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Are these optical pyrometers suitable for a potter?
Notice the title says "Emissivity Adjustable". That is important because for accurate measurement, the emissivity of the object you point the gun at, near the temperature needing accurate measurement, has to be known accurately. In industry consistent results with this type of instrument depend on always aiming the gun, at right angles, at a specific target in the kiln (e.g. a firebrick), whose emissivity is known exactly (from the technical data from the manufacturer) and which has a surface of consistent roughness that remains stable firing-after-firing. If you are a potter you do not have calibration instruments and emissivity data. And you are probably not inclined to carefully set a piece of kiln shelf, for every firing, vertical at right angles to the peephole and blocking view of the cones! Even if you do, remember the gun calibrates to one temperature. And getting it to work is a matter of waving this plastic fun in front of and open peephole and hoping for the best before it melts! Perhaps it is better to spend this money on thermocouples instead.
Friday 21st January 2022
The same oatmeal glaze on the same body at cone 5 and 6 oxidation
This is the G3933 recipe on the outsides of these mugs (the inside glazes are L3500G.). The body is L4471D, it is being targeted at cone 5. At cone 6 (right) the speckle in the outside glaze, from the iron addition, is slightly more vivid (the drop-and-hold and slow-cool on the firing schedules also helps develop the speckle). These were fired using the C5DHSC and C6DHSC schedules. The color bleeds less across the boundary on the lip at cone 5.
Thursday 20th January 2022
Fixing a crawling problem with a measured CMC addition
The problem: This dipping glaze is crawling (as shown on the glazed tile). Fortunately, the slurry has settled about an inch, that provides an opportunity for an immediate fix: Remove some of the water and replace it with gum solution. I want to replace about one tenth of the water (to be between a base coat dipping and brushing glaze). The bucket calculates to 2549g of powder so I need to remove 217g of water and replace it with gum solution. One way is to use a small sponge: Wet and wring it out and then repeat touching it to the water surface and wringing it out into a container until 217g. A propeller mixer is needed to mix in the added gum solution (it won't just stir in). Of course this degree of weight-precision may seen to be overkill, but having a record of what was actually done to adjust the slurry is important to repeating it the next time it is prepared or as a base for further adjustments.
Thursday 20th January 2022
Amaco underglazes can contain very high percentages of stain
Top are V-326 and V-388 underglazes, painted on and 04 bisque fired. Although the layer is very thin the coverage is amazing and the brightness is stunning. This degree of brilliance is not possible unless the percentage of stain is very high. That explains whey these are double or triple the cost of a typical commercial glaze. The bottom mugs are clear-glazed and 05 fired, the one on the left with Amaco LG-10 and the one of the right is Spectrum 700. The latter produces better results over the underglaze and is more transparent and less yellowish on the body.
Tuesday 18th January 2022
How to convert a dipping glaze to a brushing glaze
I have a jar of clear glaze that I mixed myself (10% yellow stain and 2% zircopax added to cone 03 G2931K clear). Commercial glaze producers make their lines of glazes like this. The cost of the dry materials: About $6. How can I make it paintable? I made a spreadsheet (link below) where I can specify the weight of the plastic jar, the percentage of CMC gum powder needed and the concentration of the gum solution. I just need to weigh the jar of glaze (without lid), weigh a teaspoon of the liquid glaze (lower left), dry it (upper right) and weigh the dry (lower right). After filling in these numbers the sheet tells me what weight to evaporate the jar to and how much gum solution to mix in. It paints on just like a commercial glaze. Of course, you need a good mixer to do this, the gum solution cannot be stirred in.
