|Monthly Tech-Tip |
It is important that during all stages of drying gradients (sections of different stiffnesses) do not develop in pieces. Thus I like to attach handles as soon after throwing as possible. An unavoidable gradient develops anyway because the rims need to be stiff enough to attach the handles without going out of shape too much. Now how can I stiffen these mugs for trimming and even them out at the same time? The first key is to put them on a plaster bat (as I have done here). Then I cover them with a fabric (arnel fabric works well because it flows). Then I put the whole thing into a large garbage plastic bag folded underneath to seal it. The plaster stiffens the bases and absorbs moisture in the air to stiffen the walls also. The next day every part of the piece is an even leather hard.
Drying Ceramics Without Cracks
Anything ceramic ware can be dried if it is done slowly and evenly enough. To dry faster optimize the body recipe, ware cross section, drying process and develop a good test to rate drying performance.
Clays used in ceramics shrink when they dry because of particle packing that occurs as inter-particle water evaporates. Excessive or uneven shrinkage causes cracks.
During drying clays and porcelains shrink as they become rigid. When this occurs unevenly, cracks are the result.
In ceramics, handles need to be applied to many types of ware. There are things to know not just to make them look good, but to be strong, durable, practical.