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Hey Gang, long time no talk! Been busy, hope ya'll are well!

Anyways, Ive got a big batch of pots that Im getting ready to wax and Im wanting to try some alumina in my hot wax. I use advancer shelves, which works great for any glaze runs, but at ^12, in oxidation, over the period of a few years, the glass layer on the shelves has increased to the point that even non trimmed (flat bottomed) pots are plucking my Bmix and even some stoneware bodies, and I need to do something about it. I dont want to wash the shelves for numerous reasons, nor "dust" them with AH as my kiln is somewhat turbulent,  so I think Ive settled on alumina in my wax.

I searched through the old threads regarding plucking/AH-Wax and it seems most folks are using a cold wax/emulsion, whereas I dip into hot wax-100% paraffin if it matters any. I read a number of different ratios for AH:Wax everything from a "couple of spoonfuls" to a pint, to 50:50.....i throw chunks of wax into a big skillet on a hot plate....dont want to make measuring AH:Wax into a big ordeal...

I like hot wax for the speed at which it sets, compared to an emulsion, which takes too long when you're waxing hundreds of pots at a time.

I read where @Mark C. said to dip the freshly dipped wax foot into a pan of AH but that it uses a lot of AH....thousands of pots-$$$. Also, dont want so much AH that after firing Ill have to soap/water wash the residue from pots.

Most of my glazes stay where my wax line is, but a couple like to move especially as I get closer to ^12-13. Obviously if the glaze runs off the foot Im gonna be grinding anyways, but what about if the glaze barely creeps over the alumina...am I to expect a boogery chunk Ill have to dress? Should I have two wax pans- one w/o AH dipped 3/16-1/4" up, and a second dip w/AH just barely in..1/8"?

Any other suggestions or ideas are greatly appreciated! TIA!

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2 hours ago, hitchmss said:

I like hot wax for the speed at which it sets, compared to an emulsion, which takes too long when you're waxing hundreds of pots at a time.

I can't help you with your question about AH and hot wax, but I did want to ask about this comment since someone else said this last week. I use emulsion wax, and I've always found by the time I've gone through a couple dozen, the first ones are dry enough that I can glaze them. Are you glazing each pot right after you wax it?

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I never have dipped my hot wax pots in AH-it was only a thought.

I hot dip thousands of pots as do you. When I need a seat/lid waxed with alumina I dip my sponge with regular water solubale wax in AH powder and wax the seat.Not a hot dip deal

most all my 50-60 advancers are washed with a light coat of homemade kiln wash as I am a all porcealin shop.

I used to put AH in liquid wax but the dip sponge in it is more control and the little i need on lidded forms

I think you could put some AH in the hot dip pan but it will fall out really fast-if you kept the wax level low that may get enough on the pot bottom (trial and error here for sure) by moving the flat bottom pot arond a bit in the settled power at bottom

I hot dip about 2 thirds of 8 tons a year now. so I have some experince at it-ya down to only 8 tons from the usual 12 in the old days.

I have found that glaze that interfaces with AH leaves a rough surface (not going to grind 1000 pots  every fire right) 

I use lots of runny rutile glaze and I try to keep AH away from that interface.

in terms of how much in my super large  14 inch Dazey hot dip pan I would start with 1/4 cup.

The 1/2 AH and 1/4 epk 1/4 calcined epk wash is a killer wash ( paint roller on very thin). It will not give you any issues except stop the plucking

I never flip advancers or have AH issues from free floating into other glazes.

In terms of AH in wax it will be a powder after the glaze fire when the wax is gone it stays and is inert and will be a powered mess over time as it free and not bound up in say a wash.

something to ponder

let us know the cure

buy the way these Dazey pans are huge-I get them on ebay -(have 3-2 new in box) If you shop them you can get them shipped for under $6o

https://www.ebay.com/itm/384149692255?epid=1924504164&hash=item59711b1f5f:g:x0UAAOSwwe5glEAF

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5 minutes ago, Mark C. said:

I have found that glaze that interfaces with AH leaves a rough surface

Yep. If you get too much alumina in the wax it'll leave a rough edge where it meets with the glaze. It only takes a little bit to prevent plucking, though, so this is avoidable.

