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CactusPots

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Everything posted by CactusPots

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. There are screw lids for 5 gallon buckets that come in 2 pieces. One piece with the threads attaches permanently to the bucket and the lid part screws into that. Don't like them because pouring the glaze out of the bucket goes into the threads. The buckets I have now I really like, but the handles are all plastic. The bucket is staying soft, but the handle seems to be a cheaper plastic and gets hard and breaks. Just what you want when you pick up a full bucket. I will try to remove a wire handle from an old bucket. I'm thinking about the garden hose idea. I think that might be the
  4. Even if you live in a frost free area, you still can't buy wax products in the winter. The dealers simply won't ship then. Make sure you have a supply by fall.
  5. Got to thank Mark for the recommendation for the crystal wax. Might even be better for my application than his. I'm applying wax with a brush super heavy over high variation texture. Think of tree bark. The crystal wax has a really high surface tension, so first off, it stays on a really loaded brush very well and lays a complicated line nicely. Second, it pulls into the deep texture and leaves the high points with a thin coating. When I dip a glaze, the heavy load in the valleys keeps the glaze from loading up. Didn't know if I would like it, but based on Mark's recommendation
  6. Yeah, see that push down lid is the problem for me. It doesn't seal very well and can be a real problem to pull up when your hands hurt. Plus, like I said, the glazes don't live very well without a good seal. Free is not always a good deal and wisdom is knowing when that is so. I guess the conventional wisdom is to not spend $7 on a bucket. Problem is, 5 gallons of glaze can easily be worth more than $7. Yeah, it can be reclaimed. Not easily if it lost all the water. Maybe I'm the only one that thinks glazes need to be able to sit for 3 or 4 months without deteriorating. If I
  7. I have an excellent 5 gallon bucket. It has a screw lid with the threads on the outside of the bucket. They are relatively expensive, but well worth the effort. The glazes don't dry out, even the splashes on the inside stay moist for the 3 months between firings. Only problem is the handle. I don't know if it's the same plastic, but they get hard and break. My test for bucket life is to flex the rim of the bucket. Any cracks or noises indicate the end of the bucket life. In regular buckets, Home Depot is pretty good life, but Lowe's blue buckets are not. Anyone have a trick idea
  8. I don't own or anticipate acquiring a Brent wheel, so really, I have no horse in this race. It's pretty common opinion that the Brent wheel is the noisiest. I get that there is considerable user loyalty to the Brent and it has no doubt earned it. I also get that you become accustomed and comforted by the familiar. I guess if I ever have the opportunity to talk to an electrical engineer, I might get a straight answer to my question.
  9. What is the deal with Brent wheels, anyway? Are they just cheap motors? Does the variable speed pedal cause the hum? I don't know of any other electric motors that make an unacceptable hum. Listening closely to my bandsaw or table saw, I don't hear that kind of noise. My Pacifica certainly does not.
  10. More likely to get closed either by the health dept or their insurance carrier than for them to clean up. Some people's creative process seems to require lack of attention to background noise like cleaning up after themselves. The way I dealt with it was to limit my time to essentials and to enjoy it for what it is, not what it isn't. I'm sure you're already doing that. Best thing is to work in off hours if you can. I do miss certain parts of the communal studio experience. Not enough to choose it over my own place.
