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I need to find the best All-In-One clay for cone 5, great for both hand building and wheel throwing I know. That's a tall order. But I can dream. I have a pug mill and don't want 2 bodies. Problem: I have too many problems with my gas kiln for cone 06 anymore. I'm DONE. I am moving to cone 5. Criteria / Factors: I'm in Southern California I teach 180 high school students grades 9-12, all levels of art skills, so it has to take punishment Not too sandy on the wheel, not too smooth or squishy for hand building Not too dense so it is so top-heavy when trimming I'm willing to pug the new clay to soften it for throwing, if it is stiff and great for hand building, or visa versa Doesn't stain clothes or the tables, rolling pins, or make a mess everywhere Is not pure white (students can't see where they missed glazing spots when using light color glazes - painting) Good leather hard, doesn't soften up too easily when re-wetting to score things together Doesn't take every indentation to the surface of pieces, temperamentalD Centers on the wheel fairly easily, especially for teen girls with tiny hands Can take a good amount of water from beginners Pulling walls, it is strong, doesn't warp or sag easily Won't dry out too quickly in hands while hand building Doesn't bend or warp easily when removing from the wheel Not so soft that it caves when cutting and sliding off the wheel Doesn't make teens hate the class because it stains clothes or gets everywhere and of course, takes glazes well and can handle a little fluctuation in gas environments Cone 5 clays I've Tried: Laguna - Dover White: Nice clay, but pure white. easy to center, but A little soft when hand building Laguna - Plain (Buff): Nice light tan color, easy center and to rehydrate if repairing, but a bit too squishy and shows every dent Laguna - Moroccan Sand: I love this clay, doesn't leave residue - color, but a bit dense to center. It is really dark grayish brown, if they only could lighten it Laguna - Buff with Sand: Nice tan color, but WAY too sandy for students on the wheel Laguna - Greystone: Too dense and top heavy for small pieces, hard to center, but really takes a beating with water, warps when thin due to density of surrounding clay Laguna - Speckled Buff: A bit dark in color, has iron so it gets read everywhere, could stain (think girls with pure white vans) Laguna - LB-6: hmmm, can't remember, but nixed it very soon after Laguna - Sante Fe: OMG - red EVERYWHERE, like a crime scene Aardvark Clay - SBF - Too dark tan - a bit sticky for students Aardvark Clay -Arctic White: Too white Opinions???? Go!!!
Dear colleagues, I have to make a decision as I could have a Venco Super Twin in a few days here in my studio what would normally take months to be delivered and I have a big order of lots of plates to throw. In my research about pugmills I have come as far as that I think I have to decide between buying a Peter Pugger vpmss20 and a Venco Super Twin, both stainless steel and de-airing. I throw porcelain and run a studio production, means around 2 tons a year, getting more (sorry, I'm not a native speaker)... I'll need it in the first place for replacing the wedging of new porcelain clay as I find this extremely power- and timeconsuming for production. I let the wet material dry a little bit down to have a stiffer clay for throwing thin bigger pots. That means the clay has stiffer parts outside from the drying and softer ones inside even if I dry it slowly under a soft fabric to avoid too fast drying. I hope such a machine could mix and de-air it for having a homogen porcelain body ready for throwing. That's what I intend mainly. To reclaim crap is also an idea but not really important as I can sell trimming crap for a small money to someone who re-uses it for small sculptures. i know in stoneware de-aired clay is a gorgeous thing for throwing, but porcelain is different and it seems to absorb air whenever possible so the vacuum effect might be a problem? What I have heard about the Peter Puggers: Some potters have problems with porcelain coming out with no plasticity. Also heard a rumour that the pugging chamber of the PP is too short for good de-airing. The advantage of PP seems to be that the clay can be stiffened or dried down easily and that any stiffness doesn't seem to be a problem at all as the mill is very strong so it won't stop with stiffer clay. About the Venco: the twin spiral shall have a quite well mixing effect but the de-airing pump shall also not be so good. Another disadvantage of the Venco is that I heard it stands still if the clay is too stiff and you have to open it to pull the clay out before going on with softer clay. I'm afraid I will have spent so much money to have small air bubbles in my fired ware what must be quite horrifying and / or that I have a machine that stops when i put a bit stiffer clay for bigger pots into it. It would be SO GREAT if anyone working with porcelain with these machines could share his/her experiences... thanks so much, claude