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Beggs n Achin

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  1. I'm wondering if I have maybe 2 levels of alumina in the 2 different clay locations on my property then? Bc I have the one half glazed bowl that made it, I posted at the beginning of this thread, and a bunch if little teacups that made it. There are 2 locations Im working with- 1 is very pure, dug from 3 ft down w a backhoe. That one dries very quickly, grey. And the other is higher up on the hill, yellow or gray, and that was the stuff I had to seive. More pliable and doesnt dry as fast. Seems to stay tan in color when it dries, whereas the other has that green tint to it. This is all very helpful info. I'm learning so much. It's fascinating. I've almost burned through all the pieces on the shelf that were not gonna make it anyway Just a few pieces left, a teapot and an oil lamp. I kinda liked those. Oh well.
  2. That is very cool about the brick kiln. The guy who ran the museum here in town knew some information personally about the brick manufacturer here, but there was surprisingly little info to be gleaned. He did point us to the place where all of the clay was dug out, which set me goin bc it is the same as ours, only a mile or two away. Maybe I can find more at the local library. There has been little info there too, as far as firing without an actual kiln. Am finding that these Youtube videos with primitive pottery aren't as simple as it looks lol. Unless they all have really great clay there. They just find clay, slap it together , and burn it. Then have these wonderful primitive pots that they are carrying around like Joe Nature, watering their wild harvested plants with it. lol The Natives here wintered here and went to the mountains in summer. So they wove watertight baskets as far as I can tell, and did not use the clay here, except maybe for chinking gaps in the longhouses. I haven't thanked you, and everybody that posted here, for your input.and letting me pick your brains, so thank you. Is there a book that explains this alumina ratio thing that I can set down and study foe a while... how to mix recipes or something? Bc at some point I may be able to fire hotter outside or maybe get a kiln- if I have to. lol. Although I shy away from modern ways-learning how to do lost skills is kind of my hobby. A way to become less dependent in a world that literally could come to a screeching stop economically and technologically. And won't that change in firing temps mean adjusting the recipe? The college here teaches throwing a pre-prepared clay, and firing it in a kiln. In high school my arts and craft teacher dug ask what else he did to it. But anyways, this alumina business. It may be finally sinking into my head, am starting to grasp it. Even though I'm holding another little cup in my hand pulles from the woodstove from.last night that... looks (deceptively) like it's fired. This batch was from the other side of my hill and was seived. These little cups, I have 3 of them so far that are holding up and I scoop water in my aquaponics w them for now. This stuff don't play by the rules lol Urf. Tried to upload its pic amd the page is telli g me I'm only allowed so many mb or somethimg again... Oh well, I guess it's not the end of the world. lol
  3. Hubs was commenting, before I read him this post, that the little piece I had fired that glowed white/yellow, reminded him of aluminum ore. And he also had read (bc he is the one that reads geology books for fun and rock hounds in our driveway) that the Willapa Hills where we are were a big source of aluminum ore, but that it was "dirty", or impure like our coal. Therefore it was cheaper to get aluminum elsewhere, and now we ship in our coal as well bc it is actually cheaper to ship it in than to pay to process it here. Then... I'm reading in this pdf study here (again) about the brick company that used to be here in Chehalis, and the description of the sample, that sure sounds like what I've got here , pg 186, and it describes them digging it out of the hillside and using it "run of pit" or mixed w more clay or sand to make it less goopy, or less sandy... does that mean they dig it out and used it? I would be ok with a brick-lookin soap dish, if it didn't break when it absorbed water... My chimney is made from those same bricks, as are a lot of the buildings here.... yet my clay breaks when it gets wet. I'm not tryin to argue, I'm just tryin to understand. Hubs just keeps reading the study and giving the same answer: "Our clay is brick clay" They made bricks at