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How Strong Is Unfired Clay?


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I have several unfired, clay pieces that are too thick to fire for fear of explosions, at least at Cone 6 which I have access to.

What can I use to harden the surface and to make it look bronzed?  I tried to order from Bronzee but they did not fulfill the order, must be closed.

I would like to have a hardening coat for protection then be able to paint it or use another medium to make it look bronzed.

Any ideas?  Would appreciate the help.  During Covid, I took a large 25 lb of white clay and carved a large, chunky figure out of it.  Now my teacher says it is too thick to fire safely.

Thank you,  Janet

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I'ld try a test piece of dry clay with Rub 'n Buff on the bare dry clay. It's fairly inexpensive and has good coverage. You can also use more than one colour of it to get tonal variations if that's something you are looking for. Rub 'n Buff is wax based so it should be safer than using a water based finished.

Welcome to the forum :)

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  • 11 months later...
On 10/6/2020 at 1:44 PM, Janet - Chattanooga said:

I have several unfired, clay pieces that are too thick to fire for fear of explosions, at least at Cone 6 which I have access to.

What can I use to harden the surface and to make it look bronzed?  I tried to order from Bronzee but they did not fulfill the order, must be closed.

I would like to have a hardening coat for protection then be able to paint it or use another medium to make it look bronzed.

Any ideas?  Would appreciate the help.  During Covid, I took a large 25 lb of white clay and carved a large, chunky figure out of it.  Now my teacher says it is too thick to fire safely.

Thank you,  Janet

You have adobe. Add straw and a little asplalt emulsion and you have stabilized adobe used in kiva fireplaces here.

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Is it xompletelyvdry.

Could carve out inside of sculpture from bottom

Or get a long drill bit and hand "drill"lots of holes up into sculpture , can be easier to carve out with these holes or just drill holes, and keep in warm room, air circulating every surface for some time

Should be able to dry it out.

But unless you have control of the firing...very slow bisque with candling  overnight etc then it would be unpredictable.

Why is your school going from greenware to cone 6 in firing schedule?

Got a pic so we can seecwhat is doable?

Guess there is a time line.

Burnish and wax?

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