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Posts posted by CactusPots

  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. 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. 

  4. 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.

  5. 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

    pot 6 resize.jpg

  6. 16 hours ago, Callie Beller Diesel said:

    You haven’t mentioned if you’re handbuilding or throwing. Usually it’s only common to remove the fine particles from clay via throwing. If you aren’t adding your throwing water back into your reclaim, you’re discarding all the nice slip. If you’re handbuilding, Cactuspots’ advice will be more applicable.

    Or if you throw and trim a lot.   Say leave 1" thick base for trimmed feet plus bottom.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.


  9. 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.

  10. 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.


  11. 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.

  12. 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 right track.

    Where I get the buckets and such also have a larger size about 15 gallons.  I have enough trouble storing 5 gallon buckets.  That's really my limit for glazes.  I do have a bunch of plastic lid barrels for storing bulk glaze ingredients.

  13. 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 I bought a 5 year supply (Seattle Pottery).  Good call.

  14. 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 don't use a glaze on any particular firing, that can easily be 6 months.

    Screw top buckets are the bomb.


  15. 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 for replacing bucket handles?  

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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 be done with a card table and an electric kiln.

    That studio was the UCSD Crafts Center and it did get closed down. 

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