appreciate the experience. Mal~
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