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A Low Cost Tester of Glaze Melt Fluidity
A One-speed Lab or Studio Slurry Mixer
A Textbook Cone 6 Matte Glaze With Problems
Adjusting Glaze Expansion by Calculation to Solve Shivering
Alberta Slip, 20 Years of Substitution for Albany Slip
An Overview of Ceramic Stains
Are You in Control of Your Production Process?
Are Your Glazes Food Safe or are They Leachable?
Attack on Glass: Corrosion Attack Mechanisms
Ball Milling Glazes, Bodies, Engobes
Binders for Ceramic Bodies
Bringing Out the Big Guns in Craze Control: MgO (G1215U)
Ceramic Glazes Today
Ceramic Material Nomenclature
Ceramic Tile Clay Body Formulation
Changing Our View of Glazes
Chemistry vs. Matrix Blending to Create Glazes from Native Materials
Concentrate on One Good Glaze
Copper Red Glazes
Crazing and Bacteria: Is There a Hazard?
Crazing in Stoneware Glazes: Treating the Causes, Not the Symptoms
Creating a Non-Glaze Ceramic Slip or Engobe
Creating Your Own Budget Glaze
Crystal Glazes: Understanding the Process and Materials
Deflocculants: A Detailed Overview
Demonstrating Glaze Fit Issues to Students
Diagnosing a Casting Problem at a Sanitaryware Plant
Drying Ceramics Without Cracks
Duplicating Albany Slip
Duplicating AP Green Fireclay
Electric Hobby Kilns: What You Need to Know
Fighting the Glaze Dragon
Firing Clay Test Bars
Firing: What Happens to Ceramic Ware in a Firing Kiln
First You See It Then You Don't: Raku Glaze Stability
Fixing a glaze that does not stay in suspension
Formulating a body using clays native to your area
Formulating a Clear Glaze Compatible with Chrome-Tin Stains
Formulating a Porcelain
Formulating Ash and Native-Material Glazes
G1214M Cone 5-7 20x5 glossy transparent glaze
G1214W Cone 6 transparent glaze
G1214Z Cone 6 matte glaze
G1916M Cone 06-04 transparent glaze
Getting the Glaze Color You Want: Working With Stains
Glaze and Body Pigments and Stains in the Ceramic Tile Industry
Glaze Chemistry Basics - Formula, Analysis, Mole%, Unity
Glaze chemistry using a frit of approximate analysis
Glaze Recipes: Formulate and Make Your Own Instead
Glaze Types, Formulation and Application in the Tile Industry
Having Your Glaze Tested for Toxic Metal Release
High Gloss Glazes
Hire Me to Fix a Specific Problem
Hire Us for a 3D Printing Project
How a Material Chemical Analysis is Done
How desktop INSIGHT Deals With Unity, LOI and Formula Weight
How to Find and Test Your Own Native Clays
I have always done it this way!
Inkjet Decoration of Ceramic Tiles
Is Your Fired Ware Safe?
Leaching Cone 6 Glaze Case Study
Limit Formulas and Target Formulas
Low Budget Testing of the Raw and Fired Properties of a Glaze
Make Your Own Ball Mill Stand
Making Glaze Testing Cones
Monoporosa or Single Fired Wall Tiles
Organic Matter in Clays: Detailed Overview
Outdoor Weather Resistant Ceramics
Painting Glazes Rather Than Dipping or Spraying
Particle Size Distribution of Ceramic Powders
Porcelain Tile, Vitrified Tile
Rationalizing Conflicting Opinions About Plasticity
Ravenscrag Slip is Born
Recylcing Scrap Clay
Reducing the Firing Temperature of a Glaze From Cone 10 to 6
Simple Physical Testing of Clays
Single Fire Glazing
Soluble Salts in Minerals: Detailed Overview
Some Keys to Dealing With Firing Cracks
Stoneware Casting Body Recipes
Substituting Cornwall Stone
Super-Refined Terra Sigillata
The Chemistry, Physics and Manufacturing of Glaze Frits
The Effect of Glaze Fit on Fired Ware Strength
The Four Levels on Which to View Ceramic Glazes
The Majolica Earthenware Process
The Potter's Prayer
The Right Chemistry for a Cone 6 MgO Matte
The Trials of Being the Only Technical Person in the Club
The Whining Stops Here: A Realistic Look at Clay Bodies
Those Unlabelled Bags and Buckets

