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Yes, vinegar works fine.
So does plain water, and a few other liquids.  I have used them all. 
the compression of the pieces is more important than the choice of liquid. Also wait until the sheen of the applied liquid goes away before putting the clay pieces together.  Too much liquid in the joint is not good!

LT

Edited by Magnolia Mud Research
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I remember trying vinegar instead of water a long time ago--no success--didn't work,  just as plain water doesn't--the joins needed slip. I use either slip , slip w/vinegar, or, for the best result, Peggy Heer's "Spooze". This stuff generally works miracles for me, when I  can justify a "repair" or just need a super tight join. Once it sets, it may need sanding to smooth it to "invisibility". Here is her recipe from an old post:

Peggy Heer on sat 26 oct 96

Hi ...SPOOZE recipe one more time.....

1/3 dry clay body you are using
1/3 vinegar, ordinary white kitchen vin.
1/3 corn syrup, white or brown.
A drop or 2 of peroxide, out of your bathroom cabinet. This is to keep the
spooze from fermenting and giving off a real stink.
Make thin by adding more of the corn syrup or vin. Make thicker by adding
more of the dry clay body. The above rec. is only a base to start from.
I use my dried trimmings for my spooze and have a S. jar for each clay body
I use. Wash tools, brushes etc after using as the spooze will become cement
like and is not good for tools and brushes if they are left. If left with
out a good washing, soak in a cup of warm water till the spooze comes off.
Have a fun, sticky time. ;>}}}
As Always in Clay Peggy

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With all the talk that seems to be running around lately about adding flocculants like Epsom salts or vinegar to glazes to affect how they flow I can see the logic in it. However I personally never noticed any difference between using vinegar vs plain water, or vinegar slip vs slip made with water. Wiggling the piece being attached until you can feel it “grab” seems to be a better determiner of attachment success. 
 

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7 hours ago, LeeU said:

Hi ...SPOOZE recipe one more time.....

1/3 dry clay body you are using
1/3 vinegar, ordinary white kitchen vin.
1/3 corn syrup, white or brown.
 

Hi LeeU -

Many thanks for the reposting of the recipe.

When the recipe calls for "1/3" -  is that by volume? So 1/3 cup of each?

- Jeff

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9 hours ago, Callie Beller Diesel said:

With all the talk that seems to be running around lately about adding flocculants like Epsom salts or vinegar to glazes to affect how they flow I can see the logic in it. However I personally never noticed any difference between using vinegar vs plain water, or vinegar slip vs slip made with water. Wiggling the piece being attached until you can feel it “grab” seems to be a better determiner of attachment success. 

I agree;
But apple vinegar smells better than plain water and does change the local area to a slightly more adhesive environment.  My handbuilding is generally done with soft clay.

The corn syrup (it's sticky by design) in the SPOOZE mix helps with adhesion of stiff clay.  

LT

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 Vinegar works as a flocculant, same as it does it glazes. Clay particles will be electrically attracted to each other. Magic water works because of a couple things going on, the sodium silicate in it is sticky, it's going to physically help join the pieces. Sodium silicate also dries quickly and dries hard. Since magic water also contains flux, the clay when fired, will have a strong join. The soda ash and sodium silicate are both deflocs. The sugar in spooze acts like the sodium silicate insofar as being sticky and helping the join stay, well,  joined. The vinegar acts as a flocculant, same as if you just used straight vinegar. 

Edited by Min
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  • 6 months later...

There is a lot of discussion in this thread regarding the best ways of joining clay -- some favor Magic Water, some favor .  I find this perplexing since vinegar () is a flocculent, and sodium silicate (Magic Water) is a deflocculant.  Right? 

How is it that both may work?  In other words, what is the contribution of each (floc or defloc) to this process?  It would seem logical that one or the other must be counterproductive.

(I have heard the wonderful Phil Berneburg of Washington Street Studios question the utility of vinegar in this application)

Full disclosure:   I have been using what I think is called "joining slip" to attached handles or other pieces together.  Its clay, toilet paper, water and vinegar -- blended.  It has worked fine but this thread has me thinking that maybe i should use a deflocculant solution.

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Sodium Silicate is not just a deflocculant, it is also a powerful flux, and a powerful glue.

Soda ash is also a deflocculant and powerful flux.

The idea in this situation is when joining two pieces that are absorbent (past leather soft), the deflocculant will "loosen" the clay a bit on either piece of the attachment and evaporate quickly to create a meshed joint full of flux.

