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Hi there. I just bought a shimpo pm-071 v and I put some pretty hard, almost leather hard clay, about 8 lbs and tried to pug it, and the clay won’t push down into the hopper (I guess it is too stiff), and when I manually push it down, it just sits in the auger area and spins. What to do? Add more clay? It won’t go down in there. Help!

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Another newby question: the wet clay is flowing haltedly out now, as a wet blob, but not enough and not the right consistency to form a nice cylinder. Is there a minimum amount of clay one must put in the hopper in order to expect it to come out the other end? In other words, can I put a small amount into the hopper and expect it to come out the other end?

I realize I need to play with the consistency of the clay I put in the hopper. Thanks!

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if you think about what is happening inside the pugmill, there has to be enough clay to fill all the voids before any can be pushed out the end.   there needs to be a supply to be pushed.  you need to keep the supply inside the mill.   did you get any instructions with the pugmill?

 

in future, if your clay is still too hard, cut it into chunks and dip each one in water before putting it into the pugmill

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My observation on my pugmill is that it needs to be very full to work correctly.  The best way to recycle clay is to mix scraps much wetter than you can work.  I collect scraps in clay bags and add enough water to get the desired softness.  Very soft.  Then let the soft clay age for a least a couple of months.  Getting all the air pockets out can be work in my pug mill as it holds more than 40 lbs.  I use an inch and a half delrin rod to push the clay into the corners.  The delrin is the best material I have found as it neither splinters nor mars the aluminum.   

The result is the best throwing clay I have.

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Most pugmills will use the pressure of what comes behind to push through the last few inches. If your clay is too wet, or too dry, run again with appropriate additions of either stiff or wet clay. It may take a few runs to get the right consistency. When I was mixing clay for students, I always kept two barrels of clay, one with slaked down slop, and one with clay recently used and thus stiffer. Time and experience with pugging is probably the best solution, but there is little you can do to harm the pug mill as long as you only put clay into it. . . .Unlike a student who wondered if it would stop with a maple rolling pin end crammed in it.  Ever try using a one handled rolling pin?

 

 

best,

Pres

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As others have said, needs to be full in order to get anything out the other end.  I think we found we needed 3 buckets worth of mixed dry and sloppy clay to get it to work.  We never had enough to process, and by the next time we wanted to use it we had to take to apart to get out the dried (set like greenware) clay out.  No matter how many wet sponges we stuffed in it was always solid by next time we needed to use it.  Haven't used ours for about 5 years.

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Yeah Chilly, one of the reasons I never bought one, but then I have quite a few buckets of dried clay I need to get recycled now. It has taken me many years to discover a method of not having buckets of clay. I just have a scrap bag, and all trimmings and scrap go in that, it gets twisted closed,  sets for a while, even in winter. Later I pull it out, dump the clay onto a bat to stiffen a bit, bread slice and slam several times and then wedge. No waste, no buckets of clay.

 

I really would like to have pug mill for a few days out of the year, but then the price is too wasteful for as much as I don't do anymore.

 

best,

Pres

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