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CactusPots

Hot water for throwing

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I doubt I would be able to throw pots in a real cold weather environment.  My hands hurt bad enough in my version of winter.  I just use a electric tea kettle and add hot water 2 or 3 times per session.  I wonder if there is a better way.  I've considered an aquarium heater and portable stove top type device and discarded both ideas.  Anyone use anything different?

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I do the same thing - periodically pour hot water from an electric kettle into the throwing pail (I keep a 7 litre pail next to the wheel for throwing water).  It also helps to bring indoors the clay that you plan to throw with, a few days in advance.  That way at least the clay isn't freezing cold. 

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I fill a gallon jug from the house in Spring and Fall. Winter I hardly ever throw as the clay is frozen. Summer never have to worry about cold water, just get it from the outside spigot.

 

best,

Pres

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14 hours ago, CactusPots said:

I've considered an aquarium heater and portable stove top type device and discarded both ideas.

Why did you reject the aquarium heater idea...not enough heat output?

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Farmer Supply stores sell a electric corded device has a metal wand that you can submerge in the pail to heat water.  I think they are used primarily to keep cattle water troughs from freezing.  My only problem with them is that they get the water TOO hot and cant be adjusted to just warm it up.

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38 minutes ago, Rick Wise said:

Farmer Supply stores sell a electric corded device has a metal wand that you can submerge in the pail to heat water.  I think they are used primarily to keep cattle water troughs from freezing.  My only problem with them is that they get the water TOO hot and cant be adjusted to just warm it up.

That was my experience too, I switched to a crock pot and just put it on low.  I also plug it into a 4 hour countdown timer so I don't boil it dry on accident.

It's very cold in my studio, unheated, uninsulated shed in the Pacific Northwest, so nice warm throwing water is a MUST! 

Edited by liambesaw

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I like to throw money at any problem I have. It is wasteful in some ways and a blessing in others. When in the Northwest it was the driving force behind me building a free standing finished out studio with baseboard heaters that was just like being in the house and here in Texas it is a split AC/ heat pump that keeps the studio always around 70 whether its 105 in the summer or 30 this time of year. 

If you can spare the dough I would solve the heat/cold problem. If not then the tea kettle seems like a fine idea.

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A properly sized aquarium heater should provide plenty of heat... but I would be more concerned about safety. 

Most aquarium heaters I've seen are glass tubes, with a heating element inside and most of the ones I've used in my aquarium over the years eventually get some moisture seeping into them around the cord.   They also usually have a warning printed on the heater and/or a tag on the cord, that says to unplug the heater before sticking your hand in the aquarium to do any sort of cleaning or maintenance...  definitely not something I would feel comfortable having in a bucket I'm going to be frequently dipping my hands into.

I do my throwing in my basement, so water temp isn't generally a problem, but if I was going to be regularly throwing in a cold environment, I think I would go with the crock-pot idea.  I don't recall who it was, but I remember seeing a you-tube video in a studio that had a crock-pot at every wheel.

Regardless of what device you use - if it involves having electricity connected in any way to your bucket, you should definitely make sure it's plugged into a GFCI outlet.

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3 hours ago, Stephen said:

I like to throw money at any problem I have. It is wasteful in some ways and a blessing in others. When in the Northwest it was the driving force behind me building a free standing finished out studio with baseboard heaters that was just like being in the house and here in Texas it is a split AC/ heat pump that keeps the studio always around 70 whether its 105 in the summer or 30 this time of year. 

If you can spare the dough I would solve the heat/cold problem. If not then the tea kettle seems like a fine idea.

Mini splits are cheap now to install yourself if you are handy-they heat and cool for very low costs-I put one in our newbeadroom remodel this past summer-I did all the work as you no longer need a HVAC person with a Mr. Cool unit they come in 5 sizes and I put the smallest unit in our bedroom-only uses a bit of electricity as its a heat pump.They come pre primed with the coolant.You can buy them on the net-mine cost $1,350. and was not that hard to install-(mine was a 110v unit all the larger ones are 220v .Check them out on YouTUBE.I bought mine from supply house .com but they also are on Amazon.Solves any heating cooling issue for low cost.Been really happy with it so far for cool and heat.

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My deal is arthritis in my hands.  Very painful.  I don't live in a cold climate.  No real need for insulated heated studio.  Except for a few hours in the morning.    It never freezes here.  Don't think I could deal with real winter at all at this point.  I'm somewhat concerned with the long term safety of an electrical device on the corrosive environment of my throwing table.  I kind of like the Tractor Supply idea with a variable resistor type dial attached.  I think I'll look into that.  I have several aquarium heaters currently serving duty on a hydroponics application.  Slip bucket is pretty nasty.  Not what they are designed for.

Thanks for the suggestions.

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If you  think the crock pot is the best solution, check yard sales and thrift stores. I used a small tray-style warmer, covered in foil, beneath a s/s bowl*, but the buildup of silt at the bottom of the bowl would soon absorb most of the heat. Crock pots distribute heat more evenly, because ceramic, and elements better sealed. Still, emptying at day's end is recommended, and a full clay pot not as easy to handle as plastic. My new electric kettle heats a cup or two of water in a trice.

*on a GCFI circuit 

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On 1/4/2020 at 5:29 PM, Min said:

Keeping the throwing water and dumping it when necessary into a bucket is a good idea if you recycle clay. It's good to add back into reclaim to avoid short clay.

"short clay" ?????  What is that?  I'm curious.

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I tried a small rice cooker from Goodwill.  Too small.  I'll just keep refilling the bucket/tub I have now every half hour or so.  As the Hobbits say "Hot water is a noble thing".

As for short clay, when you wedge and see cracking on the edge, rather than a smooth roll, or get cracking on the lip after pulling up a pot, that's what I take for short clay.  The pugmill will definitely deliver short clay without precautions.

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The fine particles at the bottom of your throwing bucket have been removed from the clay. If you recycle previously thrown clay, replacing those fine particles, from your bucket or with ball clay, restores plasticity. 

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Last three batches of reclaim, tried adding in some of Nerd's reclaim mix, which I believe is 80 ball clay, 10 feldspar, 10 silica; there's a detailed post here somewhere ...see this thread, where dhPotter reposted and Nerd's post, the last one

https://community.ceramicartsdaily.org/topic/19047-reclaimed-clay

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The big difference is between hand recycled and pugmill recycle.  I figure I'm recycling 20% of the clay I buy.   Half ton since October.  The amount of slip water fines is not a significant part of the recycle.  The big trick with the pugmill is mixing wet and aging the clay.  That gives me a nice throwable mix.  It's softer than Laguna from the box and that's ok with my tired hands.  If you try mixing around the softness of commercial clay with a non industrial pugmill, the clay will be short.  I guess that's because the water isn't distributed as evenly as it should be.

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I can empathize with arthritis, CactusPots. I warm my hands up under warm water before I even start, just to loosen up stiffness. I have only been throwing for a couple of years. I am finding my hands are better because of pottery - slowly strengthening them with throwing smaller vessels. It is handling the larger bags of clay and throwing larger vessels that is the issue.  I couldn't work outside in the winter, regardless, living in an area of Canada that gets fairly cold.

I don't want to derail the focus of this thread, but something really hit me and I have questions. Part of this thread that hit me was the mention of clay freezing. I get clay that says "Do not freeze" on it . Can clay be frozen? Is it affected by freezing? Can it be rehabilitated if there is a problem with freezing? I would love to be able to store my clay out in my garage that is unheated, but certainly don't now.  Just curious.

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