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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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Texas talc (left) and Montana talc (right)

Texas talc (left) and Montana talc (right)

Texas talc contains some amorphous carbon. The carbon is not stand-alone, but as CO2 in the dolomitic part of the ore. It produces 7% LOI between 750-850C.

Tuesday 14th August 2018

Stunning black silky matte glaze at cone 6

Stunning black silky matte glaze at cone 6

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 ... more

Monday 13th August 2018

Tuning the degree of gloss on a matte black glaze

Tuning the degree of gloss on a matte black glaze

These 10 gram balls were fired and melted down onto a tile. The one the left is the original G2934 Plainsman Cone 6 MgO matte with 6% Mason 6666 black stain. On the right the adjustment has a 20% glossy glaze addition to make it a little less matte. Notice the increased flow (the ball has flattened ... more

Sunday 12th August 2018

DO NOT leave outsides of functional ware unglazed

DO NOT leave outsides of functional ware unglazed

This mug is made from the strongest porcelain I have, it is so vitreous that the bare fired surface does not even coffee-stain. So I glazed it only on the inside. That created a time-bomb waiting for hot coffee! Three others did exactly the same. Four other mugs glazed on the outside were fine. Why? ... more

Monday 6th August 2018

One gram of processed hectorite has a surface area of 750 square meters!

One gram of processed hectorite has a surface area of 750 square meters!

A combination of surface area, surface topography, surface chemistry and surface electrolytics determines how plastic a clay is. This material is super plastic.

Monday 6th August 2018

Mother Nature's Porcelain - From a Cretaceous Dust Storm!

Mother Nature's Porcelain - From a Cretaceous Dust Storm!

Plainsman Clays did 6 weeks of mining in June-July 2018 in Ravenscrag, Saskatchewan. We extracted marine sediment layers of the late Cretaceous period. The center portion of the B layer is so fine that it must have wind-transported (impossibly smooth, like a body that is pure terrasig)! The feldspar ... more

Monday 6th August 2018

Pinholing at a cone 6 stoneware mug. Why?

Pinholing at a cone 6 stoneware mug. Why?

It was put into the kiln before it was dry (from glazing). The kiln was fired fairly fast (without using a drop-and-hold firing schedule). These glazes have significant boron, they melt early and seal the surface. But water vapor can remain until surprisingly high temperatures. And it needs to get ... more

Monday 30th July 2018

Outside tenmoku glaze meets inside transparent in a straight line at the rim

Outside tenmoku glaze meets inside transparent in a straight line at the rim

An example of how a liner glaze can meet another at the rim of a piece. This it quite simple to do. The technique is especially practical where mug walls are thin and cannot absorb enough water to dry the glaze after immerse-dipping. It is essential where the outer glaze is potentially leachable, or ... more

Monday 23rd July 2018

Layering glazes to get variegation

Layering glazes to get variegation

Example of the variegation produced by layering a white glaze of stiffer melt (a matte) over a darker glaze of more fluid melt (a glossy). This was fired at cone 6. The body is a stoneware and the glazes employ calcium carbonate to encourage bubbling during melting, each bubble reveals the color and ... more

Monday 23rd July 2018

An additive that will make a glaze crawl

An additive that will make a glaze crawl

Light magnesium carbonate has been added to a low temperature terra cotta white glaze (about 10%). It induces crawling. It also mattes the glaze because it sources MgO. “Snakeskin” recipes to produce this effect can call for much higher percentages, but of course, fired properties (like color, gloss, thermal expansion) will be much more affected.

Thursday 19th July 2018

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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

• Thanks for the wonderful service.

• Everything you guys post on this page is materials science nerd gold.

• I want to comment. This is the most complete site about ceramics that I have ever seen.

• Your site is one of the most unusual sites I have encountered since I began exploring ceramics on the web. I am a student in a 2 year pottery program, and would like nothing better than to understand glazing from the very beginning of my career as a potter...It is pretty overwhelming. To tell you the truth, you almost come off as a Southern Baptist Revival Preacher the way you rant and rave against the "Dragon." It is what got my attention, however, and I appreciate the quality of your work, but it is very overwhelming.

• When I first opened the program I thought I would never know how to use it and did not open it again until last week. I have been watching some of the tutorials and those made it very easy to understand and work with Insight. Also your website has been very helpful for a project I am currently working on (and in general the understanding of glazes). So thank you for all the information you have collected and made available.

• This is the greatest site on the planet!

• Again, thanks for building a website that has been very influential in how I look at ceramics in general, and that has been such a valuable resource to my work as a student, production potter, and chemist.


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What people have said about Insight-Live

• I have everything hand written in my notes from my glaze void, but obviously, is not searchable. It's great what you've done.

• I keep telling people that I just found the best ceramic website on the internet. Paid for an account on insight live.

• I am a ceramic manufacturing manager, and before this position, I had no training on ceramics. I was taught our recipes, but none of it was explained. The dragon ran amok. After reading through your articles and descriptions, I feel I have learned so much about my own products, and I have a foundation for changing, improving, and troubleshooting my materials issues that I wouldn't have had otherwise. They taught us in engineering school that we all stand on the shoulders of giants, because we all get to use knowledge and tools at a moment's notice that took others years to develop. Thank you for sharing all that you have, so the rest of us can stand on your shoulders to do our work that much better.

• 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.

• Yet again, you provide a quick answer not easily found elsewhere (a bowl was befuddling me with wall cracks that never made it to any edges.)

• I discovered your website after trial and failure for 35 years. WOW ! The questions you have answered for me and the knowledge are immeasurable To think I am going to get past the Science and onto the Art makes me near giddy. Your site is amazing. My college age kids are going to be dazzled I did this. Every single college ceramic studio should know about your site. I want to tell them!

• Extremely useful resource Digital Fire. By the way your writing style is truly unique and is easily understandable even though of technical nature.


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