that factory and also drain tile. I did note that they used coal for fuel, however. It did not specify how long the bricks were fired. On.pg 176 of the study, 1960 to 2165 degrees is the cone temp range given for the clays that are real close to where I'm at, as well. According to this chart http://www.bigceramicstore.com/info/ceramics/maxcone.html. Also, the brick factory clay sample , pg 187 is listed as cone range 04 to 8, 1915 to 2212 degrees... per that chart. I hope I'm doing that right. So... I'm looking at this chart from this primitive pottery book... and this page amazingly let me upload it today... and it's fuzzy, doggone it... if I'm reaching a dull red, this primitive pottery book says I'm reaching at least 1300 (in my wood stove. I know. Totally unsafe and not designed for that. It's amazing I'm still alive. lol) but higher than that nc we are goi g into the glowing bright orange stage w the bowls and cups. Only that tiny piece I did went yellow- it was the size of an arrowhead. Then I'm reading on this page.... https://www.ceramics.net/custom-ceramics-manufacturing/technical-firing alumina fires at 2850- 3100. So do the temperatures by color in this old book of mine not apply then? Why would it glow orange and at what temps? Urf.... For reference, the book is here- https://www.amazon.com/Make-Primitive-Pottery-Evard-Gibby/dp/0943604389/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?keywords=primitive+pottery&qid=1551435498&s=books&sr=1-1 Ugh. I need a thermometer. And will get the other ingredients. And mash things and burn things. We have about 4 slag piles from where the former owners of our place logged. We have been pulling the sticks from there for firewood, as they are all dry. The water pressure here is not sufficient for me to feel comfortable doing a big burn on those piles and keep it under control so we use it in the house and it is dry and burns HOT. Heats the house very well. So that's why it gets so hot in that stove. I'm rattling on, sorry. Brain is crankin on this problem that exceeds my smartness. Hubs told me I won't be able to fire this clay and so now I have to. lol
  4. Portland is actually closer, I think bc of traffic. And in the meantime, I'm burning the useless shelf full.of fun stuff I did. Smashing thi.gs releives a bit if the frustration. What I don't understand also... my well is a spring fed well and we have iron water from all the iron here in the ground, and also the creek water here (where the clay was) is also yellow. And the culprit is aluminum? I know I'm being dumb here, but... ah well. I have an aunt who offered me her gas kiln, but I had no way to haul the heavy thing home. She lived in Shelton, WA on a creek as well, and dug out clay from the creek and hillside by her house and fired it and glazed it in her kiln. Shelton is very close to the bay, there are oyster beds there and mud flats on the bay that you have to be careful about bc they swallow things. I was hoping to.follow in her stead. She only had the advice to.give me to seive the clay and make the piece as thin as possible. She must have gotten lucky with her clay. That would be Mason County. I'm watching this little bowl and cup in the stove glow orange and it's torture. lol
  5. Yes, I was watching the stove very closely and the one piece that glowed that hot was a very small, 2 inch, thin piece and I took it out and let it cool, spread the fire put some and let some heat out. lol I never expected it to glow that color. lol And... that piece still broke the next day. My brain is fried tryin to figure out how I can rip on it after it cools, TRYING to break it... it does not break so it fools me into thinking I finally got it... then the next day I'm holding it in my hand, and snap.... No water was added, either. Urf. I will try the additive listed above and see what that does. I sold a pig today but that went to feed. So when I sell more pigs.
  6. Link to.study. It is Lewis County, if that helps. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.dnr.wa.gov/Publications/ger_b24_clay_shales_wa_1.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwjk56nnr93gAhVVpZ4KHT7SDAAQFjACegQIARAB&usg=AOvVaw2qzUrkj9BecVPni4eR02O2&cshid=1551320749011 I think the green color is lighting. That clay is kind.of.tan, brown, or yellow to orange due to iron. The stuff deep in the ground is all grey and dries really fast. And disregard my gloating aboit finally firi g a.puece. I just broke my stupid soap dish. It just took a while.of bei g wxposed.tomwater this time before it weakened. It looms like a brick. Sounds like a brick... Urfh.
