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ca commercial cone 6 bodies for throwing

updated mon 6 oct 03


Charles Moore on sun 5 oct 03

Hello, Maurice,

Living in Sacramento, I have had the chance to try a number of clays made by
the clay companies you mention.

Quyle's clay is not really ^6 clay; it begins to mature at ^8 and can be
fired at least to ^10. Their Sandstone Buff is a beautiful clay to work
with, but will allow moisture to seep at ^6.

Aardvark makes a ^6 called (I think) Arctic White. A friend tiled her
bathroom with it; this clay holds up well for that work. It also throws
well, but it is a bit too groggy for my taste.

Laguna makes a huge list of ^5-6 clays. One very popular one is B-Mix 5, a
white clay with a porcelain-like texture. Though I have friends who swear
by it, I find it produces a lot of "slush" as I throw. It is fine grained
and somewhat prone to cracking.

Laguna's Half and Half has more tooth to it. I prefer it over B-Mix 5.
(One of my B-Mix 5 friends finds to too gritty.) It throws extremely well.

Laguna makes available "Clay Sample Kits"--each featuring several different
clays organized by colors: reds to browns, white to gray, etc.

Claymaker: I have only used a couple of their ^10 clays for workshops in the
San Jose area, so I do not know what they produce in ^6.

IMCO: Since I live only 7 miles north of IMCO, I am especially pleased that
my favorite iron-bearing clay--"1-C"--is so handy. It fires a beautiful
toasty tan.

IMCO's 50-50 mix is a slightly denser, darker clay. I find it a little
stiffer to throw, but would recommend it anyway.

IMCO's Cone 6 Porcelain fires quite white in oxidation. It is a bit
"short", however, making it difficult to throw large pieces. I use it for
slab work.

Hope this helps.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Maurice Weitman"
Sent: Saturday, October 04, 2003 2:52 PM
Subject: commercial cone 6 bodies for throwing

> Howdy,
> I'd appreciate any of your recent experiences with commercial clay
> bodies at ^6 ox, and any recommendations for any other bodies for
> throwing that are available on the left coast. (Aardvark, Claymaker,
> Imco, and Laguna, and Quyle are commonly available here.)
> In making the shift from cone 10 reduction to cone 6 ox, I've been
> using MC6G as a guide. So, a bonus for me, if you've had any good
> results with cone 6 bodies using the glazes in John and Ron's
> Mastering Cone 6 Glazes, that'd be most helpful.
> Unfortunately, the (Standard Ceramics) bodies they use in their tests
> and samples are only available east of Ohio. (I quote Ron's response
> to my query to him at the end of this message.)
> Many folks around here have recommended Imco's Navajo Wheel as a good
> throwing clay. But Bill Abright told me that Navajo Wheel was a
> great throwing clay, but would bloat at cone 6. And in searching the
> archives, I found one reference to Navajo Wheel bloating at cone 6.
> Eric Struck, Imco's tech support told me that despite their online
> catalog listing their Navajo Wheel bodies as being recommended for
> cone 5, "... Navajo Wheel clays work well at cone 6. The shrinkage
> and absorption should be just about the same but slightly higher
> shrinkage and slightly
> lower absorption. Navajo Wheel is a very red clay and at cone 6 it
> will fire brown."
> Some folks have had good things to say about Imco's cone 6 porcelain
> body, and Craig Martell has kindly sent me his suggestions for
> formulating my own cone 6 porcelain.
> Thanks for your help.
> Regards,
> Maurice
> Here's RR's response:
> >Choosing a clay body is not easy - you must decide what is the most
> >important thing - workability (includes drying), colour, and how it
> >fits your glazes.
> >
> >Most clay manufactures don't test their clays - it would be a big
> >help if they did because you could eliminate those that did not leak
> >at whatever cone you decided to fire at.
> >
> >Ask on ClayArt - what bodies people who live near you have found
> >that work well at cone 6 - make sure to ask if any of them have
> >tested for shrinkage and absorbency.
> >
> >Buy a few different ones - that will mature at the temperature you
> >decide to fire at - I assume that is cone 6.
> >
> >Start throwing them and make some test pieces to use with our glazes
> >in chapter five - to test for expansion - you will then have a good
> >idea which clays will work with our glazes.
> >
> >As soon as you get the clays make test bars of each - about 4. Let
> >me know if you need my instructions for testing for shrinkage and
> >absorbency.
> >
> >You decide - white stoneware - or buff or brown - with grog or
> >without - maybe porcelain. Porcelain is harder to work with so maybe
> >stoneware to start with.
> >
> >Take a close look at the glaze in our book - some work with
> >stoneware better than porcelain and others will look better on
> >porcelain.
> >
> >You want to start with a clay that will hold water - that is for
> >sure - and there are many that don't so use that as a main criteria.
> Thanks.
> Regards,
> Maurice
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