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g-bus

Cleaning a pug mill. How clean does it need to be?

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Hi folks,

I posted a couple years ago about getting a used Bluebird pug mill I'd purchased ready to sell but have decided to keep it. It was cleaned out to some degree when I got it, and I ran some clay through it a while back just to make sure it worked, but I really have no idea how much it was used and what kind of clay was put through it. I've opened the whole thing up and have been working on getting it as clean as possible since I don't know what kind of clay may be stuck on there, but I'm wondering how concerned I need to be about some small spots of clay. I've been working on cleaning it with wire brushes, wire wheel on my Dremel, steel wool, and have even had the auger soaking in a bucket of water to try to soften up some of the dried clay. I've gotten most of it off but there are still some small spots of clay that just seem like dried glue on there (there really is only a very small amount left, I've been pretty thorough, I'm just being extra thorough). Should I be concerned about this? Is it likely that this clay would come off and get into my clay, and if so could it pose much of an issue, aside from possibly some little spots of color? Don't want some clay that's potentially low-fire getting mixed in with my high fire stuff and possibly compromising it. I'm thinking that if it's being so stubborn about being cleaned off it likely wouldn't come off and get mixed into the new clay.  If it is something that I should be concerned about cleaning off does anyone have any suggestions about ways to get this stuff off a little easier? Any chemicals I could try that might break down the clay a bit without damaging the metal? I saw a post about running some really groggy clay through to clean off rust, so that's a possibility. This thing is a bit of a pain to take apart to clean so I'd like to make sure I get it done right so I don't have to do this again for a while. Thanks for the help!

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I have used porcelain then white stoneware and never cleaned the machine-jusr run it though . In sort order the clat is clean.

a few spots of low fire mixed well with high fire is no big deal.

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When I had a pug mill in the school, I found that running slurry through till blades and such were soaking, then left it set closed up for a few hours, then would run stiff clay through a couple of times til it was workable would remove most of the harder clay on walls and blades. When storing over the Summer, I would empty it as much as possible, then put bathroom towels in the hopper, close up the end and let it set til Fall. Of course this was a Walker pug mill, a beast often not seen anymore.

 

best,

Pres

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Every couple months I switch between various white cone 10 clays and mostly red cone 6.  I get it as clean as I can by hand without taking it apart and then run two batches through.  I mix the two batches and run them through again.  No problems either direction.  I think the only big concern would be switching from some dark stone ware to a fine porcelain - if you really cared about keeping the porcelain perfectly white. 

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13 hours ago, g-bus said:

I've been working on cleaning it with wire brushes, wire wheel on my Dremel, steel wool, and have even had the auger soaking in a bucket of water to try to soften up some of the dried clay. I've gotten most of it off but there are still some small spots of clay that just seem like dried glue on there

If the barrel is aluminum and it was used with a high sodium clay then it could be scale from a reaction between the clay and the aluminium. Auger will be stainless though and soaking in water should get the clay off. 

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to keep the dampness in.  i store my wet sponge in the hopper of my bailey and a wet cap goes over the end of the barrel.    have left clay inside it for the 5 months i am gone during the winter and have not had the problem of returning to dry clay that has to be removed.   

a walker is huge in comparison so bath towels are needed just because of the size.

Edited by oldlady
clarity

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Rae, Old Lady answered that very well. Walker pug mills were quite large, built like tanks, made of stainless steel with big high torque motors and hoppers about 2 1/2 feet long. Towels would cover the area inexpensively.

 

best,

Pres

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