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clean feet!

updated fri 31 may 96


Bob Stryker on thu 2 may 96

Another industrial production device that removes glaze but does not involve
waxing is called a differential belt. This device has two side by side
sponge foam covered belts (not unlike two foam covered grocery store
check-out belts!) synchronized so one belt moves slghtly faster than the
other. Underneath the device, both belts travel through a reservoir of
water to clean and moisten the foam surface. When a piece is set on the
seam of the two belts, the "differential" speeds of the two belts cause the
piece to rotate and the friction of the damp foam removes the glaze.

I'm sure that these devices are a bit on the spendy side, but the principle
can be adapted for the studio by simply applying sponge foam to a bat,
moistening it, and allowing the slow turning of the wheel to remove the
glaze while you hold the piece stationary. I have found that this is okay
for short runs, 20 or fewer pieces, but you may want several of these on
hand if you're doing a lot of cleaning because they fill up with glaze
pretty quickly.

I normally use glaze tongs when I dip. After I've dipped the piece, and
while I'm holding it upside-down over the glaze bucket for several seconds
while the glaze sets up - I take a sponge with my free hand and give the
foot a quick swipe or two with a sponge. This does not normally remove all
the glaze, but it makes it very easy to clean the piece a second time around
before loading into a kiln.

The other technique I've used in small production settings is solid block
wax (parafin, I believe) placed in an electric frying pan. You melt enough
wax to cover the foot area, dip the piece gently(!) into the hot wax, and
squeegee the excess off the bottom using the edge of the pan. If you splash
the wax on the piece - re-bisque it. If you don't squeegee the excess wax
off, the piece will weld itself to a ware board. This of course can be
amusing: Amaze your friends with your ability to carry a board of goblets

Bob Stryker