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liambesaw

Pug mill alternatives?

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1 minute ago, liambesaw said:

Since February, it's about 100 dollars of clay. once it starts raining again I'll be putting it in a 250 gallon stock tank to slake and decided I'll foot wedge it once it's ready.

that's about $150 of clay a year, why not just start a hill at the back of your property and dump and forget about it. It came from the ground so its not wasting anything to just return the scrap. Even at used prices it would take over a decade to even break even on a de-airing pug mill/mixer, maybe 15-20 unless you got a deal. I'm a crummy person to give advice on manually reclaim/wedging though because no way I would spend five minutes doing that stuff so to me its either a pug mill or tossing but if you don't hate doing that then it makes sense.

Good luck with it, sounds like the thread helped ya decide what you wanted to do.

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I use to recycle 5 gal buckets at a time but now I just recycle in the clay bag.   It is a little different for hand builders when it comes to recycling.  When l clean up leftover pieces of slabs and chunks of clay that are getting a little dry i dip them in water and throw them in a bag..  When I get the bag half full and it has set for a few days I  slam the bag around .  It usually comes out perfect for wedging,  If it is to wet I leave the bag open for a while or  spread it on some plaster.  Too dry I use the old water pressure technique in a 5 gal bucket.  I don 't have to worry about my clay getting short like throwers do.  Denice

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Yeah, mine is mostly trimmings, pots I broke while trimming and then the occasional large pot that I flopped while throwing.  All that along with my throwing slop and splash pan gloop.  After this mountain of reclaim is gone I'm going to just throw that stuff away.  At least until I find a good deal on a pugmill.

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Throw it awau!oh no!

Could you offer it to a community centre?

I have got a thing about stuff that is mined being thrown away.

Poor potter somewhere like a gift??

Image of native american thanking the environment and praying before taking her clay from the site stays with me .

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Don't underestimate the value of a pug mill.  It is expensive if you only think of it in terms of recovering scrap.  If that were the case my pug mill would take about 15,000 pounds of scrap to break even just on the cost of the clay, not including the labor of pugging. 

The real value is in being able to mix clays and to get them to the right consistency for the particular task.  I make about 1/2 cone 6 electric fire, and 1/2 cone 10 wood fired work.  I mix mostly commercial clays for both temperatures.  I like some speckle in both, but commercial clays either have too much or too little.  I can also get the moisture level just right.  I want very different stiffness for throwing tall vases compared to plates. 

Even if I threw away scrap, the pugmill would still be the best purchase I have made for the studio. 

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back in 1971 I was a caretaker on a religious estate.I had a pottery set up in a cabin and I mixed clay every morning in the basement of the mansion. There was an abandoned greenhouse with lots of earthenware flowerpots. I lined the pots with a little piece of newspaper over the drain hole and cheese cloth inside the whole pot. I had shelves of ware boards facing the boiler lined with these flower pots. The would dry to workable consistency in 3 days.I just kept a steady pipeline of clay coming from these flower pot. My slop was in a 50 gallon garbage can. This method makes the most plastic clay. - Slop too workable.

I bought a used Peter Pugger around 1980. It was badly rusted with big chips of rust coming out in the clay. They went to stainless.

Today I have an old Soldner mixer formerly belonging to Tom Coleman, then his apprentice. I got a nice de-airing Bailey pug mill at NCECA reduced as a floor model. (when I drove it back to Montana from Portland , I had it wrapped in newspaper and started the heater in my van several time at night to keep it from freezing on the way home. It was full of demo clay)

you can get good deals at NCECA (National Council on Education of Ceramic Arts) the trade show. Coming to Richmond, Va  march 25th  to 28th of March in Richmond, Va. Great trade show is part of it. Tool vendors from all over.

 

Marcia

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I have a colleague who puts his scrap and trimmings in a five gallon bucket with a tad of water.  When the bucket is full he pours the slurry into a canvas water bags (purchased from a supply house on the internet) to dry his recycle.  Each bag holds about 60 pounds of wet clay and sits on an open slat bench.  Dries in a few days to throwing stiffness (unless it rains for a few days).  He slam wedges his clay just before using.  Wash the bag with bleach after each batch to prevent the canvas from deterioration. The simplest system I have encountered.  

LT
 

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