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clay per axner clays

updated sat 16 feb 02


Axner Co. on thu 14 feb 02

Howard Axner here, responding to the bad press on a couple of =
postings regarding our clay. To begin, I am always grateful to get =
feedback on our clay, any of our other products, our service, etc. =
My goal is to achieve excellence in all of these areas. In order to =
reach that goal I need feedback. Having been in business for nearly =
25 years I have learned a lot and heard a lot and I believe this has =
helped Axner Pottery Supply to make great progress in our quest for =

We have in place an excellent quality control system for our clay. =
This does not mean that we never had a bad batch of clay go out, we =
have. But our quality control has brought this down to a minimum and =
we have made good on the few times when we released a bad batch. =
Some problems are caused by factors other than clay including glaze =
and firing techniques. In the case of the two recent posts, I do not =
know the cause of the problems. We do have test records on all of =
our past clay batches and we do retain our actual test bars for quite =
a long time. Thus, if I can get the batch numbers (every box has one =
on it) we can go back and review each batch's shrinkage, absorption =
rate and color. These are good indicators of clay being in or out of =
specification. A third factor is subjectivity. While I understand =
that cracking and cratering are not subjective, other aspects of clay =
are, which can explain why various potters may prefer various clay =
bodies. We try to account for this by offering a very wide range of =
clay bodies.

I do not dispute that the two contributors had bad experiences when =
using our clay. Again, I do not know for sure that it was our clay =
that caused these problems but I accept that as a real possibility. =
I am having these situations looked into further and I hope to learn =
something from them. I am nonetheless convinced that we put out an =
excellent clay body with great consistency, and these are some of the =
reasons behind that claim:

=80Many of the reasons I am sure of our clay are due to taking the =
advice of Ron Roy. I hired Ron as our clay consultant right from the =
very beginning and he consults us on our clay's today. So, my first =
point is that Axner has very high quality on-going consultation.

=80Axner Clay bodies are well formulated. Ron Roy formulated the =
vast majority of our bodies. The others were formulated by, or with =
the help of other prominent potters such as Linda Arbuckle, Steve =
Howell, Tony Hansen and Nan Smith.
=80We use high quality ingredients and we do not substitute. The =
only reason we change our formulas is if the ingredients change from =
the mines. And then, we only change our formations enough to achieve =
the same clay body that we had before. We always do this under the =
guidance of Ron Roy.
=80Per the advice of Ron Roy, we have always screened all of our =
ingredients before they go into our mixer.
=80We do test every batch of clay after it is made, again, per the =
guidelines of Ron Roy.
=80Finally, we have made many millions of pounds of clay and the vast =
majority of our feedback has been excellent.

Any of you are welcome to contact me personally at "".

Paul Gerhold on fri 15 feb 02

Dear Howard,
It would be very instructive if you would post your testing procedures for
raw materials and finished clay. Sampling procedures for raw materials would
be of interest since that is usually where problems arise.

I notice that you screen your raw materials . Is this before or after mixing
and what screen size do you use.

Paul-who is always on the lookout for better suppliers.