With vinegar you're doing something very similar, however instead of making a quickly drying meshed joint, you're making a slowly drying joint where the vinegar acts as a glue (flocculant causing particles to attract eachother).

So pick your poison, doesn't seem to matter too much which you use.

I also use paper clay slip to join "dry" pieces, it works great, especially with vinegar or magic slip, but even on its own.

 

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I have used all of the solutions listed above, and find that some are useful for different times. However, I have had the greatest success with students using magic water. Most students have a tendency to do one of two things, too much slip, or too little. In the case of too much, the join actually seems to be weakened, and even adding vinegar to the join makes the problem worse, not drying properly. On the other end of the issue when a student does not put enough slip on the join the join is week and may fall apart in handling when drying or after bisqued. Slip with vinegar was my go to for years, as it did the best join of my alternatives. However, after finding the recipe for magic water and testing it, I switched to it with students finding their joins stronger, cleaner, and having fewer failures to hold. The following year my Cabin Buster adult class began using the magic water and the adults were extremely pleased with the way their pieces held together.

Nuff said,

 

best,

Pres

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28 minutes ago, Pres said:

I have used all of the solutions listed above, and find that some are useful for different times. However, I have had the greatest success with students using magic water. Most students have a tendency to do one of two things, too much slip, or too little. In the case of too much, the join actually seems to be weakened, and even adding vinegar to the join makes the problem worse, not drying properly. On the other end of the issue when a student does not put enough slip on the join the join is week and may fall apart in handling when drying or after bisqued. Slip with vinegar was my go to for years, as it did the best join of my alternatives. However, after finding the recipe for magic water and testing it, I switched to it with students finding their joins stronger, cleaner, and having fewer failures to hold. The following year my Cabin Buster adult class began using the magic water and the adults were extremely pleased with the way their pieces held together.

Nuff said,

 

best,

Pres

 

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With the Magic Water, I have a container for the hazelnut brown, and one for the SC630 white. These have no clay in them other than the contaminates from the toothbrushes/brushes. I use the toothbrush in the Magic Water to roughen up the edges to be joined, then I put a little extra brushed on, slap the two pieces together with even pressure, add a very thin coil on the inside corner and blend with the rounded edge of the paint brush I use in the Magic Water.

Very simple and very clean and effective.

 

best,

Pres

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Just what I needed to know Pres -- thanks.

11 hours ago, Pres said:

With the Magic Water, I have a container for the hazelnut brown, and one for the SC630 white. These have no clay in them other than the contaminates from the toothbrushes/brushes. I use the toothbrush in the Magic Water to roughen up the edges to be joined, then I put a little extra brushed on, slap the two pieces together with even pressure, add a very thin coil on the inside corner and blend with the rounded edge of the paint brush I use in the Magic Water.

Very simple and very clean and effective.

 

best,

Pres

 

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20 hours ago, Russ said:

What ever happened to using goood ol spit. Been joining together stuff for 40 years with a 99.9 success rate! A little spit and a twisting  during the joining sure beats all this formula stuff.

I know quite a few potters that do this. 

I wonder if the spit acts like vinegar does, as saliva is also acidic, though I have no idea how much so...  Wait I have a device connected to every piece of information ever!  *Web search*.  Turns out saliva is essentially PH neutral.  So using saliva is just like using water. 

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4 hours ago, Sorcery said:

A recent Washington Street Studios video explained how using Vinegar actually (one of the floccs it) and makes it scientifically worse to use than plain water. 

Sorce

 

He said he doesn't know if it works, just that he can't make sense of it.  It could be nothing to do with flocculation, it could be forming some type of acetate salt or polymer.  It could also help equalize the moisture content across the joint by flocculating the clay on either side, allowing moisture to pass more easily through the spongy structure.  It seemed he was more focused on the fact that it should shrink more due to being flocculated, and not really on any of the other possibilities.  

I'm not saying he's wrong, just that there could be other reasons for it working.  Either way, these joining slips and magic waters are recommended as Band-Aids for missing a window of opportunity where the body and attachment are of equalish moisture content.

I'm at the point now where if I miss that window, I just don't add handles.  

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As a knitter and weaver I use spit to splice wool (sheep's wool, not plastic-based yarn) together instead of knots. 

My partner use spit for knife sharpening. 

 

Thicker than water. Works fine. Not very hygienic, particularly post covid-19. 

Edited by Chilly
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18 hours ago, liambesaw said:

Band-Aids for missing a window of opportunity where the body and attachment are of equalish moisture content.

I believe it "slipped" into use regularly, because there is a benefit of using it to connect bone dry porcelain.

Sorce

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