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ball mill use (if i can find one)


oldlady
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never needed a ball mill but recently, i find that one of my mason stains, vivid blue, fires with tiny cobalt speckles.  totally unwanted!   i sieve the glaze through a 60 mesh sieve because i have never needed anything finer.   no money to buy anything else.   this has happened on every piece where i have tried to use vivid blue over 4-5 years since i was given the stain by someone else.    mostly i try for a pale blue on just a single piece to put into a firing that day so no organized testing has been done.   seeing the specks this week reminded me that i have never gotten the blue without specks so it is time to do something.

question, has anyone ever used a ball mill to do what i am trying to do?   did it work?

i have asked the potters nearbv who might have one and had no luck trying to borrow one.   only one school has one but there is no way to use it.  (never been used since it was donated by a potter who never used it.)

so............what is your opinion on a rock tumbler as an alternative?   still will need to find one to use but do you think it will work?

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Edited by oldlady
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When I was in charge of glaze production at A.R.T. we had one or two blue stains that tended to speckle, so we ran those through a finer screen, like 180 or 240, and that did the job. We never ball milled them. I'd see if one of your potter friends has a finer screen you can borrow, and if that doesn't work then pursue the ball mill. Only run a little bit of the glaze with all of the stain through the fine screen, if you haven't already mixed up a big batch. It takes forever to get a whole bucket of glaze through a fine screen.

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liam,   i must be more out of touch with the world than i thought.   i do not understand at all what you have done to turn a horizontal wheel into a spinning jar.  i have put a bucket on my wheelhead and used a long paint stick to blend and stir glazes but what you have is just odd.   

thanks, neil, i will ask around though i cannot imagine a sieve that fine.   i only used the stain with a clear glaze and only put a little into a small amount at a time.  sieved it and glazed one odd leftover piece to fit in a small spot in the kiln.   until i did the piece in the photo last saturday.   now i want to mix a light blue to actually use it on additional pieces like the photo. 

Edited by oldlady
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