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Tony Hansen's Thousand-Post TimeLine

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

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Fusion 360 drawing for glaze melt flow tester is available

Fusion 360 drawing for glaze melt flow tester is available

We have promoted this device for many years as a way to compare glaze melt fluidity, surface tension, bubble retention, crystal growth and transparency. If you would like the 3D file please contact us. You can 3D print your own model and made a mold from that. There is no charge.

Wednesday 24th April 2019

Brushing glazes can go on unevenly for more than one reason

Brushing glazes can go on unevenly for more than one reason

Both of these were glazed by brushing. The inside transparent and white glazes are fairly easy to apply evenly but the bright color on the outside left one certainly is not. The problem is a combination of things. It is difficult to apply it evenly with a brush. It is difficult to get it on thick ... more

Wednesday 24th April 2019

Low fire ware cracking during firing. Why?

Low fire ware cracking during firing. Why?

Most low-fire bodies contain talc. It is added for the express purpose of increasing thermal expansion. The natural quartz present does the same. These are good for glaze fit but bad for ware like this. You could fiddle with the clay recipe or change bodies, but better to change the firing schedule. ... more

Wednesday 17th April 2019

The incredible plasticity that bentonite can impart to a throwing body

The incredible plasticity that bentonite can impart to a throwing body

The vase on the left is thrown from what I thought was a very plastic body, I got it very close to the same thickness from top to bottom (neither of these were trimmed). It has dried to 20 cm high and the thinnest part of the wall is 5mm thick. The one on the right was the same original size but has ... more

Wednesday 17th April 2019

Want bright orange on your ware?

Want bright orange on your ware?

Orange is a very difficult color in ceramics. Inclusion stains are the only reliable method and universally used in industry. But you could ignore that and try a bunch of recipes online, buying exotic materials to complete each one. Maybe one will be orange enough, but will it craze or run or ... more

Wednesday 10th April 2019

It is not the speed of drying, but how even it is

It is not the speed of drying, but how even it is

Half of these Plainsman Polar Ice mugs cracked. But I know exactly why it happened! After throwing them I put them on a slowly rotating wheelhead in front of a fan to stiffen them enough so I could attach the handles quickly. Of course, I forgot them and they got quite stiff on the lip (while the ... more

Tuesday 9th April 2019

Wanna throw porcelain plates with thick bottoms and thin rims?

Wanna throw porcelain plates with thick bottoms and thin rims?

Then they may need a week to dry! This plate had a one-inch-thick base (while the rim is a quarter of that). During the first few hours a thin rim like this will dry quickly, leaving the base far behind. But as soon as it would support the weight of a cover-cloth I put it into a garbage bag and ... more

Tuesday 9th April 2019

The fact that it applied like this was not worth mentioning?

The fact that it applied like this was not worth mentioning?

Recipes trafficked online seldom include important information. How could the author of this one not mention this problem? The slurry turns to a gel and fills with bubbles. And then you have to add water again. The extra water makes it shrink more, compromising the bond with the bisque so it peels ... more

Tuesday 9th April 2019

GA6A Alberta Slip base using Frit 3124, 3249 and 3195 on dark body

GA6A Alberta Slip base using Frit 3124, 3249 and 3195 on dark body

The body is dark brown burning Plainsman M390 (cone 6). The amber colored glaze is 80% Alberta Slip (raw:calcine mix) with 20% of each frit. The white engobe on the inside of two of the mugs is L3954A (those mugs are glazed inside using transparent G2926B). The Alberta Slip amber gloss glaze ... more

Monday 8th April 2019

Plainsman iron red clays with rutile blue Alberta Slip glaze

Plainsman iron red clays with rutile blue Alberta Slip glaze

Cone 6 mugs made from Plainsman M350 (left) and M390 dark burning cone 6 bodies. The outside glaze is Alberta-Slip-based GA6-C rutile blue and the inside is GA6-A base (20% frit 3134 and 80% Alberta Slip). That inside glaze is normally glossy transparent amber, but crystallizes to a stunning silky matte when fired using the C6DHSC schedule.

Monday 8th April 2019

Contact Us:

Use the contact pages within or outside your account at Insight-Live.com


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

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Chemistry plus physics. The on-line successor to desktop Insight. Get an account for as little as $15. It does so much more.

Conquer the Glaze Dragon With Digitalfire Reference info and software

Still available for Mac, PC, Linux

Interactive glaze chemistry calculations (legacy, no longer supported)


What people have said about digitalfire

• I have found the glaze information on your site really helpful for quite some time now. I like the way that there is an emphasis on problem solving and understanding how things work, rather than just offering recipes that might work.

• I am very much appreciative of the work you are doing.

• Firstly, I want to thank you about this very good site in the net which helps very much in the development of the ceramics industry.

• LOVE your site! You have saved me a whole lot of work and research time with your materials data base and comments. I haven't gotten to explore your software yet because I'm in the middle of resolving another mess involving raw materials from a certain large company with sloppy production. We are a small company that is developing a low expansion, thermal shock resistant porcelain for industrial use ... Between our acquired data and some clues contained in your comments we were able to pin point the problem.

• I have been a teacher of ceramics for twenty years and have always been annoyed with what you call traveling glazes. Tom's Blue, Randy's Red, etc. have been taken from who knows where, are out of context and without history or understanding as you point out.

• Honestly I do not see how you have time to experiment, test, etc. and disseminate the massive amount of knowledge you have.

• Your glaze expertise is the piece of the clay puzzle that I need to relax and enjoy this artistic journey.


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What people have said about Insight-Live

• Looking at your website, I have no doubts that there is no other person that would be so dedicated to the subject as you. It is a fact that you have a truly unique knowledge of how things are done, the materials and chemistry being used in such processes. Frankly, I do not complement people and their work easily but you are one of a kind person with some divine dedication to the technology. There are very few people like you and that is a fact. I just spoke with several so-called ceramics, frits and glazes experts and I have to say that they had somewhat limited knowledge while you cover incredibly wide spectrum of all affairs involved in to working with all those great materials.

• When it comes to new technology, I'm still thrilled with the chainsaw as apposed to an ax. I really do like glaze testing. You see a recipe in a book but it doesn't do you a lot of good until you can see it on a tile.

• I join others (I'm sure) in thanking Tony for the incredible resource that is the digital fire library, and for the insight glaze calculation software and now website. Not a week goes by when I don't use all three of them and usually quite extensively.

• Thank you very much for creating these examples and explanations. I am getting a much better understanding for why Frits are so much better. Now that I am digging into InSight-Live and manipulating the chemistry, this documentation is the main place where I can find the facts and suggestions that help clear up my questions. Thank you for creating such a very practical and wonderful upgrade . The interface is so nice and even forgiving. Thank You Very Much,

• Your site is a crucially important one, and I'm happy to help you, even in small ways.

• I just want to say THANK YOU for this incredible database of information. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

• The knowledge and information you share on digital fire is a rare gem on the internet. I greatly appreciate your writing style. To the point and full of facts. I am wanting to be more active in my glaze creation and begin to make my own glazes. This, to me seems like a huge step away from the safe and what I know of the glazes I have been working with.


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