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Conquer the Glaze Dragon With Digitalfire INSIGHT Glaze Chemistry Software

Install it on your PC

This software is focused on ceramic glaze chemistry calculations. Desktop Insight is an application that you download and install on Windows, Linux and Macintosh computers. It is powered by SQLite, the best cross platform database. An Insight-Live account is included free when you purchase Level 2.

Download: Windows (2014-8), OSX (2014-8), Linux (2014-8)

Test, Document, Learn, Repeat in your account at

Use it online

Nothing to download or install. Document recipes, materials, testing, firing schedules, and more in your on-line account! Revolutionary! The future! This does the chemistry and the physics. It works on any browser-equipped tablet or smart-phone. And it is available for a low monthly rate (only 3-8 cents a day).

Tony Hansen's Thousand-Post TimeLine

I am the creator of Digitalfire Insight, and I have made hundreds of posts like these on my Facebook page and personal timeline. My posts are like no others, they help you understand your glazes and clay bodies, take control. They are also part of the Digitalfire Reference Database (referenced from one or more articles, glossary entries, materials, oxides, test procedures, etc). Visit and Like my page to get a notification each time I post. Search is coming soon.

This sample of glaze was dried under a heat lamp to measure its water content. If a glaze that is this thick can crack this little during drying and adhere even to stainless steel there is absolutely no reason you need to suffer glazes cracking during drying on bisque ware. The problem can be fixed using Digitalfire Insight, it enables you to juggle a recipe to reduce plastic ingredients while maintaining the chemistry.

See it in context: G2916F - Plainsman Cone 6 M340 Transparent Liner

Wednesday 2nd April 2014

These are two cone 6 transparent glazed porcelain mugs with a light bulb inside. On the left is the porcelainous Plainsman M370 (Laguna BMix 6 would have similar opacity). Right is a zero-porosity New Zealand kaolin based porcelain! The secret to making a plastic porcelain this white and translucent is not just the NZ kaolin, but the use of a very expensive plasticizer, VeeGum T, to enable maximizing the feldspar to get the fired maturity.

See it in context: Bone Ash, Formulating a Porcelain, New Zealand Halloysite, Bone China, Translucency

Friday 4th April 2014

These mugs are made from a vitreous cone 10R sculpture clay (Plainsman Native Sculpture). The grog is the lighter colored specks against the background of a quite vitreous dark burning and smooth clay. This body thus has quite a bit more fired strength than the average much more porous sculpture body.

See it in context: Grog

Monday 21st April 2014

The natural Plainsman St. Rose Red clay before it is ground. This has about 6% iron oxide and is used to color high temperature throwing and sculpture bodies. It is quite refractory, very unusual for a clay this high in iron. It is from St. Rose, Manitoba.

See it in context: Saint Rose Red

Monday 21st April 2014

The blue line represents numbers from the Orton cone chart for 108F/hr. It is not as straight as what I expected. The red line is the temperature measurements that we have recorded after many test firings at each temperature. We use large cones in these firings and finish the firings manually to shut the kiln off just before the firing cone touches. These are now target temperatures that we use for automatically firing each temperature.

See it in context:

Tuesday 16th September 2014

The plastic porcelain has 6% drying shrinkage, the coarse stoneware has 7%. They dried side-by-side. The latter has no cracking, the former has some cracking on all handles or bases (the lower handle is completely separated from the base on this one). Why: The range of particle sizes in the stoneware impart green strength. The particles and pores also terminate micro-cracks.

See it in context: Drying Crack, Green Strength, Particle Size Distribution, Clay Shrinkage

Wednesday 9th April 2014

These are the oversize particles (from the 79, 100, 140 and 200 mesh sieves) from 100 grams of a commercial Gleason ball clay. They have been fired to cone 8 oxidation. There is 1.5 grams total, this is within the limits stated on their data sheet even though the material is sold as 200 mesh grade. Firing the samples shows whether the particles contain iron that will produce specking in porcelains and whiteware. In this case there are a few. We do this test on many materials and this is typical of what we see.

See it in context: SIEV Sieve Analysis 35-325 Wet, Particle Size Distribution

Wednesday 9th April 2014

These are Mason stains added to cone 6 G2934 cone 6 silky matte liner glaze (with tin, zircopax and various stains added). The brightest colors (6600, 6350, 6300, 6021, 6404) were tested overnight in lemon juice without visible changes.

See it in context: G2934 - Plainsman Cone 6 Dolomite Matte Base, Stains Mason, Stain, Pigment

Tuesday 1st April 2014

These are Mason stains added to cone 6 G2916F clear liner base glaze. Notice that all of these stains develop the correct colors with this base (except for manganese alumina pink 6020).

See it in context: G2916F - Plainsman Cone 6 M340 Transparent Liner, Stains Mason

Thursday 3rd April 2014

These are Mason stains added to cone 6 G2926B clear liner base glaze. Notice that the chrome tin maroon 6006 does not develop as well as the G2916F glossy base recipe. The 6020 manganese alumina pink is also not developing.

See it in context: Stains Mason, G2926B - Plainsman Cone 6 M370 Transparent Liner Base, G2916F - Plainsman Cone 6 M340 Transparent Liner, Colorant

Wednesday 9th April 2014

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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Are people thinking about glaze toxicity?

  • I participated in a workshop with .. this past weekend. When he was talking about glazes and demonstrating his techniques, I steeled myself to ask him if he worries about the functionality of his glazes. I figured everyone would laugh at me for bringing up such a subject, but I felt like it should at least be said, given the amount of young student potters in the group if nothing else. As expected he said he didn't worry about that. High fired glazes shouldn't pose any problems, was what he said. "Why is that?", I asked, "Is it because they are fired to such high temperatures that you don't worry?" He said it was. I thought to myself, what does that mean, that if you fire to high heat you kill everything bad -- like germs. I've never known a potter who considers functionality in their glazes.
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