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Everything posted by neilestrick

  1. I would go ahead and replace the entire cord, as the wires are probably not in great condition due to age and the recent event. Kiln power cords need to be rated for 105C, so you can't use the cords from the hardware store. Best to just buy one from the kiln manufacturer. If you have it hard wired, it would be best to install a fused disconnect switch by the kiln.
  2. Any type of clay will need to be fired in a kiln. You'll need to figure out what temp/cone the kiln owner is willing to fire to, and buy a slip that is made for that temp/cone. If you haven't cast slip before, unlike casting plastic, silicone, plaster, etc which set via a chemical reaction, when casting clay the plaster mold needs to be clean and porous, as the mold has to absorb water from the slip in order for it to set.
  3. My wheel and primary work table are set for standing. Occasionally I will sit on a tall stool while decorating, but for the most part I do everything while standing. Back when I set up my wheel for standing I realized just how much of my energy was going into getting up and down from a seated position. Working in a standing position I can move about more and take advantage of a larger work area instead of always moving things into and out of a small seated work area.
  4. Most clay suppliers also carry pre-mixed casting slips.
  5. I would definitely be concerned about the salts damaging the inside of the kiln. I would also be concerned about how it affects the clay. Typically, soluble materials are not wanted in a clay body. It will likely affect the workability of the clay as well as how it fires.
  6. See if you can get a post to sit mostly flush over the hole and see if it works. You can always make a plug if it doesn't work well. Most kilns are drafty enough that you don't really need to drill the holes in the lid. Dented bricks are no big deal. The breaks in the element grooves aren't a problem as long as they're small. Just put an element pin there to keep it from sagging in the hole. If the breaks are big, like over 1 1/2 - 2" or so, then you may want to replace the brick the next time you replace elements. Elements get soft when they get hot, so the bigger the break the more like
  7. I have a really difficult time throwing on the Shimpo Whisper. Turns out I use the sound of my wheel to set the speed as much or more than I use my eyes. I always though myTS/Skutt wheels were kind of noisy, but whenever I work on a Brent I realize they're not too bad! I think most wheels are kind of noisy and that's just part of their charm.
  8. The peep hole will be too big, and should be plugged when using the vent. You can make a plug out of a piece of kiln brick, or stuff it with fiber blanket. I'd make a plug, so you can remove it to help speed up cooling when needed. You can also make a plug out of clay, but make it hollow, and it would also be a good idea to mix some sawdust or flour or coffee grounds or any sort of organic material to reduce the density of the clay so it handles the uneven heating better. Bisque fire it. Then drill the small holes per the instructions that came with your vent. Depending on the size of the hole
  9. I wouldn't use any sort of metal as stilts above cone 3. Even if it can withstand the temps without melting, it will still soften up and bend. Your best bet is to make clay stilts, put a little kiln wash on the points, and leave the area they touch unglazed.
  10. @Callie Beller Diesel Set a bag of clay on a stool next to the wheel, stick a long paint brush in it, and clip the mic to it. Just make sure that no part of the setup touches the wheel so you don't get vibrations to the mic.
  11. I wonder if a little inexpensive lavalier mic held right by your hands would do the trick. You can get a basic one for $10-15 on Amazon and you could make a simple cone around it to isolate it from other sounds.
  12. Just make sure the controller you get can handle the amperage of the kiln. Some are only made with one size of relay (50 amp), others are available in specific amperages for various size kilns. It doesn't matter if the controller has a larger relay than needed, it just can't be smaller. The benefit of a 50 amp setup is that it can be used on most studio sized kilns in case you ever upgrade to a larger kiln.
  13. Floor cracks are normal. As long as they're hairline then you don't really need to worry about it. The metal stand that comes with the kiln will work just fine, especially with a small kiln like yours, however you have to make sure the kiln floor is sitting evenly on the stand. If it can rock at all then the floor will flex and be more likely to have severe cracks. Wiggle the kiln and see if it rocks, then use thin pieces of sheet metal under the feet of the stand to shim it as needed. It doesn't have to be perfectly level or anything that picky, just not rocking.
