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About Plattypus

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  1. I am a high school ceramics teacher. We purchase all popular brand glazes both low and cone 6. I inherited several bottles of glaze that are as old as 2007. Do glazes go bad? Can having a glaze be too thick causing it to crack and fall off the bisque ware? Please advise...
  2. Would someone be so kind as to walk me through the making of colored clay preferably with already manufactured ingredients like mason stains. Some years back I tried adding the powdered stain directly into my clay body but with only minimal success... What has worked for you?
  3. I just assumed a teaching position where my predecessor purchased a white clay body for the Feb wood fire. I would prefer a darker one but cannot purchase anything new. I have a small supply of some Standard Clays... Can I use any cone 10 clay for wood fire with decent result?
  4. Thanks for your answers. I am relieved to hear them. If I understand correctly, should I consider changing the bisque cone of the clay to the cone nearest the glaze we are going to use? I could 04 the bisque for the low fire glazes and do a 4 or a 5 for the cone 6 glazes. I believe I do have the manual. I think the kiln is technically a "glass" kiln based on other conversations I've had with Bruce Dehnert from Peter's Valley here in NJ. I have fired my kiln as hot as cone 10 but only one time (turned out it was a mistake on my part but it did bend the cone)
  5. Standard also has beautiful glazes that are well suited for their clays. I would recommend Standard glazes for Standard clay. Before your purchases ask which glazes contain zinc (which can affect your underglazes if you are using any). Straight firing of bisque and gloss isn't ‘rough’ on a kiln. Your clay has a large firing range so I recommend testing to see what happens with your chosen glazes. Cone 04 bisque is a norm but check with Standard about the recommended bisque firing temperature of their clays. Maturation point of the glaze should coincide or correspond to the maturation point of the clay. You can get some beautiful glaze results at Cone 5. If a kiln is rated as such it can be fired high and/or low. Do you have the kiln manual?
  6. I teach Middle School Art. For years I used Amaco clay without much satisfaction. A couple of years ago I switched to a Standard clay because my High School Ceramics colleague was using it. Standard #306 I believe that it's range is 4-10. We have been bisque firing it still at cone 04 as we had done in the past... many of the glazes we use direct that (and I figured my colleague knew better than me) Last year I purchase some cone 6 glazes and much prefer their effects. My colleague doesn't want to fire in this range due to the increase in kiln deterioration. I read the recent posts on firing and now understand what the pinging is about... Since my clay order for next year has been placed and is still the standard 306, to what cone should I bisque and which glaze temps are best? The majority of my glazes are 06-05. Can someone recommend a best case scenario for my situation? AND do you have another recommendation for future years? I would prefer a warm color clay body, would like nice interesting surfaces and can't afford to be to too rough on my kilns... the only control I have for the kiln is time and/or the Dawson kiln sitter.
  7. I have an old Creative Industries MP wheel... must've bought around 1986 or so... direct from their factory... I drove down from L.A. and went and picked it up in El Cajon. I don't recall it even coming with an owner's manual back then, if it did... I don't have it anymore. I know that when I bought it Kenton Oakes had just recently purchased the company from the original owner, and they were just beginning to get their feet wet in the business. Recently, late last year I believe... Kenton sold the company to "Speedball" and they make the wheels now. I don't know what their customer service is like yet, but I suppose it will be interesting to see going forward. Have you tried contacting them yet? Sorry I couldn't be more help... good luck refurbishing your wheel. - Ken Wow! That was a year ago already... I think I still have it if you think it would be of use. It doesn't say a whole lot. I don't know if it helped Mickey or not. Let me know, Tracey
  8. I agree hhmmm. I read the wiki.. (mostly). I didn't see mention of a scientific study. Did I miss it? If you don't use milk in your tea do you really have anything to worry about? the tannin from the tea shouldn't be a problem (to my mind)... If there was another source for that study would you kindly post it?
  9. Hello All, I have been told that Raku ware is really not to be used for food and drink. My clay is bisque fired to 04 and then we fire it in a gas out door kiln, transfer to buckets of straw, then douse in H20. My question is; is it really a bad idea to use the mugs for coffee? What do you think might happen if I was to re-fire the raku piece in our electric kiln with an 05 clear glaze? Would it change the raku finish? Would it make it usable for drinking? Please advise.
  10. Hello All, I have been having some issues with the star stilts and another brand stilt... forgotten the brand just now. When firing at cone 5 glaze, an occasional metal tine fails (suddenly bend) and a piece will fall over and stick to another one. Also I have had some instances where the ceramic stilts are coming out slightly stuck into a foot which is unglazed... these are both new things... they never used to happen before. Any ideas? Do they have a shelf life and weaken over time?
  11. hhmmm... not we're not. I'm guess we should be.. thanks
  12. Hi Chris, thanks for that suggestion. These are glazes I am buying in liquid form from Sheffield. Any thoughts on how to translate those percentages from dry weight to a liquid measurement?
  13. Hello fellow enthusiasts, two questions: My Middle school students are using Amaco wax resist when glazing. The various glazes tend to only partially roll off after we dip or pour. Some times it is applied on an under-glazed design, in addition to the foot. In either case, we often need to wipe quite a bit of the glaze away with a sponge because the resist is not completely effective but when the design is delicate the kids often have trouble getting it off the design without marring the rest of the surface. Any ideas on how to remedy this? Should the under-glaze be rubbed with a finger? I seem to have a memory of doing that but don't know why. My other question is about glaze consistency. Middle schoolers have great difficulty in brushing glaze effectively so I transfer all of my glazes to lidded buckets from which we dip and pour. A few of my glazes get such a thick residue on the bottom that even my electric drill can't cut through it. I end up removing the liquid, cutting through the sludge with a knife and then slowly blending the liquid back in. With one of them, Dry Champagne, I have to do that every couple of days or the kids can't use it. Any ideas why this is happening and is there anything I can do to stop it?
  14. You raise a good point, Username. I meant the former in my post but I must admit that the latter is sometimes true. I haven't been working much and am trying to get back to it... Many of the pieces I trim belong to Middle School students using the wheel for the first time so my memory may be mixing with those. In general though, I think I have both issues. Thanks for your post.. it is not too often when surgery and the tonsorial arts are mentioned when I discuss pottery. Thanks for the chuckle and the advice :-)
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