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How to reconstitute "used" clay

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I'm a new potter and so, clay that has dried I've put in a bucket in water as instructed by a community class I took. So, my silly question is...now what? I think I need to get a wedging board, but really I don't know what the process should be. Thanks!

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I'm a new potter and so, clay that has dried I've put in a bucket in water as instructed by a community class I took. So, my silly question is...now what? I think I need to get a wedging board, but really I don't know what the process should be. Thanks!

 

Hi I would say more because I can be pretty windy. so to save time you might inter the word "reclaim" in the search box and I know you will find some information there. Have a great day. Ain't clay fun! Kabe

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there are many ways to dry out your slaked down clay. one common way is to let it settle in the bucket, then decant off the water, pour out your slop onto a plaster surface to soak up the remaining water, then wedge it up when it's at the consistency you want. if you don't have a large plaster surface this can be difficult. a similar alternative is to make some sort of shallow frame and place a piece of plastic sheeting over it to create a "shallow pool" - you can then pour your slop onto this and let it evaporate from the top-side. when it's ready, wedge it up. another alternative might be to stick your slop into some fabric bags/pillow cases or burlap sacks, then hang these to drip/evap sorta like people do with cheese. these are just a few of many ways to dry out slop.

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I'm a new potter and so, clay that has dried I've put in a bucket in water as instructed by a community class I took. So, my silly question is...now what? I think I need to get a wedging board, but really I don't know what the process should be. Thanks!

 

 

 

I use a rectangular plaster mold which works great, but prior to that I just wrapped my soggy clay in a towel to absorb the water. This did the job fine except for a few threads sometimes.

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I have a mixer attached to a motor and beat it after it has soak a long time. Using some kind of mixer or blender helps eliminate lumps. Smashing up dried lumps with a hammer is also a good idea. Then , if I want some paper clay, I add paper pulp and dry on flat plaster slabs and store it dry.I have flat plaster slabs and some big plaster bowl forms. I have a friend who ties jeans legs fills with slip and dries on clothes line.

Way back when, I used clay flower pots pot newspaper over the hole, lined them with cheese cloth and poured slip into them for drying. I did about 50 per day first thing in the morning.

Marcia

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I love reclaimed clay to work with. I think the easiest and safest way for a beginner to reclaim is to make yourself a few plaster bats. youtube has a zillion vids on how to make them and I find the easiest is to use a sturdy cardboard box with the seams and corners duck taped, as a mold. Once you have your plaster bats, tear up an old sheet into large rectangles that will lap over the edges of your bats by 5 or 6 inches. The cloth keeps plaster bits out of your clay and I keep a couple of clothes for each clay I use.

Cover the bat with the cloth, sponge the water off the top of your slaked down clay, scoop the clay out of the bucket and plop it on the cloth, stacked anywhere from 1-4 inches thick or so. Keep an eye on it because depending on the humidity and heat where you have it, it can dry out super fast. Sometimes when the progress is slow, I use the edges of the fabric to flop it over and dry out the other side a bit. On my larger bats, I let the clay dry part way, place another cloth on top of the clay, and then flop the clay over to dry the other side a bit.

When the plaster has pulled out enough water, the clay lifts up and can be rolled right off the cloth in one big piece, so when the consistency is what you are looking for roll it up, wedge it up, and you are ready to go. I often like my freshly reclaimed clay to sit in a bin for a day or so to even out, and then I will wedge it a bit one more time after I weigh it up.

This blog (thanks Laurie) tells how to make a bat from a box. One thing I would add, if you have an electric hand sander, place it on the sides of the box (without sandpaper of course) after you have filled it, as the vibration will help level and settle the plaster.

http://finemessblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/side-effects-and-how-to-pour-plaster.html

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When I make plaster slabs, I prefer to use a plexiglass sheet for the smooth surface and use 1x3 or 1 x 4 for the sides.

Plexiglass won't stick to plaster and can be used without any need for a mold release. The surface is like glass. I like this for making image transfers on slabs.

Marcia

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I'm a new potter and so, clay that has dried I've put in a bucket in water as instructed by a community class I took. So, my silly question is...now what? I think I need to get a wedging board, but really I don't know what the process should be. Thanks!

 

 

Make a plaster bat or plaster wedging board. Drain off water then put a few hands full of slop clay on bat let it soak up moisture rotate and eventually wedge on bat to the stiffness you like.

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You can also use a piece of backerboard as a drying bat, especially useful if you need to store it away between uses. If you do use backerboard, I have learned to support it by 2x4s or such to raise the board up and encourage air circulation from below; also prevents molding while the clay is drying.

 

Thanks Marcia, I need to remember that this is a great time to make paper clay.

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Several of my students just put the slop in a pillow case, then leave it sit on a concrete floor for a few days (mixing it up occasionally), like in the basement furnace room. The concrete wicks away the moisture well.

 

i do this too but if i use the plaster bats i keep clay in canves bags so i get no pops. but plaster is faster if u got time issues or humidity issus............an da sun works good too for help

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