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Conquer the Glaze Dragon With Digitalfire INSIGHT Glaze Chemistry Software

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Focused on ceramic glaze chemistry calculations.

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Test, Document, Learn, Repeat in your account at insight-live.com

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Tony Hansen's Thousand-Post TimeLine

I am the creator of Digitalfire Insight, Digitalfire.com and Insight-live.com. ... more

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A cure for long-time low and medium fire Gerstley Borate sufferers!

These are various different terra cotta clays fired to cone 04 (also a low fire white-buff fritted stoneware) with a recipe I formulated to source the same chemistry as the popular Worthington clear, but sourcing the B2O3 from Ulexite and a frit instead of Gerstley Borate. All pieces are fired with ... more

Wednesday 24th June 2015

Why would a glaze turn into a jelly like this?

This is one of the things Gerstley Borate does to your glazes. Stir this and you might have 2 seconds to dip something before it turns to jelly again (this was even deflocculated with Darvan and it was OK yesterday). It has a low specific gravity (a high water content) and will dries very slowly on ... more

Wednesday 24th June 2015

Switching copper carbonate for copper oxide in a fluid glaze

The top samples are 10 gram balls melted down onto porcelain tiles at cone 6 (this is a high melt fluidity glaze). These balls demonstrate melt mobility and susceptibility to bubbling but also color (notice how washed out the color is for thin layers on the bottom two tiles). Both have the same ... more

Wednesday 24th June 2015

What material makes the tiny bubbles? The big bubbles?

These are two 10 gram balls of Worthington Clear glaze fired at cone 03 on terra cotta tiles (55 Gerstley Borate, 30 kaolin, 20 silica). On the left it contains raw kaolin, on the right calcined kaolin. The clouds of finer bubbles (on the left) are gone from the glaze on the right. That means the ... more

Tuesday 23rd June 2015

What is the secret of that extra cone 04 gloss on the right?

These glazes have the same recipe (a version of Worthington Clear sourcing B2O3 from Ulexite instead of Gerstley borate). While the one on the left is OK, the one on the right is great! Why? It has 10% added lead bisilicate frit. In North America we gasp at the use of lead and look with derision at ... more

Tuesday 23rd June 2015

Do your functional glazes do this? Fix them. Now.

These cone 6 porcelain mugs have glossy liner glazes and matte outers: VC71 (left) crazes, G2934 does not (it is highlighted using a felt marker and solvent). Crazing, while appropriate on non-functional ware, is unsanitary and severely weakens the ware (up to 300%). If your ware develops this your ... more

Friday 19th June 2015

How do metal oxides compare in their degrees of melting?

Metallic oxides with 50% Ferro frit 3134 in crucibles at cone 6ox. Chrome and rutile have not melted, copper and cobalt are extremely active melters. Cobalt and copper have crystallized during cooling, manganese has formed an iridescent glass.

Wednesday 17th June 2015

Cone 04 terra cotta cross section close-up with glaze

The glaze is well melted, but the interfacial zone with the body is very narrow. It is basically just stuck on the surface. The body is not developing any clearly visible glassy phases as does porcelain and stoneware, so not surprisingly, its strength is much lower than vitrified clay bodies at ... more

Monday 15th June 2015

This is a key to organizing your studio, lab or teaching facility

The new ceramics is about data! Everything here has a code number (in the form x1234) that members of our team can search in our group account at insight-live.com. We write the numbers on the bottoms of pots, plastic bags of powders/liquids/pugged, buckets, glaze balls, mix tickets, test bars, ... more

Monday 15th June 2015

Three squares of toilet paper the secret to drying a mug in an hour

After rotating in front of a fan these porcelain mugs were ready for trimming and handle attachment in 15 minutes. Then they were turned over, the handles wrapped and in another 45 minutes were dry and ready to fire. It is not how fast you dry something, it is how even. The handles would normally dry faster so this retards them enough to stay in sync with the rest of the cup.

Sunday 14th June 2015


These posts are actually pictures referenced on pages in The Digitalfire Reference Database, thousands of pages of explaining things you need to know to formulate, adjust and troubleshoot traditional ceramic bodies and glazes. It is organized as: Oxides, minerals, materials, recipes, articles, glossary, hazards, library, MDTs for INSIGHT, pictures, properties, firing schedules, significant temperatures, tests and troubleshooting. Level 2 desktop INSIGHT and Insight-Live both interact with it.

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