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I've got an upcoming project where using borax may become desirable.  I'm still in the proof of concept stage, but borax's cheapness, easy access, strong fluxing action, and low melting temps is of great appeal to me for this particular project.  

 

Something that has kept me from using it in preference for boron-containing frits is its solubility.  Conventional wisdom from places like digitalfire (e.g. here, where borax decahydrate is used in raku glazes)  says that borax can be used as a glaze ingredient as long as you use the glaze you mix immediately.  Is this because borax is partially soluble or is it completely soluble?  What are the consequences of using old borax glazes that have been sitting around?  I realize that soluble salts like soda ash migrate to the surface, but can this effect be mitigated through a careful firing schedule?

 

I realize that I should just suck it up and do some tests and I'll be doing a number of test tiles after my next work trip, but I'm eager for a little direction into where I should put my energies in testing.

 

 

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I use borax in one glaze that can have the nasty habit of crawling. It's not due to clay but the borax. It will also act like soda ash on evaporation, making a crust up the side of a container holding the glaze but.... It can make some great effects.

 

I try to use that glaze in the bottom of a pot and layer another glaze on top and not use it on the verticals.

Don't use 20 muleteam borax, it seems to have other stuff that makes glazes spit.

Other than that, it can be great.................or not :)

Wyndham

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The borax you should have around from your knife making days should work.  I have used it in the past.  I had problems with very small volcano-like explosions as the water came out of the glaze. It spit on things around it.  I never tried to put a second glaze over the top.  And it was early in my pottery experience,so the spitting it may have happened because my ramp speed was too high.

 

Jed   

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I use 20 mule team for my forge welding and it spits quite a bit when I use it.  Anhydrous is what you're supposed to use, but I don't know anyone who doesn't use the stuff in the grocery aisle.  

 

I get the feeling I should track down some anhydrous and use that in glazes, maybe it will keep the spitting to a minimum.

 

Thanks for your help, guys!

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My catalog is at home and I don't know without looking.  I will have to pull it out.  I haven't done spincasting or silverwork for almost 7 years.  My middle son and I would do it.  It was my way of building bonds.  He has since gone off to college and has no room or time. So I have all of the equipment waiting for him to settle down.... Once he is settled, then he gets all of the silversmithing equipment.  My other son has the forges, blades,  and anvil.  We got into blademaking together.  Same Idea...I support their interest, help with equipment and they get a skill/art they can continue in their life. 

 

I'll look this evening when I get home.

 

Jed

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Mark, that glaze is older than I am!

 

Jed, the yellow ochre was for Leach's "Old Yellow Seto" from "A Potter's Book"  I got mine from an artist's supply that specialized in natural pigments.  I got it an a few other colours to play with colour wood finishes in my mid 20's.  I wasn't happy with the glaze, so the jar of pigment sits unused.

 

It's really good of you to support your sons in their interests.  I'll bet it's made for some great memories. :)

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 If I remember correctly , Anhydrous Borax is just 20 mule team with less water.

I kept an open jar of Borax on our wood stove in the winter, that dried it out. I then put it in a new paint can to keep it dry. When I ran the forge every day I kept the borax dry on the forge hood.

Worked like a champ compared to 20 mule team straight from the box.

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  • 5 years later...

Out of one of my books or online I got a formula for a clear borax transparent gloss cone 6 glaze  It was a simple borax (grocery store) epk cmc& bentonite recipe I mixed it up and it worked great when I brushed on 2 coats(not heavy ) and swilled inside my outside was underglaze decorated  and it worked great  That was over a year ago and the container now seemed very thin (watery ) so a few minutes  after I applied it it began to bubble and flake of some areas So I cleaned it all off dried the pcs and applied a store bought glaze from potters supply house

I didnt want to risk the borax glaze . The bought glaze recommended 3 brushed coats so thats what I applied over my undergalze bisque ware  TRAGEDY  3 coats far to much and work went into trash   can However the 3 little pcs I glazed with the borax glaze came out perfect clear and glass shiny

My problem is I cant find where I wrote recipe down So if any one here is familiar with that recipe please let me know  In the meantime I will search my many ceramic books 

CHEERS    Ken Melbourne 

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Hi Ken!

From Hansen's website, "Raw sources of boron (like Borax) are soluble and thus not suitable in glazes (which are suspensions of particles). There are some raw mineral sources, like Gerstley Borate, Colemanite and Ulexite. However these materials have various issues that must be tolerated to use them effectively..."

Committed to mid range (cone 5-6), boron is important to my glazes! ...however, not looking to  borax as a source. I'm using Gerstley Borate and frits.

As for the two recipes - one works, the other does not - well, that's a good ratio! ...might take more than two tries to find the next fit.

You might start with a recipe from a reliable source that has a good chance of being close to a fit; advantage being, you know what's what, and hence can adjust, moving forward. With store bought, we don't know what we're getting, and can't adjust effectively. 

A recipe including borax, epk, bentonite +cmc may or may not match what you have left. 

What clay and underglaze are you using? 

If you haven't yet found Tony Hansen's trove of information, here's a place to start - from there, perhaps peruse recipes, articles...

https://digitalfire.com/4sight/library/thixotropy_and_how_to_gel_a_ceramic_glaze_73.html

 

Edited by Hulk
forgot to say Hi!
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