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Finally in my new home; changes to studio plans; Vehicle suggestions?

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Welp I am firmly ensconced in the land of White Clays Only, sadly colored-clayless due to multiple U-Haul screwups, including but not limited to:

  • cancelling my son's reservation for U-boxes at the last minute, after he not only had made plane reservations for the both of us but was actually IN town helping me pack boxes. So he had to eat the cost of BOTH plane tickets back and also now we HAD to sell my car (as opposed to me driving with the bird and then being able to stop and get some clay and him only eating the cost of MY ticket, which had potential until they canceled the non-reservation)
  • Sticking us with a 20' truck instead of 5 u-boxes eg much smaller and I had to leave a lot of stuff - but I was still hopeful we could get some clay on the very back, which is what prompted my last post (made after the first ScrewU-up)
  • Putting retreads on the front of the truck.  The first one had a dent in it and was causing a rough ride which my son did not recognize as being caused by other than the fact that it was a big truck with bad suspension.  But I am a suspicious type and got out at the first gas stop and inspected that tire and found the dimple.  Also I observed tread separating laterally across the tire eg retread coming off.  I should have checked the rest of the tires then but seriously.  He DID come to get me because I have been so sick for so long after all.  Hopefully I can be forgiven for falling down on the job and failing to find the second problem which was:  
  • The other front tire was ALSO a retread and it literally shredded off the rim.  I have a picture but can't figure out how to get it off my phone onto my son's laptop (mine being lost in a box somewhere)
  • THEN I checked all the other tires and found 2 brand new Michelins with the sprues still on, rear tires on one side.  On the other - 2 tires that clearly had at least 3 or 4 times the mileage on the truck itself - truck had around 44k miles when we started, those tires did not have less than 150k miles on them.  One of the new tires was a little low which was exacerbating bad stretches of road.  If only I had checked all the tires before we left ...

At any rate we didn't get any clay.  We barely got the truck back in time.  U-haul (despite all the delays they caused because first they canceled our U-boxes and then they used junk tires for a long distance haul) threatened to SUE my son if he didn't get the truck back in time.  

So there was no time to stop for clay.  I think NM Clay is mad at me.  I did call and tell them after the first tire delay that we weren't going to make it.  I had hoped maybe we could make up the time but when the second retread shredded off the rim it was all over.  No way.  And I am now altogether carless because we had to sell my car rather than me driving it down here.  And also clayless.  I'm pretty sure we left the 50 lbs of Red Earthenware I still had behind, as well. (No I am NOT unpacked yet, not even started as we are waiting for paint and flooring in the new place)

I will say I am SUPER glad we weren't trying to haul my car when the second tire shredded off the rim.  My son was driving.  It would have been a problem even if *I* had been driving but with him driving it would almost certainly have been an accident in the making.  I love my son but long-haul trucking (even in a little 20' U-haul van) is not even remotely in his skill set.

Now I've had time to check everything out here I know I can't implement my original studio plans.  The cement pad out back is just that - a 3" thick pad with no foundation.  He had been assured it was a floating pad that had that underturn that is sort of a mini-foundation, which I could have built a small shed on.  It’s not.  It’s just a 3" thick 10x10 sheet of concrete. So the small bedroom in this 2br house will now be my pottery studio and I will figure a way to build over the pad out back just for the kiln and a pugmill.

That's assuming there is no reason NOT to keep the pugmill (mixing/de-airing sort) in the same space as the kiln (will still be roughly 10x10).

IS there any reason not to put a smallish mixing pugmill in with the kiln in that much space?

Second question: Given I now need a vehicle - I've typically only ever had either tiny or huge vehicles.  My last truck was a Dodge Ram and my last car was a Hyundai Accent.  I now need something in between because I can't afford an actual truck anymore.

 So I’m looking for suggestions for a mid sized vehicle that I can haul 700 or 800 lbs of clay in once a year that doesn’t get horrible horrible mileage and is fairly reliable. I’ll worry about cost later (used vehicles are sky high right now so regardless, I’ll be waiting until prices come back down some).

Suggestions for some vehicles typically useful to potters? 

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Sometimes checking commercial auctions for companies going out of business (covid and all that) can turn their loss into you gain. Check sites like bidspotter and the geographic area you are in. I have bought all my shop equipment that way and paid pennies on the dollar. Yes its a risk, but i havent been burned yet. Generally there a vehicles in the sale as well. My neighbor just picked up two f250's for the $4,000 - $5000 range and has had no issue with them.


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it sounds as though you are unhappy about a lot of things right now.   maybe you should not make a big decision until you have lived awhile in the nowhere you seem to dislike so much.

btw, 10x10 is not a big space if you have 2 things inside.  each needs support space, a place to put what goes into and comes out of each machine.

