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TLDinNC

Damp Box Construction Question

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Hello all- I am making a damp box for my home studio, using a plastic storage bin with a lid. Following directions here on the forums and elsewhere, I used pottery plaster to form roughly a 2 inch bottom in the bin. All of the instructions I've read recommend popping the set plaster out, using a surform to remove sharp edges, cleaning up the walls of the box, then putting the plaster back in. My question is - how critical is it to pop the plaster out and remove sharp edges? There don't seem to be many at all, and honestly, the pad of plaster is heavy and will be difficult for me to handle. What is the risk if I don't smooth out the edges?

 

Thanks in advance for your input.

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it is not necessary to do anything except dampen the plaster once it has thoroughly set up.  if you might be worried about some tiny bit of plaster sticking to something you put into the box and blowing up everything in your kiln and whole neighborhood, you could put a piece of cloth on top of the plaster to protect stuff.

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The cheapest plaster will work for this.

 

If you don't clean the edges after the pour, there is a chance the crumbles of plaster will get into your work. They will cause defects in your work. So the step can be skipped if you are willing to be very careful all the time. I would recommend baking cookies and getting a neighbor to help :-)

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2" deep will definitely make for a heavy slab. I've found 3/4" works well.

IF you decide to turn it out and do the clean up I suggest using a bucket, (taller than your plastic box) stood inside on the plaster, which will take the weight of the plaster when you flip it over to remove the slab and clean up - It might need more than one pair of hands!

 

If you decide not to bother, you could just give it a good wash out, in situ, perhaps use a small stuff brush around the edges to dislodge any small crumbles and then tip them out with the water.

 

I have 3 damp boxes like this - love them!

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I built a dampbox in 2013 and used about 2" of potter's plaster. The plaster set up nicely without any crumbly edges. As an experiment, I have a cup which has been stored in the box since April of 2013. Today the cup is still not leather hard and almost as soft as the day I threw it. I add  about a quart of water to the box about every six months and since the lid fits tightly there is very little evaporation. I plan on leaving the cup in the box maybe forever just to see if it ever starts to harden.

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Celia- thank you for the idea- I might just try that rather than wrestle with it. Johnny- that's really cool! I'm looking forward to being able to trim on my own schedule.

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Awhile back I asked about the type of plaster for a large damp box and really appreciate the input as to using plain old plaster of Paris. I made a small one about 6 months or so ago and have had handles and bottoms in it since the first week I made it, everything is still soft and workable. The big one I just made I am using to store box and mug blanks so I can decorate them to suit on demand rather than having to build them and delay the fun part of decorating.

 

Damp boxes are great for using an extruder and I plan to make a couple more large ones for storing extruded parts that I can then quickly assemble. I tend to pull 25 to 50 pounds through the extruder at a time and then in the past had to scramble to get everything assembled before the parts got too dry. Now it's SO EASY, set up the extruder, pull, cut, firm up to soft leather hard, place in damp box, use as needed over months.

 

T

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Since the weather was nice yesterday, I made two damp boxes.  Large and small.  I am pretty excited to have this in my arsenal and not sure why exactly I haven't made them sooner!  However, since I work with white clay and brown clay.....can I put a towel or something over the plaster bat if I have brown clay parts in there??  Or should I make another damp box and dedicate it to one color or the other??  Appreciate thoughts on this.

 

Roberta

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if you can afford the space, time and plaster make them separate containers clearly labelled.  you never know when some stranger off the street will come into your studio and mess things up.   :wacko:

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