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fixing a pit-fired platter

updated thu 1 nov 01


Cindy Strnad on mon 29 oct 01

Dear Deborah,

I'm not sure what kind of effect you're looking
for here. Some people "touch up" colors they don't
like with black shoe polish, or so I hear. I
haven't tried it, but I would think that on porous
pit fired work which will be used for its
decorative value alone, this would be a fairly
permanent process. I wouldn't recommend any
attempt to conceal the crack. You can repair it by
filling with some decorative substance. Gold
powder has recently been recommended for repair of
a tea bowl. The gold is mixed with lacquer. If I
were attempting to repair this crack, I would mix
bronze powder (I couldn't find gold anywhere) with
epoxy glue and use a syringe (sans needle) to
inject it into the crack. The syringe will be
ruined. They're widely and cheaply available here
at feed stores, but if you can't find one, ask
your vet for one. Get one with a small tip.

After all this, I would want to apply some sort of
finishing coat to ensure the permanence of the
repairs. I think I would go with a satin matte
acrylic craft spray, but experiment first. Some
waxes can get a little shiny and may be less
permanent, however you may find one that suits
you. Whatever you choose, make sure you apply a
very thin coat.

I'm afraid you're going to find it extremely
difficult to get a large flat platter to survive a
pit firing. Some suggestions:

Heat the platter gradually in a kiln or oven
before placing it into the pit.

Make sure no wood will fall onto the platter.

Do not make the platter too thinly, but be
sure that whatever its thickness, that
thickness is uniform.

Fire up the pit gradually--no sudden increases
of heat.

You can always change the color of your pit-fired
pieces by refiring them, however I doubt your
platter would survive a second go.

Best wishes,

Cindy Strnad
Earthen Vessels Pottery
RR 1, Box 51
Custer, SD 57730

Deborah Britt on wed 31 oct 01


Thanks for the ideas. I went back and read the threads on repairing
teabowls and I'm excited about trying it. I'll do some tests with shoe
polish and let you know. I found some "Rub 'n Buff" wax metallic finish at
ArtMart which I'm going to try as well. Appreciate the tips!

Deborah Britt