Edited by oldlady
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9 hours ago, Callie Beller Diesel said:

If you only need to haul clay a couple times a year, lots of rental companies have pickup trucks. No sense in owning something bigger than what you need most of the time. If you’re going to do shows or the like, minivans are inelegant, but do the job.

We routinely haul 1000 pounds of clay in a minivan (Chrysler Town and Country) with no issues as long as you don't put all the weight of the load in the very back.  Load in the middle to spread the weight over both front and rear suspension.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks to the folks actually trying to be helpful.

I also need to haul building supplies, animal feed, gardening supplies, and a wide range of things that don't normally fit well in the teensy cars I generally prefer to drive.  

Anybody ever put a roof rack on a minivan?  

Edited by Pyewackette
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You can, but the gas mileage devolves rapidly. They’re not especially aerodynamic to start with. You can haul small loads in a little open trailer, but minivan transmissions don’t like to drag things behind them for too long.

As far as putting a pug mill and a kiln in a 10x10 space, you’re not going to have a lot of room to work at either station. Can it be done? Yes. Will it be annoying? Also yes.

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Posted (edited)

For general hauling, that will all be local.  Not terribly concerned with mileage for short hops like that.  

The studio build is on hold for at least a year and I've given up on the mixer-pugmill idea.  Once I checked into it in detail that turned out not to be nearly as handy as it sounded.  We'll see about a much smaller de-airing pugmill - eventually.  I might not care so much about pugmills if I can reliably get out and haul a bit of clay when needed.  It also turns out that there IS red clay at the community studio, the guy I talked to just ... tried to pretend, shall we say, that there wasn't. Three times.  The stuff they have is perfectly suitable for burnishing (and in fact at least a couple of people have in fact used it for just that) so that makes a pugmill much much less useful/attractive.  

Right now I'm contemplating a way to manage a 1.5 cft test kiln in the garage.  Preferably with venting - if I'm going to "simulate" larger kiln conditions it doesn't seem very helpful not to vent.  Its brick so not running it out the side and I'm reluctant to run it through the roof for what I hope is a temporary situation.  Still cogitating and considering.  I have at least 3 other things to run out the roof - 2 bath fans that currently dump into the attic and adding a range vent so ... possibly its silly of me to hesitate to pierce the roof over the garage too.

I'm also reconsidering "normal" cars with a suitable roof rack for the odd haulage of lumber type stuff.  For internal cargo, my Hyundai Accent was rated for 950 lbs. Since that was the smallest car in their lineup its probably fair to assume that somewhat larger sedans of whatever make ought to get close to the 800 or so lbs (not counting me) I would typically max out at per load. I did load the Accent close to its limit on occasion (mostly hauling tile) and boy did it ride low so I am looking for excess capacity rather than going right up to the max.  I used to haul a kayak, skis, and/or bikes on my various hatchbacks and other small cars, but haven't hauled lumber that way since my 69 Fastback that had a solid steel roof LOL!  Not the same kind of loads.

I grok the loading criteria.  Even with a full size truck (I do miss that Ram with the full size bed) I watched the loaders like a hawk to keep them from loading it all on the tail.  I'm 100% sure they knew better but more than once at big box stores I've had to insist on proper load distribution and boy did they whine.  I just reminded them that there were (2 or 3) of them and one of (5'2") me and if I could unload it all by myself, they could certainly between the 2 or 3 of them properly load it LOL!  Real lumberyards never ever tried it on that way.

I won't ever again be building an entire house so those kinds of loads aren't in it for me any more but what I do need, I do want to be able to haul.  



Edited by Pyewackette
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You can find smaller trucks at estate sales that can carry a ton.   You have to get to the sale early,   when we bought our Dodge Dakota we found two other small trucks at estate sales.   They were already sold  but they gave us a good idea what we should pay.  Most of the trucks and cars at estate sales have low miles.   Face book is also a good place to find a bargain.    Denice

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I appreciate everyone has parameters to work within. Personally (and professionally as a metal fab guy) i hate roof racks. I have had lots of people ask for repairs to their cars due to tears from the racks. Granted there are many types but they are all pulling against something structural on the body. Being up high, the stress increases, vehicles can become top heavy and in wind guests can become quite exciting to drive. not to mention just a pita to load\unload. I also ride motorcycles and was following a guy in Va that launched one of his kayak off his suv roof. As it went sailing past my head, i thought, wow that was interesting. So to the last reason i hate em is you can't see your load. It was 3 miles until i could catch the guy to let him know he lost a boat.

I would instead, look at a small pull behind utility trailer. Many vehicles can be fitted to tow them, they are inexpensive and will haul more and make loading\unloading easier (not to mention flexible to switch out vehicles down the road).

Edited by MadMetal
being my own speling nazi
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