Context: CMC Gum, Where do I start in understanding glazes?, Fixing a crawling problem with a measured CMC addition, A case where glaze thickness really matters, CMC Gum Calculator - Worksheet, Brushing Glaze, Dipping Glaze
Tuesday 11th January 2022
Making a QRCode using porcelain pixels
I 3D-printed a stamper to create 9mm square pixels. Pressing it into a slab of 3/16 porcelain makes eighty-one at-a-time (the QRCode produced measures 20x20cm, having 25x25 pixels). The black porcelain has 5% Mason 6666 stain. Firing temperature was cone 6. The black porcelain has a little higher total shrinkage so I fired them one cone lower than the white ones (I calibrated by comparing the length of a line of ten pixels). The pixels dry and shrink and drop out of the stamper easily. The action of the stamper rounds the upper corners of each. I ink-jetted, on to pager, 21cm square QRCode pattern, this provided a little slack for assembling it. Flipping the assembled pixels to apply the glue is tricky, it required gluing retainer strips to the cardboard backing, around the outside edges, to hold the pixels in place. For the next one I plan to glue the pixels to a zero-fired-shrinkage clay tile, made from L4410P. A little silicon sealant on the tile and that will be suitable outdoors. What does this QRCode say? https://plainsmanclays.com.
Monday 10th January 2022
Why you need to make your own glazes, fire your own kilns
Are you a potter that depends on glazes made by others? Do you have your ware fired in someone else's kiln? Cannot mix clay body tests? Then the evolution of the quality and aesthetics of your work is being stunted. This mug is a good example of why. This is G3933, version 1 of an oatmeal we made by adding iron, rutile and tin to a 75:25 blend of our base matte and glossy glazes. It is crawling at a few sharp angles of the incised decoration, that means it needs a little CMC gum. And, it is not quite matte enough, we need to switch to an 80:20 blend. Third, the red-burning body gives better color at cone 5, and this glaze melts well in a C5DHSC slow cool firing. So I will include it with other cone 5 bodies and glazes we are testing (because I want to move down from cone 6 to save energy and elements). Finally, I would like the glaze a little darker so I will test increases in the rutile and iron. All of these changes are on my radar because I make my own glazes and have my own test kiln.
Sunday 9th January 2022
You may know Veegum T but do you know VeeGum CER?
The glaze in this jar was 'goop', impossible to paint on because it was too viscous. And it dried way too fast. Laguna mentions adding water so I measured the specific gravity (SG): 1.7. That is super-high, it took a 125cc addition to bring it down to 1.5, but it was still thick, dried even faster and brushing it on evenly was even harder. It was not obvious what to do next. It needed a lot more water (1.3-1.35 SG is normal to support multi-layer application), adding CMC gum and enough water to do that would produce an unusable watery and sticky slurry. Veegum CER to the rescue! It is a 50:50 mix of CMC gum and Veegum T. The former slows drying and hardens, the latter gels. So it can simply be added until the painting properties are right. And, a Veegum CER solution is easier to handle than one of CMC gum. This really worked! The brushing properties are just right and it gels nicely on standing. CER is also good for highly fritted dipping glazes or others lacking in clay content (otherwise CMC might still be better).
Wednesday 5th January 2022
Common dipping glazes converted to jars of brushing glazes
These are cone 6 Alberta Slip recipes that have been brushed onto the outsides of these mugs (three coats). Recipes are GA6C Rutile Blue on the outside of the left mug, GA6F Alberta Slip Oatmeal on the outside of the center mug and GA6F Oatmeal over G2926B black on the outside of the right mug). One-pint jars were made using 500g of glaze powder, 75g of Laguna CMC gum solution (equivalent to 1 gram gum per 100 glaze powder) and 280g of water. Using a good mixer you can produce a silky smooth slurry of 1.6 specific gravity. However most commercial glazes do have a lower specific gravity (have more water), this does aid further in paintability but requires more coats. Amazingly, the presence of the gum also makes it unnecessary to calcine the Alberta Slip.
Wednesday 5th January 2022
Veegum CER Saturated suspension
This is the most viscous suspension we can make, 300ml water with 13.25g Veegum CER (50:50 mix of Veegum T and CMC Gum). It required the use of hot water and our two-gallon-mixer, on its highest speed, mixing in this cup. Add this gel to a raw glaze to improve its brushing properties and slow down drying. Often this works better than CMC gum alone because it gels the slurry enabling increasing the water content and improving suspension properties. Or, substitute this for part of the water in low-clay-content recipes (if the glaze is already viscous, just add this). In slurries having sufficient clay use pure CMC gum instead (unless a high-water-content slurry is needed).
Wednesday 5th January 2022
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