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RuegerPottery19

Pre-Mixed Clay Consistency?

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Hey guys, I buy my clay pre-mixed and am still trying to figure out a semi-consistent way to soften the clay, considering it is often a little stiff for my taste straight out of the box. 

 

Do you guys temper your pre-mixed clay to soften it? If so, what method do you use?

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if I need to use it pretty quick, I take and cut it off the block about 1'' thick and give it a 5 to 10 minute soak... I have brought back totally dry bagged clay by quartering it then fill the bag with water like Benzine said... I have to soak this Moon White were using now, it has some additives in it and its like leather out of the bag, got 250 lbs of it like that... I like throw dry but not leather , break your wrist centering LOL...

 

I thought Tempering a clay body was to help thermal shock as Temper is Grog? adding Grog to help hold it together /strength/ less shrinkage/better thermal shock properties..

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This trick had been posted on the forum before ... pour about 1 cup of water into bag. Close bag and place in a 5 gallon bucket. Fill the bucket with water until the clay is submerged. 24 to 48 hours later, the clay will be nice and soft. The pressure from the water outside the bag will force the water inside the bag to distribute throughout the clay.

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I order most of my clay mixed the way I want on a pent.meter from Laguna in 1 ton lots-that way you can order it the way you want it..Pent of #6 is pretty soft the standard is 6 1/4.

Now as far as softening it-if its stomeware I squeeze a small sponge worth of water twice into the bag reseal it and twice a day I rotate it -after the next day I rebox it and put it away-when I need it its perfect. The small sponge saturated in water is another way to measure how much water it takes-for me this is usually enough-1 cup is a lot of water-unless the pug is bone dry. I tend to do this with hundreds of #s worth so the bucket is to small for me.

If its porcelain its takes longer to absorb water.

Mark

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I buy smaller quantities nowadays compared to Mark. I might buy 500-1000. If it feels stiff I drop it on concrete in the bag. I drop it onto all six sides. That softens my clay. I think sometimes some additive in commercial clays make it a little thixotropic. Shaking it up seems to loosen it up.It feels much softer after throwing it on the ground several times.

 

 

Marcia

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Mark, maybe porcelain is different, but for a 25lb bag of slightly-too-hard stoneware, a cup of water is the right amount. After you do this enough times, you can gauge your clay and use a little less or a little more when needed.

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If your working with C5/6 clay it is especially important to slam the bag of clay on the concrete to loosen it, next time I come across a really hard bag I am going to try Mea's method.  Denice

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