  7. K, having technical difficulties. It is only allowing me to upload one picture. Ever. In any posts. Or the whole page. If you are really bored, I have been uploading pics to my farm.blog.page. fb.me/pleasantvalleyroadchehalis And I have a very long, boring video on Youtube regarding my last firing at And if this is all just too neurotic.and self absorbed... y'all gotta tell me, bc I'm just.over here dissectimg stuff w my brain and I won't even know if y'all think I'm an idiot bc... I'm still tryin research and learn stuff. lol
  8. Ok, an update. Maybe y'all can let me pick yer brain some more. Pictured below is the brick kiln I started working on. There is some fire brick in there at the bottom, but that got expensive quick, hence the red bricks. I figured.... my 100 yr old house chimney is red brick and it's been doin fine for 100 years....? 40 cents is a lot easier to replace than $2 and a half each. This kiln is much smaller, as suggested above. BUT it still needs reworked bc apparently the burn chamber where I put the wood is too tiny and needs more air flow. It's snowing right now so... that project is on hold again. Meanwhile, back inside with the wood stove. I know. I'm stubborn. It's warmer inside. lol. So... I have a whole shelf of (ware?- learning terminology) I made up, of what you see in the thread above. Probly gonna blow up. It was the batch I dug from the ground and picked thepugh it w my fingers, amd them wedged it down and worked with it. I was impatient, and now. I'm payin that piper for it. lol. Little pebbles in there, I want to say half the size of a lentil seed... not as small as sand... exploding. Not all of them. Fired pieces still show little quartzite chunks and the occassional basalt type thing in there. But some.of it has survived. So I went back to that same place and dug up some more, mixed it with a drill and paint mixer, let it set in front of the wood stove a few weeks in a bucket, then wedged it and mixed in about 10 percent or so of temper or grog, which consisted of smashed up, old fired pieces of the same clay that didn't make it. I made a few pieces w that, and fired them in my wood stove again, and that is the soap dish pictured here. When tapped, it makea that distinctive "chink" sound, just like the red bricks I bought at Home Depot to make my outside kiln. I left the piece in water overnight, and it didn't break, dissolve, or leak. So I'm having "some" success using the indoors wood stove, using the same clay I sieves and processed more. I'm also usi g a saggar that is one of the first bowls I made of the stuff that had little rocks in it. It is a little u der half an inch thick vs the pieces I put in it, which were 1/4" or less thick. One pendant, I stuffed it in the hot coals and fire and at one point it went past glowing orange, red, to yellow/white- then I removes it with tongs and it cooled quickly to orange and then dull red again. Also, I found another, what looks like more pure, clay deposit on the other side of my property, also on a hillside... Grey, lovely clay. 3 ft down. A backhoe unearthed it when hubs was replacing water pipe. I (impatient again) grabbed some and worked it without sieving it, and fired up some atuff with it right away in the wood stove. It dries REALLY fast, like a more kaolinite clay would, but looks like the stuff I have already been working with, and fires to a terra cotta color. That was the stuff that glowed yellow/white. Looked like a metal foundry or glass blowing. lol Huns swears this purer stuff is bentonite... near as I can tell, our geology here would give us a (Schmechtite? Spelling...) clay, of which bentonite is one kind. Hubs is the geology guy. I'm reading a study put put in conjuncrion w the state and the mining industry in 1941 and trying to figure out all of these terms and numbers. The study says pur clay banks are alluvial, put here by the omd river bank now far from here. I mention the color in firing, bc my folks found me 2 books on Amazon about primitive pottery, and one of them lists a chart w the colors if the pottery when it is cooking, gives an approximate temperature range, and what chemical changes are going on at that time. I actually found that very useful. I think... Also useful, was the information, that in primitive pottery, the actual firing process can take as little as 20 minutes. It's kind of surreal to me, and fascinating, and I am dying to know why... a cup will not fire one time, and I can take the same clay and seive it, and it will fire and make at least terra cotta or brick-like something, that is tough and durable, lightweight, and I can hold a cup of water in it. That just trips me out. lol I have also gotten the process down where I heat the wares up on top of the wood stove in a metal bowl sitting on a metal trivet (so it is not in direct contact w the metal stovetop and crack), until it is too hot to touch. Then I take gloves and metal tool and put either the saggar w small pieces in it, or the coffee cup I had warming... into the coals in the fire and add more small pieces on top. Ironically, the saggar has been through several fires now and still... it makes the dead thunk and no "chink" sound. And I can tell by pushing on it that it wouldn't take much to break it, too. I have a failed coffee cup in the same condition setting in my kitchen sink right now, too... leaking water everywhere. It's weak and will break... yet I grabbed it out of the fire by its cracked handle. Same clay. More rocks. I don't get it. But I'm getting somewhere. We visited the local historical museum today as well. I was looking at Native artifacts, looking for evidence that they used the clays in this area and found only woven baskets, and tools made from rock. Apparently, they coomed with hot rocks placed in baskets or wooden boxes of water...not clay pots. I also found what I had read about this area, historically, that a brick making factory was here, and there were samples of bricks from several of the historical writings, one very early one written with directional markers on it in Chinese. So the white man used the clay here for bricks. The Natives, maybe not so much. But they were nomadic and moved back.and forth between the mountains and here. Baskets would have been lighter to transport than clay. Urf. So the search continues. So.far I have a very nice soap dish, a couple Asian teacup type things, and some pendants and beads. That have not cracked and/or refused to fire.
