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Pleased with your Purchase of a Peter Pugger?

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I'm just a "hobbyist" potter but I get so much enjoyment out it that I don't deny myself any pottery related equipment I fancy.  And so, I have decided to buy a Peter Pugger.  But I 'm not entirely sure what to expect in terms of its use.  I assume its basic value to me will be in:

1. allowing easy recycling of clay, and

2. easier throwing with less wrist strain in that I can pug the hard, dry clay I so often get from the supplier.

What do you "pugger" owners like and dislike about your puggers and how do they help or alter your studio routines? 


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You can make firm clay soft-you can reclaim your clay-you could make your own clay from raw ingredients.

For me after two hand surgeries the soft aspect is the best.

I use two peter puggers-one for my porcelain reclaim and softening a VPM30

and one for mixing two bodies -Daves porcelain and 1/2 and 1/2 for flat wares like baking dishes and ovalm platters-its a SSVPM 20

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i like my bailey pugger.   one of the first bailey made, not complicated to use, fits against the wall out of the way, produces clay of just the correct consistency that i like.   clay out of the bag goes into the slab roller, pugged to the wheel.

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1 hour ago, Crooked Lawyer Potter said:

Does the pugging eliminate the need to wedge?

Do you run your new bagged clay thru the pugger as a matter of routine?

Yes no need to wedge vacuum clay for me out of the mixer.

I do not usually run new clay thu it unless its to hard and I want softer clay.

I order my clay in 1 ton amouts and usally order softer clay as well as normal as I like several mosture contents to have around for different forms

by the way both my peter puggers where bought used

Edited by Mark C.
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I have been using a Peter Pugger model VPM-9 since 2007, and it has been incredibly reliable for the most part.  I have found their technical support to be very responsive on the rare occasions that I have needed them.  I don't know how many tons of reclaimed clay I have put through it.  I have also used it as a power extruder with the die sets they sell.

My unit did die two weeks ago.  I pugged out one batch first thing in the morning, loaded a second batch in the hopper and started it running. came back a bit later, and it was non-responsive.  Talking with tech support it was determined that the electronic control board had failed.  I'm getting an upgraded control board sent out, and hope to have it soon.  They emailed me the instruction for replacing the electronics, and I have to say it is the most complete and clearest instruction for equipment repair I've ever seen.

I'd have preferred the board to not have failed, but after 14 years of heavy use,  I can live with the fact that things eventually wear out.  I have not regretted purchasing the Peter Pugger.

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I have the 20ss model and it has been the best pottery purchase I have made.  I mix different commercial clays and switch out between cone 10 (wood fired) and cone 6 every few months.  I can adjust the mixture for the day's throwing according to how soft I want it and the consistent 3" pug allows me to cut regular sizes easily for repeated throwing.  I add in whatever scrap (does not matter if wet, dry, or anywhere in between) and usually let that sit in the mixer overnight just to even things out.  

I have mixed some clays from scratch, but it is very finicky and i generally avoid it.  There are better ways to mix from scratch. 

There is a slight learning curve, especially when adding water to avoid the spins. 

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probably spinning  the harder clay inside much wetter clay because of added water all at once.  just imagine it for a second, the machine is working fine, sending the clay down the tube at a consistent speed and consistency when suddenly extra water is added.   that water cannot be instantly absorbed by what is already moving so the friction established is upset resulting in spinning the contents in place for a time until the machine can restore its equilibrium.  

lesson, don't pour water into the hopper,  just add alternately drier and wetter pieces.   the pugmill can be used with the same clay repeatedly until it is the way you like best.

Edited by oldlady
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The "spins" is well described in the above two posts.  sometimes even adding it slowly on the left as Mark suggests is not enough.  It can help to get the chamber really full and then close the lid but don't lock it.  The clay will slowly push the lid open and then you can restart the mixing. 

the pug-mill is a vastly underrated tool.  It was a real pain when I would have to try to add water to clay bags and then let them sit for a month or so to even out the moisture,  You are then stuck working with whatever stiffness you have for whatever you want to throw.  Then you either throw out your scrap or spend a lot of time and space reclaiming. 

It can improve your work in other ways too.  It is nice to know that is something does not turn out the way you want, you can just throw the clay back into the next batch. 

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On 9/13/2021 at 10:57 AM, Crooked Lawyer Potter said:

Can one of you come explain all this to my wife.  She is going to be very upset when she sees what this Peter Pugger costs.  :0 

Estimate the amount of time you would spend manually reclaiming scrap in a year, subtract the amount of time it would take to reclaim using the pugger, and multiply by your hourly rate as an attorney, which is, after all, what your time is worth.  You should see a fairly quick ROI.

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