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dryer lint for paperclay

updated wed 9 sep 98


Ditmar/Gayle on tue 1 sep 98

If anyone's interested in trying dryer lint, just check at your local
laundromat, or at a commercial laundry. That's the business our family was
in, and believe me, I would have given anyone interested a ton of the
Try to find out what most of the dried items are made of. If there's a high
percentage of polyester lint, it may not wick as well as cotton or other
natural fibers.

From Alohaland, Ditmar.

Fred Paget on tue 8 sep 98

A while back one of you asked if dryer lint would make good raw material
to make paperclay. Being an experimenter, I tried it and it is pretty nasty
I used a bucket of cone 10 porcelain scrap clay and mixed in about 30
percent dryer lint by volume plus a good deal of water, soaked it a while,
and beat it with a propeller type paint mixer in a drill until it was good
and smooth. Then I poured it out into plaster drying trays and dried it
till it was workable.
There are a lot of threads and hair, both human and dog in the lint I had
and the fibers are pretty long. They bunch up and make lumps and knots.
They wrap around the mixer shaft and they make the clay pretty hard to cut
or work easily. They do make it really strong though. I made a dragon and a
kiln God by hand and tried to throw a bottle and a bowl with the rest of
the clay.
It was hard to sculpt as the fiber was in the way all the time.
It can be thrown easily at the first stage as long as you are fast but if
you try to thin it down below about 3/8 of an inch it gets balky. The fiber
won't move and the clay slip starts to come out to the surface leaving the
fiber behind. Then it collapses or twists off.
On the second try I got a good bowl but with heavy walls.
I took it right out into the hot sun and put it to dry on the brick mantle
of my outdoor fireplace. It was on the hot bricks in the direct sun. It
dried in fine shape with no cracking. The dragon and kiln God went out in
the sun too. The legs started to fall off the dragon so I put them back on
with p-slip and it was then ok.
Trimming the base of the bowl was impossible with conventional tools. I had
to use a sapphire trimming tool that is razor sharp - something I have made
out of an arc tube from a sodium street light bulb.
Haven't fired them yet as it will be a while before I accumulate a kiln
load. Bet it will really stink when all that hair, wool and other fiber
burns out!
I don't advise the use of this stuff I think it will just be a waste of
time. There are a lot of knots and threads imbedded in the bowl that are
going to burn out and leave pits and holes in the surface. Sort of a mess.

From Fred Paget, in marvelous Marin County, California, USA