  14. 'Mason' is a brand name, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if suppliers are selling off-brand versions under the same numbers.
  15. Cone 6 porcelain is beautiful stuff, but it won't cast or handbuild or throw as nicely or easily as stoneware. A true porcelain that doesn't have any ball clay definitely won't cast as well, so I would find a recipe that has some ball clay. It'll work better in the mold and have better dry strength. All clay has a memory, but I would think that would not be an issue when casting because you're not compressing and aligning clay particles like you do when throwing and handlbuilding. Porcelain is more likely to warp than stoneware because it get so close to its melting point and softens up at the
  16. I believe all models had a belt guard, as I think it would be a major safety/liability issue to not have one. Every model I've used had them bolted to the rim of the table, see HERE.
  17. There are a lot of kilns that size, however finding one that is willing to do that kind of work for you will be difficult. If it's a full on production studio they're going to be busy with their own work. If it's a college/university you won't be able to use the facilities unless you're enrolled at the school. I would look at some of the arts programs like Penland, Carbondale Clay Center, Archie Bray Foundation, Watershed, Haystack, Arrowmont, etc. They may have some sort of short term residency you could do. Check out THIS list.
  18. I think that there just won't be enough material to have a specific/unique effect beyond whatever carbon it provides, but it's always worth testing. Let us know how it goes.
  19. You'll need to size the breaker to whatever kiln you get. The breaker must be 25% greater than the draw of the kiln. Most home-studio size kilns will need a 60 amp breaker at most, which requires #6 wire. If you get a kiln that needs a 40 amp breaker, and think you might upgrade to an even larger kiln in the future, then put in #6 wire but use the 40 amp breaker. That way if you upgrade later you don't have to run new wire.
  20. Type K are plenty accurate for most pottery work. Type S are slightly more accurate, but like Bill said, any gains in accuracy are likely going to be negated by inaccuracies within the controller itself. IMO the reason to use Type S is for longevity and durability, like when firing to cone 10 regularly or doing long, high temp holds like with crystalline glazes.
  21. We only call it flocculated if we've added a flocculant (usually Epsom salts). Mixes that suspend well on their own are not flocculated, just like mixes that settle out are not deflocculated. They only get those labels if we've altered them from their natural state.
  22. It runs on 115 volts, however it pulls 20 amps, which means it has to be on a 25 amp breaker. So not a regular outlet, as most household outlets are 15 amps, or 20 amps for some kitchen or garage circuits.
  23. I don't trust any sort of adhesive. A wire through the clay or some other mechanical system is the safest way to hang a piece. The difficult thing with tiles is that they may warp in the firing if you start adding things to the back side. Look into plate hangers that grip the piece from the edges. Only a tiny bit of the hanger is visible. It depends on the thickness and weight of the piece as to whether or not they'll work for your tiles, though. For your long tiles you could use a pair of them. You can also spray paint them black or white or whatever color to match the tile so they don't show
  24. Fluctuation is normal with a wood kiln. Up and down, up and down, up and down, every time you stoke. To climb, you stoke at the top of a rise. To hold temp, you stoke at the bottom. Smaller wood burns faster and releases heat faster. Big wood burns longer and gives a slower release of heat. The problem that can occur with burning lots of small stuff is that you create a lot of coals very quickly, and and can overload your coal bed. Bigger logs give the coal bed a chance to burn down so you don't clog up the air flow. Sometimes you need big soakers, sometimes you need fast heat. Smaller pieces
  25. You can fire a wood kiln with just about any wood. We actually fired with cottonwood in grad school- low heat output, tons of ash, and made beautiful pots if you used a high iron clay body. Different woods will certainly affect the look of the firing, and you'll have to make adjustments based on how well the wood burns and released heat, but it's all good. IMO free or cheap wood is best, regardless of the species. Flame length can easily be adjusted via primary air and damper settings, type of wood isn't really an issue for that.
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