Toxicity of Firebricks Used in Ovens
Trafficking in Glaze Recipes
Understanding Ceramic Materials
Understanding Ceramic Oxides
Understanding Glaze Slurry Properties
Understanding the Deflocculation Process in Slip Casting
Understanding the Terra Cotta Slip Casting Recipes In North America
Understanding Thermal Expansion in Ceramic Glazes
Unwanted Crystallization in a Cone 6 Glaze
Volcanic Ash
What Determines a Glaze's Firing Temperature?
What is a Mole, Checking Out the Mole
What is the Glaze Dragon?
Where do I start in understanding glazes?
Why Textbook Glazes Are So Difficult
Working with children

Tiles and Mosaics for Potters


If you are a potter you already know much of what is needed to manufacture tile. However there are some things you need to unlearn to make tile well.


Ceramic supply companies are often amazed at how well some of their tile-making customers are doing and how quickly their businesses sometimes grow. You may not be aware of how quickly the hand-decorated tile, custom tile, and mosaic tile businesses have grown in the past few years. For example, visit and search the 'books' area for the word "Tile", some stunning books are available.

Anyone who has visited a modern tile plant in Italy, Spain, Turkey, etc. is amazed at the innovation of these companies and the kind and size of automated production equipment they use. The dust pressing, silk screening, glass fritting, engobing, fast firing processes that are the mainstay of the industry are almost completely unknown to potters. However, although these companies produce huge volumes of tile, there are many niche custom tile markets for small players to fill around the world.

There are some interesting aspects of tile production that make it a good 'bread and butter' source of income compared to more traditional forms of hobby pottery. For example:

However if you want to make your own tiles you should be aware that you will have to relearn and unlearn some things. Techniques that you may have gotten away with in pottery will not necessarily work in tile production. For example, avoiding drying cracks and dry warping can be very difficult in hand made tiles made by a pressing, rolling or extruding. This is because the clay body must be plastic and have a high water content (and therefore high shrinkage).

By contrast, industry employs dust pressing, it is undoubtedly the fastest and most precise method for tile making and no drying racks or chambers are required (RAM pressing is also used for special shapes). Dust pressed tiles have no drying shrinkage and remaining water can be expelled in the kiln. Also, the dust pressing method puts a lot of the burden of manufacture on mechanical engineers (which are easier to find than ceramic engineers).

Potters who begin making tile also find it very difficult to fire tile without warping it, even at low temperatures. Industrial kilns, by contrast, can heat a tile so evenly that vitreous tiles up to 120cm by 80cm can be fired perfectly flat and very quickly. Standard tiles, even vitreous ones, can be fired in an hour. The average potter would say that these things are impossible (they are in any kiln they are used to using). Industrial kilns are highly controlled tunnels that the tiles convey through in a continuous fashion, periodic pottery kilns require a lot of shelves to fire any amount, this severely reduces kiln efficiency an evenness of firing.

The tile industry is very well represented on the internet, perhaps better than any other segment of ceramics. Check out a search engine for some inspiration. There are some amazing tile shows held around the world, the one in Orlando, Florida each year, for example, is huge. While it is mainly tile companies show casing their ware at this show, there are lots of related industries that participate also. Anyone interested in tile who walking through a show like this will have ideas flooding into their minds faster than they can write them down.

If you are serious about tile production, be willing to get your information from industry rather than other potters, that is where the real knowledge can be found. If you can find a way to communicate with the ceramic engineers at these companies (not the salesman) you will often find them very helpful and giving, that has been our experience.

Here are a few suggestions if you are beginning to make handmade tiles:

By Tony Hansen
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