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1 hour ago, neilestrick said:

I use emulsion wax, and I've always found by the time I've gone through a couple dozen, the first ones are dry enough that I can glaze them.

I've found there is a night and day difference between the different brands of cold wax resist. Sounds like you use one of the good ones. I love Forbes resist, dries fairly quickly and resists really well with no stickiness. The unbranded resist the local ceramics supply place sells pales in comparison; it takes ages to dry and even then it's still a bit sticky and doesn't resist nearly as well as the Forbes.

It's the hot waxing process to get the wax line that I find way faster than using cold resist. For most of my work I do a mix of the two,  I dip (soy wax) anything that I can then touch up the middles of the pots where the wax didn't cover with cold resist. (I make very shallow wax lines and my pots have a very slightly concave base to avoid spinners so most of the time I'm just getting the outer edge of the pots) 

Cold resist odours when burning off is nothing compared to paraffin, that stuff is foul when it burns off, soy wax isn't quite so bad. We have fussy neighbours, I time my firings so the soy wax burns off during the middle of the night.

@hitchmss, if you try the alumina hydrate in hot wax would you let us know how it goes? My hunch is you will need to stir the wax frequently plus keep it very shallow.

Edited by Min
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my hot wax is in an 18 1/2x11 inch shallow sears electric grill.   i use a thin coating and melt old candles, any kind except the ones with christmas "snow" effect.   any color, that makes it easier to see on my white clay.    i have found that i can put up to 3 of my smaller pots into the wax and remove them in the same order.   that wax does not even look like a waxy surface but it works well and the smell is gone.   bigger pieces have a thin layer of wax and i can adjust any of the odd shapes with a cheap chip brush that sits at the edge of the wax in the heat.   my temp is at 325 degrees.    yeah, i know you all think i am nuts but hot wax is so fast it is the only way for me to wax and glaze and load a 23x27 inch kiln in one day.   and yes, the wax line is straight and even.  the occasional failures, a few,  sit and wait for a bisque firing in the test kiln.  

i am not suggesting that you try this because you may not be comfortable in your ability to work safely with that kind of heat.   the pieces stay hot and the wax is dry before i get the piece placed on a metal rack after the  excess is wiped back into the grill.   a little like a ballet with every move choreographed for safety.   fumes that might arise from the grill are blown away with a fan placed behind my elbow so i don't breathe it.

sorry, i have not used alumina hydrate in 20 years and do not remember why i did.   never touched Bmix, read too many instances where it does not satisfy the potter.

just because you have never tried something does not mean it doesn't work.  we all work differently.

Edited by oldlady
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13 hours ago, neilestrick said:

I can't help you with your question about AH and hot wax, but I did want to ask about this comment since someone else said this last week. I use emulsion wax, and I've always found by the time I've gone through a couple dozen, the first ones are dry enough that I can glaze them. Are you glazing each pot right after you wax it?

I am not immediately glazing after I wax- I hot wax in my spray booth which is sizeable...maybe 4x4 footprint. Ill usually bring a couple dozen pots into the booth with me, dip, and set down on the booth floor (made of FRP) to harden, and then pick up, and back onto cart. As @Min said, maybe the emulsions Ive used (maybe 2-3 different brands over 15 years) are just not the right brand (cant remember what they were), but in my experience, if I dipped the foot into a pool of it, I had to set it on something like newspaper to dry as it would make a mess of whatever I sat them onto otherwise- of course, newspaper would stick to the wax..... If I inverted them to dry on their rims, usually Id have some kind of run of wax up the side of my pots. Ive tried other hot waxes, and like the paraffin im using now as its solid in a couple of seconds, totally hard within maybe a minute, and it doesnt make a mess of the studio with wax rings all over the place. Drips onto the spray booth floor are easily scraped off with a drywall knife, and the residue that remains isnt so waxy as to be easily accidentally transferred to other surfaces.

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13 hours ago, Mark C. said:

I never have dipped my hot wax pots in AH-it was only a thought.

I hot dip thousands of pots as do you. When I need a seat/lid waxed with alumina I dip my sponge with regular water solubale wax in AH powder and wax the seat.Not a hot dip deal

most all my 50-60 advancers are washed with a light coat of homemade kiln wash as I am a all porcealin shop.

