Modification Date: 2018-08-13 12:07:21
A base MgO matte glaze recipe fires to a hard utilitarian surface and has very good working properties. Blend in the glossy if it is too matte.
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A cone 6 boron-fluxed MgO matte developed at Plainsman Clays by Tony Hansen (a link below will take you to its page there). This page contains technical and mixing information about the recipe.
In its current state it does not cutlery mark and has good (but not too much melt flow) and thus creates a good glass (in our circumstances). The development process for this glaze showcases the value of looking at glazes as formulas of oxides rather than recipes of materials.
The calcined kaolin is needed to supply the Al2O3 but not increase the drying shrinkage (if you do not have calcined kaolin you can make your own by bisque firing a container of kaolin powder).
Notice also, that although a matte, this recipe has a high silica content. However, the matteness mechanism is somewhat fragile (it will be more matte for some people, more glossy for others; due to material (especially with local dolomites), process and firing differences). In addition, certain colors will matte it more and others will gloss it more. For most people a simple addition of G2926B (M370 transparent ultra clear base recipe) will increase the gloss. Start by adding 10% and testing (since this and the gloss mix to about the same specific gravity, just measuring by volume of slurry is a fairly accurate way to judge the percent addition). Be prepared to adjust each color variation to fine tune its degree of gloss.
In our circumstances, this recipe has very good suspension and application properties. It dries hard, does not crack during drying, does not settle hard in the bucket and applies evenly and dries quickly. If you do not have EP Kaolin, just substitute. That may require adjusting the raw:calcine proportions. If it settles convert some of the calcined kaolin to raw. If it does not dry hard enough or does not suspend well, use more raw kaolin and less calcined. However because the raw kaolin has 12% weight loss on firing, more is needed to supply the same amount of SiO2 and Al2O3 to the fired glaze. For example, if you drop the calcined kaolin by 5 you need to increase the raw kaolin by 5.6 to maintain the same overall chemistry (5 + (5 x 12% / 100 = 5.6). If your kaolin is not too plastic you might be able to use all raw kaolin (18.3 + 13.9 + (13.9 x 12% / 100) = 34. But beware, the glaze could crack on drying (and thus crawl on firing).
To prepare it for use, target a specific gravity of 1.43-1.44. Divide the total weight of powder by 1.1 to derive the amount of water to use. This should produce a specific gravity slightly higher so that you can add water and fine tune it down. If it is not creamy add a flocculant (see the thixotropy glossary entry link below for more information on doing this).
Screen through 80 mesh (there are tiny agglomerates that will not break down without screening).
Although this is a matte glaze it flows well (it is well melted). If fired ware has pinholes the solution lies elsewhere. Bisque ware as high as possible. If you gel the slurry a little, or preheat the ware, you can bisque even higher. Try applying a thinner glaze layer and use whatever technique necessary to get an even and quality laydown. If still needed, consider using the double-soak firing schedule.
Plainsmanclays.com makes this recipe as a premixed powder.
Important note: This glaze is firing to a surface that some people find too dry. One reason for this is variation in different brands of dolomite. To help with this issue we have created an chemistry-equivalent that sources the MgO from a frit and talc, G2934Y (see link below). It also has a better melt fluidity (and thus is a little less opaque and hosts stains better), a much lower LOI and the surface is just slightly more silky.
G2934 is a popular matte for cone 6 (far left). It is not matte because it is not melting enough or is covered with micro-crystals, it is an MgO matte (a mechanism produces a more pleasant surface that cutlery marks and stains less). But what if it is too matte for you? This recipe requires accurate firings, did your kiln really go to cone 6? Proven by a firing cone? If it did, then we need plan B: Add some glossy to shine it up a bit. I fired these ten-gram GBMF test balls of glaze to cone 6 on porcelain tiles, they melted down into nice buttons that display the surface well. Top row proceeding right: 10%, 20%, 30%, 40% G2926B added (100% far right). Bottom: G2916F in the same proportions. The effects are similar but the top one produces a more pebbly surface.
These are Mason stains added to the cone 6 G2934 silky MgO matte liner base 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. It is known that MgO mattes are less prone to acid attack that CaO mattes. Caution is required with inclusion stains (like #6021), if they are rated to cone 8 they may already begin bubbling at cone 6 is some host glazes.
Matte glazes have a fragile mechanism. That means the same recipe will be more matte for some people, more glossy for others (due to material, process and firing differences). In addition, certain colors will matte the base more and others will gloss it more. It is therefore critical for matte glaze recipes to have adjustability (a way to change the degree of gloss), both for circumstances and colors. This recipe is Plainsman G2934 base matte with 6% Mason 6600 black stain added. It has been formulated to be on the more matte side of the scale so that for most people a simple addition of G2926B (M370 transparent ultra clear base recipe) will increase the gloss. That means users need to be prepared to adjust each color of the matte to fine-tune its degree of gloss. Here you can see 5:95, 10:90, 15:85 and 20:80 blends of the matte:gloss recipe bases.
