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Drying mugs in front of a fan in 2 hours. No Cracks.

These are Plainsman Coffee Clay. They, and the handles, were made on the wheel about half an hour ago, then stiffened enough in front of the fan to enable handle attachment. Coffee Clay is plastic and will crack if pieces are not dried evenly. But if they are dried evenly, there is no problem. The handles were waxed after they were attached (leaving only a thin section on the inside where some water could escape). This slowed them down, otherwise they would have dried far ahead of the body. They went in the kiln and were ready for glazing the next morning.

Friday 8th March 2019

Black and white cone 6 brushing glazes were easy to make

We started by adding 500 grams of the G2926B Whiteware base clear to 250g of water and 100g of Laguna gum solution. It was possible to stir all the powder in without a mixer. There were a few lumps left but they broke down overnight (yielding about 550 ml at 1.58 specific gravity). For the black we added 30g more of Mason 6666 stain (6%) and for white 50g of zircopax (10%). This increased the specific gravity to 1.63, higher than pretty well any commercial brushing glaze (if needed, there is plenty of room to add water to thin it for better application properties). The black recipe costs about 1.37 cents/ml for us to make (compared to Amaco C-1 Obsidian @ 3.92 cents/ml to buy). But the situation gets even better: If we were to add enough water to bring the specific gravity down to the 1.4 of C-1 there would be far more than 550ml.

Sunday 3rd March 2019

Same glaze/body. One fired flawless, the other dimpled, pinholes. Why?

The difference is a slow-cool firing. Both mugs are Plainsman M340 and have a black engobe inside and partway down on the outside. Both were dip-glazed with the GA6-B amber transparent and fired to cone 6. The one on the right was fired using the PLC6DS drop-and-hold schedule. That eliminated any blisters, but some pinholes remained. The one on the left was fired using the C6DHSC slow-cool schedule. That differs in one way: It cools at 150F/hr from 2100F to 1400F (as opposed to a free-fall). It is amazing how much this improves the brilliance and surface quality (not fully indicated by this photo, the mug on the left is much better).

Sunday 3rd March 2019

Possible to grind your own ceramic grade rutile?

Yes, the granular and powdered grades are the same material. But grinding it is very difficult. Commercial ceramic grade powder is minus 325 mesh, the companies doing this obviously have very good grinding equipment. They also have patience because even in this efficient porcelain ball mill, 90 minutes was only enough to get 50% to minus 325 mesh! The color of the powder is a good indication of its quality, the finer the grind the lighter will be the tan coloration.

Saturday 2nd March 2019

Stunning black silky matte glaze at cone 6

This contains 6% Mason 6600 black stain (Mason 6666 gives dark brown, don't use it). The base recipe, G2934, is an excellent balanced-chemistry host for a wide range of stains to produce equally stunning reds, yellows, oranges, etc. The fritted version of the recipe, G2934Y, provides an even better host. This glaze is affected by the clay it is on. The body on the right is highly vitreous, this has produced a finer texture that glistens in the light. The body on the left is a whiteware having 1% porosity (Plainsman M370). Firing schedule is also a factor, slower cooling will dull the color more. We use the PLC6DS firing schedule.

Wednesday 27th February 2019

Black engobed M340 stoneware with GA6-B Alberta Slip glaze

Hand built. Cone 6 drop-and-hold PLC6DS firing. The engobe is the L3954B base recipe with added Mason 6600 black stain, it was applied at the leather hard stage inside and part way down the outside. The GA6-B glaze enhances the black under it. By Tony Hansen.

Friday 22nd February 2019

Mix a whole bag of G2926B whiteware clear glaze

When you mix it right it will be thixotropic, that is, it will gel slightly and hold itself on the ware after dipping. This state can only be achieved if there is enough water for the epsom salts to do their magic. The watery nature of the slurry is nice for measuring specific gravity using a hydrometer (normally they don't float freely enough if the slurry is creamy). We normally recommend a specific gravity of 1.44 for this glaze, but in this case it seemed watery enough at 1.46. On use it will become clear if 1.46 is OK. How? It will go on the ware too thick. If that happens just add water to 1.44 and add more epson salts to gel it back up.

Friday 22nd February 2019

Here is how M340 should behave

You should be able to bend it and stretch it like you see here without any issues. If you are having problems, then please tell us how your experience is different than what you see here.

Friday 22nd February 2019

Making your own ceramic rutile

Left: GA6-C rutile blue glaze on a brown stoneware. The 4% ceramic rutile powder gives the blue variegated effect. Right: We ball-milled our granular rutile and then screened it down to 325 mesh and put that into the same glaze. The results are the same. So if any of your rutile glazes ever lose this effect with a new supply of the material the cause could be that it has not been milled sufficiently fine. Finer rutile powders are browner in color.

Friday 22nd February 2019

Three visual glaze mechanisms make this piece unique

"Mechanisms" are specifics about the glaze application or preparation process, the materials, the chemistry or firing schedule that produce a specific visual effect. This is fired at cone 10R. It is made from a buff stoneware, Plainsman H550, and has L3954N black engobe on the inside and part way down the outside. The transparent glaze on the inside gives the black a deep vibrant effect. The outside glaze is g2571a with 3.5% rutile and 10% zircopax added (the latter imparts opacity and the former produces the variegated surface). The powerful color of the black engobe wants to get through but it is only able to do so where the glaze layer is thinner (producing the varied shades of brown with differing thicknesses of glaze that occur because of the presence of the incised design).

Saturday 16th February 2019

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