  11. Here's an interesting YT video about what constitutes a repair worthy soft brick. Actually quite calming for me.
  12. I did my initial learning in a studio just like that. I referred to it as "Anarchy Central". One of the instructors always wore a mask inside. She was the only one who ever did. My advice would be to learn the basics from the undoubtedly good potters there and make a commitment to establish your own studio. If you find a product you enjoy making and can develop a market, keep reinvesting the sales back into the venture. The problem of course with Southern California is buying a property to work with. I didn't start ceramics until I bought my first home. Still, ceramics can b
  13. Everything will alter the crackle/crawl glazes. Dipping, brushing, pouring, applying with a baster. Thickness of glaze is critical. Thickness, cone firing of bisque, cleanliness of bisque. My opinion is they are cool if you can accept inconsistency in final results. The best will be really good and the worst will not even be acceptable by my loose standards. You should see some separation as soon as the glaze is dry, but too much and the firing may cause the platelets to separate from the pot. Stalactites are no good. I have used a lot of Coleman's shino crawl and curre
  14. I always describe cones as measuring temperature and time the way a speedometer measures speed and distance. If there was a meter that measured heat work that way, that might be useful, but otherwise the thermocouple probe itself is only giving half the information. I suppose with a programmable controller on a newer electric kiln, you guess the controller is doing this for you if you use their cone fire program. My question would be if anyone has actually verified the programmed climb rate and temperature against cone packs. How close is it to expectations? Dead on at cone 6? I
  15. If you were casting a plaster wedging table, the thing to do would be to cast in a piece of expanded metal. Used mostly for lath and plaster, I think, it's like chicken wire or hardware cloth, but more metal, less space. Be like rebar in concrete on steroids. My wedging table is still solid after 25 years and maybe 2" thick. Well supported also.
  16. I have an excellent local supplier, but lately I've been ordering more stuff remotely. Got very good service from Seattle Pottery on some crystal wax and where shipping isn't a killer from Bailey. I'm in So Cal, so my clay comes from Laguna through my local guy. Don't want to ship that. Especially with the increases in price in the last year or so. Soldate 60 has gone from 12 to 16 per box. Ouch. From what I hear, Laguna isn't such a treat to deal with directly.
  17. I've used a couple of Smooth On products for building plaster press molds. One thing I've learned is to plan to use the entire batch you buy. Once opened, there's a shelf life as described in the product descriptions. Very complicated to calculate volume needed for some projects. Since I'm only building a 2 dimensional form, as opposed to a 3 dimensional model, I've gone to multiple layers of latex.
  18. Personally, I like canvas over plaster, but I doubt if anyone here has my advantage of working outside year round. My studio is mostly open and under a covered patio. The dirt road I live on puts more dust on our cars than builds up in my not very well maintained studio. I believe air flow is better than filtration if you can do it.
  19. When I see really radical glazes from gallery/ museum potters i.e. Brother Thomas, Chun Wen Wang, I always suspect multiple firings.
  20. I make planters primarily for cactus and succulent collectors. So my molds are mostly round or oval. From about a cereal bowl up to a wash basin in size. Other techniques for other shapes. Panty hose would work ok for smaller pieces. I tried a fabric called "4 way stretch" from a basic fabric shop. It moves like panty hose fabric, but you can get it in yard lengths. It works ok if you can pull it tight and pin it securely to the mold. I have it on a large round styrofoam mold with lots of thumb tacks. Too hard to get all the creases out on anything but a round mold. It does w
  21. I've been using a layer of plastic food cling wrap as a release agent on my hump molds. The super thin plastic leaves no impression apparent to me on the clay. It sticks to the clay but releases without issue from the mold itself. This technique really perfects hump molds IMO. I can form the body, add feet, textures, and a rim, immediately turn it over, remove the mold and finish the inside. Cling wrap is available in 18 inch widths.
  22. I'm going to add a third leg to Hulk's continuum. You could be anywhere between the 3 legs. A studio potter in my estimation, is closer to a artist in that they may not be concerned with volume the way a production factory is. It's harder to use the "hobby" label on serious studio featuring all the necessary tools and a 20+ year investment in time. There are lots of reasons why the income from the process may not be required for necessities, not related at all to lack of skill or dedication. In My Opinion (since I'm not one), a production potter is in fact limited in the amount o
  23. I think that is THE RIO available now. The Spanish RIO is generally not available anymore I believe. The stuff they are calling natural is what I was getting as brown iron oxide.
  24. I hate to even ask, as my materials storage is really full. I did think I had every available raw glaze ingredient, now you ask for synthetic red iron oxide. O Well. It's not even on Baileys or Laguna catalog. Where to get? I assume it's more "powerful" than red or even black iron oxide. Is that the difference? Is there a substitution ratio? What difference would I see if I ran tests between RIO and synthetic? For that matter Bone Ash and the synthetic? Just More Better?
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