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About CactusPots

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    Harbison Canyon

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  1. I've heard (and believe) that clay will line and water tight a pond. If I had a little more level ground, I'd want to dig a pond, screw the recycling and pugmill. Unfortunately, I live on a pretty steep canyon. I'd have to fence it in or build control to keep out the wildlife, if I wanted to stock it with anything cool. Otherwise, it would just be a wildlife magnet. Also cool.
  2. How about moving the kiln? Depending on the size of the kiln, forklift access would probably be necessary. I'd worry about damaging a used brick kiln moving it. I've never done it personally, but it seems to me like a headache. My propane kiln is much cheaper to fire than my electric kiln. Based on per cubic measurement.
  3. The vacuum gauge has an outside scale of 0 to 100, I get about 60. The inside scale is 0 to 30, about 16. I run the vacuum up while the pug mill is in mixing mode until I get that reading, then turn it off. It stays in vacuum until it's being pugged out, at which time it loses the vacuum. I've never tried to run the vacuum pump while it's being pugged. I've never had anyone teach me how to use the tool, I just figure it out as I go. I did appreciate Mark's advice on how to use the pugmill to soften clay. Works fine. Otherwise, the finished product is great and very usable right out of the machine and even better aged.
  4. Not really. I understand the vacuum chamber is not the mixing chamber. So, here's the question then. If the vacuum gauge reads the vacuum chamber and not the mixing chamber and they aren't the same, how do you know that you have a vacuum in the mixing chamber? I say, by the clay that is pulled into the vacuum chamber and no air in the clay. Here's the thing. My clay appears to me to be fully de aired. I don't wedge out bubbles, generally. I run up the vacuum while the mixing is on. The vacuum stays up while mixing. No cap. At all times the clay in the nozzle provides a better seal to the vacuum than the cap. What am I missing? Or do we not disagree?
  5. My local clay supplier, Freeform Clay, deals in used equipment and always has a good selection, if not quite give away prices. He's in National City, couth of San Diego.
  6. Now here's something I never thought of. You put the cap on to achieve vacuum? I find the clay in the barrel seals the mixing chamber completely. In fact, if I run up the vacuum and leave it for half hour, the vacuum is maintained. I thought the only purpose of the cap is to keep the end of the clay from drying out. Never cleaned it either.
  7. Some time ago I ran a melt test on my local decomposed granite. Sieved to about 60 grit, it melts evenly at cone 10 to a matt black. Obviously has a lot of iron in it. Good idea I think to run individual component melt tests. I haven't really tried anything further with it, but now that I'm turned on to the Magma product, maybe I will.
  8. The case description of barium specifically states ingestion. No mention of skin absorption. Also, the description of toxic amounts is missing. I suspect it's a pretty good amount. I live in California where every single thing has a warning label. For me it's the old Boy Who Cried Wolf. I handle barium just like any other glaze ingredient. Your mileage may vary.
  9. Have you ever heard of a documented case of barium poisoning? The only one I've ever heard of was a case of mistaking barium for for baking powder. I'm not saying reasonable precautions aren't advisable, I would like to see the data on raw barium entering the body through skin contact. Doesn't seem like we hear much about death by potter's studio.
  10. Every pot that comes out of the bisque fires gets a pencil mark of the size post required to accommodate. I try somewhat to sort according to size. Once I commit to a set of posts, I can try to cram the shelves. Helps a lot, but I don't even know how many forms I'm dealing with. Maybe 10% of my load is repeating forms. Most pots are experimental to some degree or other. It's pretty fun, but not really at glaze and load time. So cleanup's intimidating.
  11. What I learned about myself is that I can't "multi task" at all. Loading the kiln, that is, picking out the next pot, it's companion pieces, decided and executing the glaze combo, is consuming for me until I'm too tired to go any further. If I put lids on the buckets and clean brushes at the end of a session, I get a good boy from myself. Maybe half the time. Otherwise all cleanup is left for the end. Yikes. Even in a big kiln, it always comes down to 1/16"
  12. Just got a glaze fire lit. Can I ever destroy the studio in the process of glazing and loading the kiln. Every brush, every pour tub, it looks like someone picked up the building and shook it. I just figure it's my way to absently put down a tool when the next idea comes so I have to search to find it. If I was my own apprentice, I'd be screaming non stop. Oh well. Does anyone else work like this? It's a big kiln, 36cf. No consistency with regard to pots, so no actual plan to loading. Pots inside pots, no glaze on interiors. Somewhere around 125 pots total, all different sizes and shapes. It takes me a week to finish loading even with prep work like iron wash, wipe and wax done on 40 or so pieces.
  13. This might be another opportunity for me to be wrong :), but I would think the higher horsepower rating would help the motor run cooler, longer under load. How much it can center probably has more to do with the gearing than anything else. In order to get the torque from a small rated motor, they would have to use as small a drive pulley and as large a driven pulley as possible. A higher HP motor would let you use a larger drive pulley and then you'd have more flexibility regarding belts. The Pacifica 4 O ring belts are a work around because of the small drive pulley, IMO. I think the higher HP motor is always better.
  14. I figure I should get about $1 per cubic inch of glaze fire. My kiln not counting shelf thickness is 5184 ci. I box up the load at between $4500 and $5000 pretty consistently. It just gives me a starting place when I'm looking at a new design so I can judge whether it's worth making or not. Obviously, some pots take more time and materials to make than others, but I think this is a pretty valid view. Anyone else look at it this way?
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