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  1. I see this as a balance between manufacturing, marketing and creativity. If you set it as a 3 point graph, you might find personal success anywhere between the 3. If you judge by monetary success, you're probably leaning towards manufacture. Works for some. For me, it's all about the opportunity to be creative. I'm down to 2 wholesale accounts only and plan to do no further retail. My pots are constantly changing, new ideas in every load. That's what works for me.
  2. I take it this purpose is only to last for a few firings. As cheaply as possible. So my comments don't apply much to this particular conversation. My home built fiber downdraft is 20 years old with 60+ firings. Otherwise, I disapprove of the concept of fiber as a hot face. As Babs said, fiber gets fragile and it's really delicate at that point, any bump will disturb it. The coatings don't work well over time as they shrink at a different rate than the fiber. Looks like I'm going to have to replace the lid sometime soon. It's 12 inch modules, super insulating, but they are shrinking away from each other leaving gaps for the heat to work on the supporting structure. Last firing a module moved down half inch and grabbed a pot. Ouch. Best use of ceramic fiber is backup material, I think. Thanks Mark for the Ebay link.
  3. Don't do anything in the cool part of the day that you could do in the heat, such as check this forum, run to the hardware store, etc.
  4. I start early and end early. Even if it's 100 degrees in the day, the mornings are like 65 here. Also extensive use of plastic bags and towels. Especially for hand building where there may be multiple slabs joined by slip.
  5. We're assuming it's not a kitchenware piece. I wouldn't want a crack on the rim of a mug, for instance. I'm liking the products from Starbond. They're like super glue, but come in varying thicknesses and colors. They also have an accelerant to speed curing. For a hairline crack, you'd be looking at something that would wick into the crack. I've used a lot of JB Weld's products. They have a variety called Wood Weld that is almost the color of reduced Soldate 60, say a middle clay color. Regular JB Weld is dark gray and difficult to color. A lighter epoxy can be easily colored to match. Epoxy is best when you're filling a gap.
  6. Melted styrofoam, vasoline, or any other traditional release will leave some residue on the clay. No big deal, unless you want to do any additional joinery. Seriously, the plastic wrap is the way to go. It doesn't even have to be neat. Even if there are a bunch of folds, there still isn't enough thickness to leave much of a mark.
  7. I'm making about half my better pot production using hump molds now. Using Hot Wire Foam Factory products I custom make round and oval styrofoam hump molds in pretty much any size I want. They can be finished with a cement like product from them or even hydrocal. I cover the styrofoam mold with plastic food wrap before applying the clay slab. It's so thin it doesn't leave any texture to the inside of the pot. The mold then just lifts right out of the fresh wet pot. Any touch up is easy at that point, you're not dealing with a leather or harder pot. The nice thing about a hump mold is that the pot can be completely finished in one go, feet, rim, whatever. Just depends on what you're trying to make, but for my purposes, I think this is ideal
  8. Or if you throw and trim a lot. Say leave 1" thick base for trimmed feet plus bottom.
  9. That's the great thing about ceramics. There's always another trial to run. When you get the hang of predicting the glaze result by thickness applied, move on to glaze over glaze. Some of them are really cranky.
  10. It's not that I'm adding water, it's how much. It's way too wet (soft) to work. . Clay will naturally lose water, even in the plastic bag. The aging process is what makes really nice clay. I don't know exactly what is going on with recycling clay and the condition you describe and I have observed myself. I don't know that it really is "short", but that's the best description I have. The process of adding extra water to the recycle and then letting it age to the desired firmness is the only way I have found to overcome this cracking. The upside is that clay processed this way is really good.
  11. I get this same problem, and for me it isn't the fines. The only way I have found to get around this is to use extra water and let the clay age to the correct softness.
  12. Yes, I was using the snap on adaptor screw bucket lids and they aren't worth the time. When you pour glaze out of the bucket, you're pouring across the threads. In San Diego, I'm getting the good buckets from a local distributor, but looking at the bottom of the bucket, the manufacturer is M&M Industries and their website is ultimatepail.com If you do have throw away buckets, be sure to salvage the wire handle.
  13. I can get a homogenized clay from pieces too dry to wedge any other way by beating on them with a rolling pin. Sort of like slam wedging. I call it forge wedging. Kind of like forging steel. Dryer clay like that will give up some interesting textures naturally when run through the slab roller, especially on the edges.
  14. It's all about scale, isn't it? I would question whether a more efficient use of human power could be had than basic wedging. If you scale it down to 10lbs +\- , ok. If you scale it up to my PP30 with 40lb output, good luck. Various oriental potters use foot wedging. I know they have water driven machines etc for grinding, but I think not wedging. Always look to history.
  15. You should see an actual motorized pugmill in operation to get an idea what kind of work is really being accomplished. Without looking, I'd guess a moderate pugmill has a 3 HP motor with a substantial gear reduction. Arnold in his prime couldn't crank that by hand.
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