  9. I was thinking this design on my existing firepit. Similar to what I already had going, but more vertical It seems the idea is to close off the area where pottery is, but do not close off the fire. Is this correct? This also seems like this fire would need a lot of ongoing babysitting, shoving little sticks in there every hour. And these primitive pottery videos don't tell you how long to leave the stuff in the fire. The Natives and their pit fires lasted a whole day into the night, but this setup is more like a rocket stove, that gets much higher temps bc of its really good air flow at the bottom . I have actually built a little 2 ft tall clay rocket stove in my kitchen once and vented out the window (the stove broke and we were broke, too). It was 4 inches wide or so... I cooked dinner in a cast iron skillet on top of it, using nothing but little twigs. Note to self: Use bone dry wood, unleas ypu lime smoke. Yuck. They call it a rocket stove bc the terrific draft and using small sticks creates a flame shooting up out of the top that looks like a rocket. Very hot, efficient fire.
  10. Interesting.. I'm still rollin stuff around in my brain now... lol I need to be.done building cow fence and get back to clay. lol I will never be done w fence. 13 acres of fence w cross fencing....ugh. Ok, about the kiln idea up here in the hillside or kiln built w dirt, tube kiln... Let me attach a couple pictures, see if I was close, bc I think I may have been (has since been torn down and is now just a fire pit for bc it was reduced to a collapsed mud pile while on fire, during one rainstorm- it rains sheets of rain sideways, here) - yes, its ugly as sin. I had mentioned above we had tried this kiln thing, and the weather attacked it before I could get it to fire pottery. Or finish firing itself. It got hardened, I could punch it with my fist, but then the rain was right back at it. Sigh... Couldn't get hot enough, heat was being used up keeping the actual kiln itself dry. But I haven't given up on that bad boy yet, just throwing a cup in the woodstove for now once in a while w wishful thinking, since I'm burning the wood anyways. And it IS wishful thinking. I pulled out another cup this morning that was nice and orange on the outside, but I know on the inside it is barely bisqued... and I saw it glowing nicely red all over. It's frustrating to see that... And I have 2 batches of clay that was screened, evaporating the water out in front of the wood stove. First pic hete is the mud/straw kiln over top that 3 ft deep pit. Not finished yet in the pic, but I had a good 4 to 6 inches thick all over on the sides, a little thinner on top, and that wire supported it. Pieces sitting on the metal rack. Second pic is that sketch that was posted up above, here, that I drew on to try to explain what that kiln was, bc it looks very close to what was described here. It had several issues aside from all the blasted rain and wind here. If that is close, then I won't start a brand new one, but will rebuild that one to be better. Problems with it were... 3 ft pit underneath it. It got plenty hot, the shiny, half glazed bowl in the above pics... came from that fire. I made terra cotta all the way through in that pit. Pieces were on a rack 3 ft above the fire w the wind howling in around the sheet metal I plugged the front with. Back smoking really bad out the front, and very little going up the chimney. Also, when I blocked up the front with mud globs, it made the fire die out. The fire was kind of like this pic, which also resembles a Dakota fire, and also a rocket stove. All these are kind of the same shape and same idea. A Dakota fire is a hole dug in the ground to protect it from wind, w an air inlet hole dug out sideways to feed it. We also dug a smaller, shallow pit beside this one, put a saggar (big terra cotta flower pot) over the piece, and covered it all w sheet metal to protect from the weather, coals and fire all over the thing... It broke the saggar... didn't fire the piece. Lots of smoke, lots of struggling with weather. Urf. I tore that one down and challed it up.as another failure after 3 tries. So I have filled in the 3 ft hole in this pictured firepit here, and now I'm gonna just do a vertical tube upward from the ground, probly w fire brick bc it won't melt... and hu s is tires.of messin w mud. He was belly achin the whole time jow it was gonna fail, anyways. I will keep the existing rack in there, and have my fire up closer to the rack. And mud in bricks at the front opening, hoping the fire wont die when I cut off the air. That hole is also about 3 ft wide, too. The weather is behaving a little better after December. We get clear, calm days now, instead of mini hurricanes. I tarp the thing when it's not hot. Someday will have a pretty gazebo there to roast marshmallows in. Someday. After the fence.