I used to put AH in liquid wax but the dip sponge in it is more control and the little i need on lidded forms

I think you could put some AH in the hot dip pan but it will fall out really fast-if you kept the wax level low that may get enough on the pot bottom (trial and error here for sure) by moving the flat bottom pot arond a bit in the settled power at bottom

I hot dip about 2 thirds of 8 tons a year now. so I have some experince at it-ya down to only 8 tons from the usual 12 in the old days.

I have found that glaze that interfaces with AH leaves a rough surface (not going to grind 1000 pots  every fire right) 

I use lots of runny rutile glaze and I try to keep AH away from that interface.

in terms of how much in my super large  14 inch Dazey hot dip pan I would start with 1/4 cup.

The 1/2 AH and 1/4 epk 1/4 calcined epk wash is a killer wash ( paint roller on very thin). It will not give you any issues except stop the plucking

I never flip advancers or have AH issues from free floating into other glazes.

In terms of AH in wax it will be a powder after the glaze fire when the wax is gone it stays and is inert and will be a powered mess over time as it free and not bound up in say a wash.

something to ponder

let us know the cure

buy the way these Dazey pans are huge-I get them on ebay -(have 3-2 new in box) If you shop them you can get them shipped for under $6o

https://www.ebay.com/itm/384149692255?epid=1924504164&hash=item59711b1f5f:g:x0UAAOSwwe5glEAF

I was worried the AH wouldnt stay in suspension in the hot wax.....constantly stirring seems like an issue too....

I hot dip about 10 tons a year.....Ive found a method which works well for me....hate to change something that works, but necessity breeds ingenuity too.

I was worried that an AH-Glaze interference would leave a rough surface......DO NOT need to be dressing every pot.... Nor do I want to have a powdery mess of AH all over everything

I use the same kiln wash with a 1.75% addition of g-200....comes from homer laughlin as a recipe to deal with their highly turbulent kilns. I dont want to wash the shelves, primarily for this reason; maybe Im being highly anal, but whenever I do get glaze runs (which my strontium crystal magic combo does like to regularly, especially when I get it juicy like I like to), it lifts some of the wash off the shelf...no big deal, touch it up, but then my perfectly flat advancers begin to become not so perfectly flat with a kiln wash layer. Maybe I just get into a process of washing after runs, and quickly running a sandpapered straight edge across to make the surface flat, and blow off dust.....another process, but its seeming like this might be the best solution as AH in hot wax seems to not be a great option.

 I dont flip my shelves either....havent noticed a need to...even at ^12-14 in the fireboxes, they stay perfectly flat on a well supported 3 post setup.....wanting to invest in their kiln beams/bars....$$$$.

I use a old cast iron skillet on a hot plate....doesnt sit perfectly flat, but at the cost of free I can live with it.

If I find "the cure" ill let you know....at this point it seems like back to using kiln wash....grrrrrr

 

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12 hours ago, Min said:

It's the hot waxing process to get the wax line that I find way faster than using cold resist. For most of my work I do a mix of the two,  I dip (soy wax) anything that I can then touch up the middles of the pots where the wax didn't cover with cold resist. (I make very shallow wax lines and my pots have a very slightly concave base to avoid spinners so most of the time I'm just getting the outer edge of the pots

Yup! I love the precise line hot wax leaves, and after thousands of pots, Ive gotten pretty decent at getting a level line too.....not all the time, sometimes too much coffee...!!! My pots are the same; dimpled slightly in the bases. I keep a brush on hand so I can tilt the pot slightly and slather some hot wax over the uncovered area.

I too was worried, and as others said, I dont belive the AH will stay in suspension...not sure Im gonna give it a go. Might just go back to kiln washing

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30 minutes ago, hitchmss said:

I keep a brush on hand so I can tilt the pot slightly and slather some hot wax over the uncovered area.

 

You are better at waxing than I am, I kept getting drips of wax from the brush onto the pots when I did it this way. Find I'm less messy with the cold resist for this.

