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JeffK

Waxing/polishing pit fired pottery

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Hello all -

After pit firing and cleaning the pot with damp sponge to remove all debris, we were then shown how to apply butcher's wax and then polish with a towel.

Just curious - are there other ways to polish a pit fired piece.? I've read of Howard’s Feed-N-Wax Wood Polish and Conditioner. All suggestions would be most welcome!

Thanks as always for your guidance.

- Jeff

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Thanks Dick. The more I dig in, the more options I see. What you mention - I wonder if it's an artist's medium that I read about. Comes in matte, lustre/satin, and gloss.

I did use butcher wax on two pieces yesterday but really unhappy about the outcome. The blacks from the pit firing appeared to have died back.  Now trying to figure out how to get it off the pieces. Possibly use hair dryer?

- Jeff

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34 minutes ago, douglas said:

Most waxes ignite around 200-250F. Using a heat gun might work better than a hair dryer.

Thanks Douglas. Did take a try with a hair dryer and managed to erase the accumulated white was in the small crevices. My bad for a not-so-great burnishing job. I then tried to polish it up a bit with a cotton cloth. So got a little bit of a shine and cleaned up the wax coating - but didn't obliterate the wax coating entirely. Might try to get my hands on heat gun and attempt a 2nd time.

- Jeff

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I've started using Annie Sloane finishing wax - a non-toxic product used for finishing chalk paint (tons of youtube info on this).  It goes on easily but does require some "elbow grease" in buffing it once cured. It gives a lovely, buttery "hand-rubbed" surface.  Another product I LOVE is "Rejuvenate" floor finish. I learned about it from watching Rocky Lewyky's workshop on Cold Finishes on Youtube. Really worth viewing. It is a water-based acrylic style finish but so dilute that it really sinks in rather than giving that "plasticky" look that other floor waxes or acrylic sealants can produce. I have used this on many clay surfaces, including ones with combined bare and glazed surfaces, or over glaze-fired oxide washes.  It also came in handy when I was finishing some pots from a naked raku workshop. I had not previously burnished or used terra sig on the pieces so they were very textured and porous and I knew waxing them could be difficult. I applied the Rejuvenate product instead and it was a breeze! And no follow-up polishing required.

 

Good luck!

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10 hours ago, Irene the Handbuilder said:

I've started using Annie Sloane finishing wax - a non-toxic product used for finishing chalk paint (tons of youtube info on this).  It goes on easily but does require some "elbow grease" in buffing it once cured. It gives a lovely, buttery "hand-rubbed" surface.  Another product I LOVE is "Rejuvenate" floor finish. I learned about it from watching Rocky Lewyky's workshop on Cold Finishes on Youtube. Really worth viewing. It is a water-based acrylic style finish but so dilute that it really sinks in rather than giving that "plasticky" look that other floor waxes or acrylic sealants can produce. I have used this on many clay surfaces, including ones with combined bare and glazed surfaces, or over glaze-fired oxide washes.  It also came in handy when I was finishing some pots from a naked raku workshop. I had not previously burnished or used terra sig on the pieces so they were very textured and porous and I knew waxing them could be difficult. I applied the Rejuvenate product instead and it was a breeze! And no follow-up polishing required. Good luck!

Great options, Irene - thanks for offering them! I'm not great at burnishing so the Rejuvenate sounds like it might work for me.

Thanks also for the lead-in to Rocky Lewycky - he has quite a few tutorials up on YouTube and I'm certainly looking forward to watching them.

Onward to the wheel!

- Jeff

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You can brush it, and I've done so on heavily textured pieces, but if you want a thin coat, then rub some on with a soft cloth. Rocky suggests mircofibre but I've used old t-shirts. Each coat adds more shine so go easy at first, and adjust as you go. It washes up just great afterward with soap and water and a little goes a long way. I haven't used it over anything I've terra sigged yet, as I used the wax instead but Rocky uses it on his primitive fired pieces. Show us a picture when you are done!

 

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