A melt fluidity comparison between two cone 6 matte glazes. G2934 is an MgO saturated boron fluxed glaze that melts to the right degree, forms a good glass, has a low thermal expansion, resists leaching and does not cutlery mark. G2000 is a much-trafficked cone 6 recipe, it is fluxed by zinc to produce a surface mesh of micro-crystals that not only mattes but also opacifies the glaze. But it forms a poor glass, runs too much, cutlery marks badly, stains easily, crazes and is likely not food safe! The G2934 recipe is google-searchable and a good demonstration of how the high-MgO matte mechanism (from talc) creates a silky surface at cone 6 oxidation the same as it does at cone 10 reduction (from dolomite). However it does need a tin or zircon addition to be white.
Left: a cone 6 matte glaze (G2934 with no colorant). Middle: 5% Mason 6006 chrome-tin red stain added. Right: 5% Mason 6021 encapsulated red stain added. Why is there absolutely no color in the center glaze? This host recipe does not have the needed chemistry to develop the #6006 chrome-tin color (it lacks sufficient CaO and has alot of MgO). Yet this same matte glaze intensifies the #6021 encapsulated stain at only 5% (using 20% or more encapsulated stain is to develop the color is not unusual).
G2934 cone 6 matte (left) with 10% zircopax (center), 4% tin oxide (right). Although the cutlery marks clean off all of them, clearly the zircopax version has the worst problem and is the most difficult to clean. To make the best possible quality white it is wise to line blend in a glossy glaze to create a compromise between the most matteness possible yet a surface that does not mark or stain.
An example of how a spoon can cutlery mark a glaze. This is a popular middle temperature recipe used by potters. The mechanism of its matteness is a high percentage of zinc oxide that creates a well-melted glaze that fosters the growth of a mesh of surface micro-crystals. However these crystals create tiny angular protrusions that abrade metal, leaving a mark. Notice the other matte flow on the left (G2934), it not only has a better surface (more silky feel) but also melts much less (its mechanism is high MgO in a boron fluxed base). It is does not cutlery mark at all!
These mugs have just finished immersion into ice water from 300F (IWCT test). Twice. The LA Matt is crazing but the G2934 is still good. And its surface is more silky and more pleasant to the touch. It is whiter because of a 4% tin oxide addition. This is a glaze surface that would be excellent on most cone 6 porcelains. Remember, if you need to adjust the matteness, just add a little glossy to the batch.
The top glaze is VC71, a popular matte cone 6 glaze used by potters. Bottom is G2934 matte, a public domain recipe produced by Plainsman Clays. The latter is a high-MgO matte, it melts well and does not cutlery mark or stain easily. As evidence that it is a true matte, notice that it is still matte when fired to cone 7 or 8. VC71, while having a similar pleasant silky matte surface at cone 6, converts to a glossy if fired higher. This suggests that the cone 6 matteness is due to incomplete melting. For the same reason, it is whiter in color (as soon as it begins to melt and have depth the color darkens).
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 customers will bring it back for replacement. What will you do? The thermal expansion of VC71 is alot higher. It is a product of the chemistry (in this case, high sodium and low alumina). No change in firing will fix this, the body and glaze are not expansion compatible. Period. The fix: Change bodies and start all over. Use another glaze. Or, adjust this recipe to reduce its thermal expansion.
I am getting closer to reduction speckle in oxidation. I make my own speckle by mixing the body and a glossy glaze 50:50 and adding 10% black stain. Then I slurry it, dry it, fire it in a crucible I make from alumina, crush it by hand and screen it. I am using G2934 cone 6 magnesia matte as the glaze on this mug on the left. To it I added 0.5% minus 20 mesh speck. Right is a cone 10R dolomite matte mug. Next I am going to screen out the smallest specks, switch to a matte glaze when making the specks (they are too shiny here), switch to dark brown stain. Later we will see if the specks need to bleed a little more. I am now pretty well certain I am going to be able to duplicate very well the reduction look in my oxidation kiln. I will publish the exactly recipe and technique as soon as I have it.
We are looking at two pairs of samples, they demonstrate why knowing about glaze chemistry can be so important. Both pairs are the same glazes: G2934 cone 6 matte and G2916F cone 6 glossy. The left pair has 5% maroon stain added, the right pair 5% purple stain. The red and purple develop correctly in the glossy but not the matte. Why? The Mason Colorworks reference guide has the same precaution for both stains: the host glaze must be zincless and have 6.7-8.4% CaO (this is a little unclear, it is actually expressing a minimum, the more the CaO the better). The left-most samples of each pair here have 11% CaO, the right-most have 9%. So there is enough CaO. The problem is MgO (it is the mechanism of the matteness in the left two), it impedes the development of both colors. When you talk to tech support at any stain company they need to know the chemistry of your glaze to help.
This is G2934Y (a version of the G2934 cone 6 matte base recipe that supplies much of the MgO from a frit instead of dolomite). Like the original, it has a beautiful fine silky matte surface and feels like it would not cutlery mark. But, as you can see on the left, it does! The marks can be cleaned off easily. But still, this is not ideal. The degree of matteness that a glaze has is a product of its chemistry. But can we fix this without doing any chemistry? Yes. By blending this with G2926B clear glossy (90:10 proportions) the marks are gone and the surface is only slightly changed.