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11 hours ago, oldlady said:

my hot wax is in an 18 1/2x11 inch shallow sears electric grill.   i use a thin coating and melt old candles, any kind except the ones with christmas "snow" effect.   any color, that makes it easier to see on my white clay.    i have found that i can put up to 3 of my smaller pots into the wax and remove them in the same order.   that wax does not even look like a waxy surface but it works well and the smell is gone.   bigger pieces have a thin layer of wax and i can adjust any of the odd shapes with a cheap chip brush that sits at the edge of the wax in the heat.   my temp is at 325 degrees.    yeah, i know you all think i am nuts but hot wax is so fast it is the only way for me to wax and glaze and load a 23x27 inch kiln in one day.   and yes, the wax line is straight and even.  the occasional failures, a few,  sit and wait for a bisque firing in the test kiln.  

i am not suggesting that you try this because you may not be comfortable in your ability to work safely with that kind of heat.   the pieces stay hot and the wax is dry before i get the piece placed on a metal rack after the  excess is wiped back into the grill.   a little like a ballet with every move choreographed for safety.   fumes that might arise from the grill are blown away with a fan placed behind my elbow so i don't breathe it.

sorry, i have not used alumina hydrate in 20 years and do not remember why i did.   never touched Bmix, read too many instances where it does not satisfy the potter.

just because you have never tried something does not mean it doesn't work.  we all work differently.

Ive tried different hot waxes in the past- for me I found that any scented or colored candles, whatever the additives were to the base wax, changed the way that the glaze beaded up/wiped off in a manner I didnt like....required more wiping, and was a pain in my butt.

Currently I use a 100% parraffin with a melt point of 135*F...hot enough to hurt, but not give me third degree burns either. It hardens within seconds, no waxy residues which result in accidental transfers, and wipes perfectly clean with one sponge pass. I would be a little nervous about dipping fingertips, or splashing a pan of 325* wax on me.....you are braver than I!

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4 minutes ago, Min said:

You are better at waxing than I am, I kept getting drips of wax from the brush onto the pots when I did it this way. Find I'm less messy with the cold resist for this.

It takes practice; tilt the pot too far and the wax you dipped onto the foot will run up the side....for me I kind of tilt the pot slightly, and my head the opposite direction so I can kind of slather "up" into the bottom of the foot, rather than down onto the foot. Bowls with trimmed/elevated feet pose similar issue--either air bubbles burp and cause wax to splatter up, or you need to turn bowl upside down and then you have to move brush from pan to bowl quickly so as to not have wax harden prematurely, which sometimes means drops....as @oldlady said, it is kind of like a dance where sometimes, you step on your partners toes....

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How about after you do your waxing, and before it is totally hardened, or may once it is hardened if it's still sticky enough, you sift a very thin layer of AH on the table and just 'dip' the bottom of the pot onto the alumina to get a thin layer on the foot. It's an extra step so that may mot be a good solution, but it would do the job.

There is a lot of variation in cold wax. I use the stuff from Ceramic Supply, and it it by far the best I have ever used. It's dries quickly, and dries hard. No stickiness at all. I cannot stand waxes that dry sticky. Sticky wax works okay for dipping glazes, but for decorating and doing mishima it's horrible.

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I  to use (Currently I use a 100% parraffin )

I just move the pot to bats and the wax dries before setting it down (waxing is done outside studio)

I like Neils thought on

(How about after you do your waxing, and before it is totally hardened, or may once it is hardened if it's still sticky enough, you sift a very thin layer of AH on the table and just 'dip' the bottom of the pot onto the alumina to get a thin layer on the foot. It's an extra step so that may mot be a good solution, but it would do the job.)

There are a few seconds that this would work.

I'm not sure why you are sponging the wax on bottoms?Whats this step  for?

the trick with the shelve kln wash is super thin coat. then the spot that lifts off in so an elevation problem and you can touch it up if you need to

 

Edited by Mark C.
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if there is only a slight amount of hot wax it can hardly burp up the side on a bowl.     i only make slab work and empty bowls with feet so burping is not a problem for me.   rolling that foot in the shallow wax makes a nice even line.

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On 5/10/2021 at 11:26 AM, neilestrick said:

How about after you do your waxing, and before it is totally hardened, or may once it is hardened if it's still sticky enough, you sift a very thin layer of AH on the table and just 'dip' the bottom of the pot onto the alumina to get a thin layer on the foot. It's an extra step so that may mot be a good solution, but it would do the job.