  11. I'm breaking off the cup handles when I am done firing them, or I moved a piece of wood around. So it will look like it's done, I pull it out.of the now cool woodstove, and the handle breaks off. Ya, this woodstove isn't gonna do it. Sigh... Have to build fence before I can build a kiln again- this time, no pit. Too many breaking things involved in that pit. But I'm close, I know if I can get that heat, I will have a primitive form of pottery, and then I can improve from there. I'm actually ok with imperfections at this point, going for the whole primitive thing. All this info is very helpful, thank you. Our local college here only does manufactured clay classes with a kiln, and the pottery shop here ships in premade pottery for painting.
  12. That was a clear, low fire glaze, one of my first bowls. I have been watching all the primitive pottery videos all over Youtube. I think I'm really close to getting it, and I think you are right about the temps. The mud kiln outside that I built was too big, I think. I had the fire to far down in the ground to the pottery up above it. There is one video where the guy builds a cylinder, basically a rocket drive out of mud. I was going for that kind of, and I got the temps at first, but it was very hard to build the fire down in that pit and keep the heat in. It was a skinny, deep pit vs a wide shallow pit. Our weather was very blustery and rainy at the time and I thought that would help with losing heat, but it did not, and the rain melted my clay kiln faster than it could fire... Can't put a tarp over something that is still burning. I'm still limping along with my current wood stove inside the house, but it's obvious it's not quite getting up to kiln temps. Almost, but not quite. I put in a cup made from a low fire clay from Joanns craft store last night that was from Texas... It again, glowed nice and red. Half completed the clear glaze I had on it, but uneven heating. And it broke badly. Sigh... The broken pieces showed that I got that one to terra cotta stage, however, unlike my local clay, which only seems to not quite terra cotta but mostly bisque. At least inside. I have tongo put and rework that outside kiln, maybe go smaller, like the video. My pit outside is 3 ft across, as well. One advantage I had firing in my house woodstove before at my last hoise was that I had built a cob surround with 4 inches of insulating clay around the wood stove. Not so at this new house. So that's probably why I can't seem to get the temps. It is a newer woodstove, as well, designed to not get hotter like the older ones did so it doesnt burn down your house. I should follow the rules better. I did find a pdf file about our local clay here in WA w testing and cone temps and it says this clay is only good for making bricks. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.dnr.wa.gov/Publications/ger_b24_clay_shales_wa_1.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwi5hpCh6fLfAhXMJt8KHdXXAUUQFjAJegQIBxAB&usg=AOvVaw2qzUrkj9BecVPni4eR02O2 I'm not sure how I'm able to get such plastic, workable, fine clay out of only brick clay. I'm up in my craft room making thin walled little cups less than a 1/4 inch thick. Seems to me that brick clay would fall apart at that thickness, but I'm a noob and I know nothing. Last night's fooling around w the local clay. An oil lamp, and a little cup. Experimenting how thin I can make it. I don't even glaze anymore until I can figure out how to fire it to terra cotta. Then I will fire again and glaze. This local clay has a lot of iron.
  13. I skimmed over this original post, looking for primitive pottery pit firing tips w my local clay, and I'm a noob and right away it got toooo technical for me just yet. Maybe at a later time. But for now, I have a pit dug out in my yard, some grey clay also dug from out in my yard, and I'm just tryin to figure out how the Natives did it, bc obviously the stuff lasts and lasts bc there are still pieces around from caveman days. And Mexico, Africa, India still fire pottery with fire and make it work, so....
  14. And... I don't see a way to.delete the duplicate post. Urf....
  15. 3 of the cups fired outside that handles broke off of. This camera isnt showing how orange these things are. They are a very terra.cotta.color. The shiny howl in the original post was fired in the woodstove inside and did better. Note, that it was windy and rainy in December when I tried to fire outside. It made a smoky fire and I rhonk it didnt get as hot, but I think the oitside fire heats more evenly bc it is down in the ground 3 ft. I have one more piece I'm re-firing in the woodstove right now w no glaze that was part of that batch that handles were breaking off of. It jas been glowing bright orange for an hoir or so now. That's gotta do something, right? Anybody have any tips?
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