This is the G2934Y matte base recipe with only 8% Cerdec Orange encapsulated stain. G2934Y employs a frit-source for the MgO (as opposed to G2934 which sources the MgO from dolomite). The orange color is brighter on the mug on the left because the porcelain is whiter, Plainsman Polar Ice (the other one is #6 Tile Kaolin based, P300). If this was a glossy glaze the required percentage of stain would be higher. Other colors, like yellow, are equally vibrant. But not all, testing is needed.
These are 10 gram GBMF test balls that we melted on porcelain tiles at cone 4 (top two) and cone 6 (bottom two). They compare the melt fluidity of G2934 (left) and G2934Y (right). The Y version sources its MgO from frit and talc (rather than dolomite). It is a much more fluid melt because the frit is yielding the oxides more readily. But Y has a key benefit: It has a much lower LOI, producing fewer entrained air bubbles and therefore fewer surface defects. And, even though it runs much more, it has the same matte surface! As long as it is applied at normal thickness, the extra melt fluidity does not cause any running. And it has another benefit: Less cutlery marking issues. It is actually a very durable and practical food surface glaze, having a low thermal expansion that fits almost any body. Although these appear glossy here, on ware they have the identical pleasant silky matte surface.
This contains 6% Mason 6666 gunmetal black stain. The base recipe, G2934, is an excellent balanced-chemistry host for a wide range of stains to produce equally stunning reds, yellows, oranges, etc. The fritted version of the recipe, G2934Y, provides an even better host. This glaze is affected by the clay it is on. The body on the right is highly vitreous, this has produced a finer texture that glistens in the light. The body on the left is a whiteware having 1% porosity (Plainsman M370). Firing schedule is also a factor, slower cooling will dull the color more. We use the PLC6DS firing schedule.
Out Bound Links
A silky zinc-fluxed matte used historically across North America
2014-03-26 - Cone 6 glazes do not melt well using traditional fluxes (e.g. feldspar, calcium carbonate), they need help. In the past it was common to employ zinc, ...
Dolomite matte glazes are normally fired around cone 10 and have a pleasant-to-the-touch silky-feeling surface. The name has stuck because dolomite has been the most common source of the oxide needed for the effect: MgO (although other materials can also source it, especially talc). The unique feel ...
It is difficult to draw a line between what is matte and what is semi-matte (also known as soft matte) from a visual inspection point of view. However from a production point of view it is much easier. Glazes generally want to be glossy, the vast majority of random glaze formulations would be glossy...
I will establish specific gravity first, then gel the slurry, then establish thixotropy. This will change your life! Glazes that you have never been able to suspend or apply evenly will work beautiful...
The same chemistry as the widely used G2934 but the MgO is sourced from a frit and talc instead of dolomite- 2017-09-06
Knowing about thixotropy will enable you to mix a glaze that stays in suspension much better. It does not drip alot when a piece is draining. It goes on evenly, of adequate thickness and does not run. It dries quickly (on porous bisque) and is just much nicer to use. The secret to all of this is not...
In Bound Links
This glaze was developed using the 1214W glossy as a starting point. This article overviews the types of matte glazes and rationalizes the method used to make this one.
It is better to understand and have control of one good base glaze than be at the mercy of dozens of imported recipes that do not work. There is a lot more to being a good glaze than fired appearance.
Plainsman Cone 6 Ravenscrag Slip based glaze. It can be found among others at http://ravenscrag.com.
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A glaze that is not glossy. Of course, unmelted glazes will not be glossy, but to be a true matte a glaze must be melted and still not glossy. To be a functional matte it must also resist cultery marking, clean well and not leach into food and drink. Thus it is not easy to make a good matte glaze. I...
A base transparent glaze recipe created by Tony Hansen for Plainsman Clays, it fires high gloss and ultra clear with low melt mobility.
2014-02-06 - A cone 6 transparent general purpose base recipe developed at Plainsman Clays by Tony Hansen (see link to go there below, ig contains technical and mi...
This glaze was born as a demonstration of how to use chemistry to convert a glossy cone 6 glaze into a matte.
2003-06-10 - Please click the article link below for more information. This recipe is adjustable in that you can raise and lower the silica to increase and decr...
The term 'limit formula' historically has typically referred to efforts to establish absolute ranges for mixtures of oxides that melt well at an intended temperature and are not in sufficient excess to cause defects. These formulas typically show ranges for each oxide commonly used in a specific gla...
Break your addiction to online recipes that don't work. Get control. Learn why glazes fire as they do. Why each material is used. Some chemistry. How to create perfect dipping and drying properties. Be empowered. Adjust recipes with issues rather than sta
A base glaze is one having no opacifiers, variegators or colorants. Thus it should be transparent if glossy and translucent if matte. Developing or adapting a base glaze for your ware is a very important first step in developing a manufacturing process that produces good quality. In fact, from a qua...
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By Tony Hansen