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Porcelain vs White Stoneware

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Glazes will look a little brighter and the body will be more white and glassy using porcelain. These are generalizations and it depends, of course, on the formulation of the body. If you are comparing white stoneware vs porcelain in reduction, transparent glazes will look far better on porcelain. Porcelain is generally less plastic and more thixotropic/more difficult to work with.  It's a trade off, workability for whiteness/translucency of the body and brightness of the glazes. I say make some of your work with 25-50 pounds of porcelain, 2 different clay bodies if possible, glaze it, and then assess the results. The only way you will know is to try it. There are many nice white stonewares out there but in my opinion porcelain has something that stoneware does not. Many times the compromise of workability is not sensible but it really depends on the type of work you are making and the glazes you use. 

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If you've used a bunch of different clay bodies you'll be fine.  I've tried probably 10 different clays out to find one I like, and when I tried porcelain it was just another clay body (as far as throwing).  They all have their different characteristics, stoneware is a really broad term, I've had difficult stonewares that were worse than porcelain.  It does look nice when fired, it's real buttery in it's texture and look (not the color).  Try it and see if you like it!  Lots of different porcelains with varying levels of plasticity, so try a few.  

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Some reasons to like porcelain more

Its generally much tougher (harder /chip resistant) when fired.

Glazes look spectacular on it-very bright and sharp colors

Its dries faster and more even

Some reasons not to like Porcelain.

It costs more 

its harder to throw well

glaze can run more on it than stoneware

its drys faster and more even


I throw 99% porcelain for the past 30 years before that its was stoneware and for about 5 years both before converting to al all whitewall shop.

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Personal preference for me. I enjoy throwing cone 6 and 10 porcelain and love it’s generally very white color for decoration. The rim of my wares are usually the last thing to worry about and can be shaped at any point smooth since there is no grog to pop up. White stoneware is fine as well and I have thrown it, but often find the stoneware messier.  As far as trimming and drying, definitely something to get accustomed to.

I started throwing when I was told that it was more difficult and I would likely find it too difficult for my skill. Ya gotta love a challenge! I immediately began throwing with it and now prefer the feel never looking back or regretting it.

Come to think of it my high school counselor said I should find a manual labor job. I think (actually hope) she secretly was trying to challenge me.

Edited by Bill Kielb
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