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glazing and kiln shelves

updated tue 30 apr 96


Don Jung on fri 26 apr 96

Hi there clayarters, it's been very enjoyable as well as educational to
be a part of this electronic meeting of the minds.

With a little help, I thought, why not... maybe there's a better way...
I'm part of a community pottery studio that's supported entirely with
volunteer efforts. It's been progressing well enough from the sparse
days of just a few potter wannabes to a steady flow now. It's great to
get all this interest, but it's still just a few of us that are into the
technical stuff and do the glazes, fire the kilns and try to keep things
going smoothly. Glazing and kiln shelves are becoming problematic (among
other things). I'm wondering if anyone has suggestions on how to make
life easier? I'm basically a lazy sod when it comes to mundane labor but
I'm scraping kiln shelves, loading/unloading, posting big notes to clean
up, glaze properly...spending more time and doing less pots...I must be
doing something wrong.
The kiln shelves are really taking a beating with the exploratory glazing
that everyone wants to do. I've given up on getting the offender to
clean off the shelf properly...they end up breaking the shelf in half.
There's also no permanent studio manager and everyone comes and goes
freely, so communicating is tough as well. It would be really wonderful
if there are a few techniques or tricks that would help lessen the load,
enforce some good habits, educate the masses and hopefully leave me with
more time.
I've resorted to taking power tools (carbide tipped auto grinders) to
clean off the shelves...I swore last time never again...but like an old
record, well, just once more. Also can I flip them over to use the
flatter unscraped/unpitted side as the top, since there were some
complaints (the nerve of ...) that pieces were coming out with uneven
bottoms. With some help, never again...again.

thx Don & Donna

in Vancouver Canada, where liquid sunshine is just overflowing. on fri 26 apr 96

>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>Hi there clayarters, it's been very enjoyable as well as educational to
>be a part of this electronic meeting of the minds.
>With a little help, I thought, why not... maybe there's a better way...
.. It would be really wonderful
>if there are a few techniques or tricks that would help lessen the load,
>enforce some good habits (the nerve of ... With some help, never
>thx Don & Donna

You'll undoubtedly get lots of response to your question(s), but among
possible helps are: Tell everyone who uses an untested glaze, or one they
KNOW runs, that they must put a bisqued plate/saucer shape beneath the piece
to fire it. Alternatively, I sometimes roll out a really thin piece of clay
(REALLY thin) and just cover the whole shelf with it, as one might cover a
kitchen shelf, and place student work on that when I suspect that they've
glazed things randomly and in a fog; or I can see that there is an
inordinate amount of glaze on there. They don't always follow instruction,
and some of them are prone to break shelves when scraping. In any case I've
had no problems using the raw clay as a shelf-liner, and it has saved a
goodish mess now and again. Of course that won't solve everything, but it
is quicker than sanding. Perhaps if there were some penalty for such
messes: buying a new shelf, if they can't properly repair from glaze
disasters? Refusal to fire their work? Those appeal to me most, but it
ain't my co-op.........

Dannon Rhudy on fri 26 apr 96

About the glaze drips, someone posted a message a while back about this.
The suggestion was to put silica on the drip and in the next firing it would
absorb the glaze and be able to be removed. You could put a bed of grog for
questionable pieces to be fired on or alumina hydrate or silica. Even in the
gas kiln with its turbulence, I didn't have a problem with it blowing around.

Ithaca, NY

Louis Howard Katz on sat 27 apr 96

How to make life easier? Not sure. Adding a bit of fine silica sand to
your wash recipe seems to facilitate getting a thiker coat on the
shelves. It may not be appropriate if you make wide forms, as it might
incourage the pots to hang up on the wash during cooling and crack,
although I haven't notice this.
We have a shelf cleaning "table" with a 1 1/2" thick bed of sand in it.
If you place a shelf to be cleaned in the bed of sand and slide it around
it becomes supported evenly underneath by the sand. This makes cleaning
much less risky. Perhaps you should lower your firing temperature a bit?

*Louis Katz *
*Texas A&M University Corpus Christi *
*6300 Ocean Drive, Art Department *
*Corpus Christi, Tx 78412 *
*Phone (512) 994-5987 *