There is a lot of variation in cold wax. I use the stuff from Ceramic Supply, and it it by far the best I have ever used. It's dries quickly, and dries hard. No stickiness at all. I cannot stand waxes that dry sticky. Sticky wax works okay for dipping glazes, but for decorating and doing mishima it's horrible.

I liked this idea of dipping a tacky wax into a pan of AH...it is another step, timing would be critical, and I wonder if this would turn into a big mess in the studio quickly. The idea of any AH being a big powdery mess (however it would be applied to the foot) after glaze firing which would require a soap/water bath for every pot is also not very enticing....especially at tens of thousands of pots.....

Ive used some hot waxes that too, after drying have a residue.....waxy fingerprints in accidental areas are no bueno, nor is having residue all over the studio. At this point it seems I might just go back to washing the shelves with a thin layer of wash as @Mark C. suggests, which I think is the simplest solution to this issue, and is a process/material Im already familiar with.

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On 5/10/2021 at 11:37 AM, Mark C. said:

I  to use (Currently I use a 100% parraffin )

I just move the pot to bats and the wax dries before setting it down (waxing is done outside studio)

I like Neils thought on

(How about after you do your waxing, and before it is totally hardened, or may once it is hardened if it's still sticky enough, you sift a very thin layer of AH on the table and just 'dip' the bottom of the pot onto the alumina to get a thin layer on the foot. It's an extra step so that may mot be a good solution, but it would do the job.)

There are a few seconds that this would work.

I'm not sure why you are sponging the wax on bottoms?Whats this step  for?

the trick with the shelve kln wash is super thin coat. then the spot that lifts off in so an elevation problem and you can touch it up if you need to

 

I keep a small chip brush, in my hot pan while waxing to touch up any spots that get missed either due to the air pocket , or into my recessed (slight) stamp/chop mark.

I do have pots that have feet too wide to dip into my pan (large bakers/etc) and for those I used to use a brush, but it wouldnt charge with a lot of wax, which required numerous back/forth to the pan, which usually resulted in some kind of accidental drips, or missing spots that required more cleanup after glazing. I tried a while ago taking a "square" of pluck/pull foam.....the kind that comes in heavy duty equipment/gun cases like "Swan"/etc. It allows the foam to be "custom fit" to whatever your storing in the boxes.....its some kind of a foam, similar in texture to a sponge. I like it because its cheap, I can easily tear it into a 1.5"x1.5"x3" chunk.....hold it on the long end, and my fingers are not in the hot wax, it charges with a large volume of wax, and because it is a bigger mass/insulated, it cools slowly, which gives me time to precisely apply, and cover a larger surface area faster.

I tried applying a thin coat to a few of my advancers when I first got them just to see....I used a brush, but I think a 4" paint roller might give me a flatter/thinner/more consistent coat...will give that a go. I figure a nice straight piece of metal, with some 200 grit paper on it, and a quick pass over will level the surface off, and keep my OCD tendencies at bay!

 

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I use a 9 inch paint roller as it only has one overlap spot on a 12 inch wide shelve.Less overlap=flatter surface

I have no idea about why one would add 1.75% G-200 feldspar to wash-my guess is to make it stick more?

I like this wash as one can get rid of it pretty easy and start again as it does not fuze  hard on to shelve but sticks enough so its not free in atmosphere and cuases issues in glazes. 

I will add I run newly washed shelve thru a busque cycle with pots on them to get it stuckdown before a glaze fire-not sure if one has to but I like the idea of not having any loose material in a glaze fire .

I also scrape the edges as soon as the shelves are washed and dry to clean them so there is no falling loose material on edge of shelve before bisquing

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1 hour ago, Mark C. said:

I have no idea about why one would add 1.75% G-200 feldspar to wash-my guess is to make it stick more?

There was an article a number of years back from Britt about kiln wash, including one that had 1-2% G-200. The recipe came from a ceramic engineer for a company whose kilns had high turbulence. They wanted the wash stuck enough to stay on the shelves, used enough spar to have it so they could scrape it off with a fingernail after firing.

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