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Insight-Live Shares (also referencing this recipe)

These add technical detail, development info, variations and improvements.

L3954N - Cone 10 Engobe for H550

Modified: 2023-05-28 22:49:42


Material Amount Percent
Nepheline Syenite10.0010.9
OM #4 Ball Clay60.0065.2
Mason 6600 Black Stain10.0010.87
112.00 100


This is the product of a series of tests where the percentage of nepheline syenite was progressively reduced (from 25% originally) to reduce the firing shrinkage to match H550 (it is important that engobes shrink the same as the body or they will flake or crack off during firing or later during ware use). Amazingly only 10% nepheline syenite is needed to make this fit Plainsman H450, H550. Again, do not use this recipe on porcelains (e.g. P700) or whitewares (e.g. H570, P600), the recipe needs more nepheline for them (to increase firing shrinkage, we have another recipe, L3954J that does this).

This engobe is very plastic so it sticks well to leather hard clay (because of the high percentage of ball clay). If you don't have this brand name of ball clay then substitute for another.

The zircopax makes this fire quite white. If you want black, switch it to 5-10% Mason 6600. Be careful with other stains, some of them will flux and increase the fired shrinkage.

To mix this follow the instructions on using an engobe at the Digitalfire Reference Library. Our approximate recipe is: Mixed 3000 grams powder with 2380 water to get SG 1.47. Darvan 9.5g. That amount of Darvan works in our studio with our water and material (yours will be different). Start with 8.0 and add more until it is thin enough. Be super careful not to add too much (if you do it might be necessary to thicken the engobe with some Epsom salts, but again, a little at a time to avoid gelling it).

Related Information

Transparent and RavenTalc silky matte glazes on black engobe at cone 10R

Clay is Plainsman H450. The L3954N black engobe was applied at leather hard stage (on the insides and partway down the outside). The G1947U clear glossy glaze over it on the inside produces a deep and vibrant hue (left). The inside glaze on the right is GR10-C Ravenscrag silky matte. The outsides are GR10-J Ravenscrag Dolomite matte with a little added cobalt and iron (for blue and brown).

Two G2571A Bamboo versions: With iron, rutile-zircopax

These mugs are Plainsman H450 fired at cone 10R. Both have a black engobe (L3954N) applied to the insides and half way down the outside during leather hard stage (the insides are glazed with Ravenscrag silky matte and G1947U over the black engobe). The bamboo glazes can thus be seen over the black (upper half) and the raw buff body (lower). The bamboo glaze on the left has 1% iron added to the base G2571A recipe. The one on the right has 3.5% powdered rutile and 10% zircopax added.

L3954J black engobe on a cone 10R whiteware body

Black cone 10R engobe

The body is Plainsman H570 (0.5-1% porosity). This piece is not glazed. The firing schedule is C10RPL. Notice the EBCT test bars in front (engobe compatibility). These sandwich the body and the L3954J engobe together in a thin strip, differences in fired shrinkage curl the bar during firing (toward the one of higher shrinkage). The straighter the bars fire the better the fit. My regular engobe for use on our buff stoneware, L3954N (Plainsman H550, 2-3% porosity), has lower fired shrinkage than this (since that body is less vitreous). This one increases that shrinkage (with 5% more nepheline syenite, 5% less silica and 3% less ball clay). This employs 10% Mason 6600 stain to produce the jet-black fired product. 6600 is their cobalt black stain but the 6666 cobalt-free one should also work, both are suitable as body stains and recommended to 2300F (1260C) - cone 10 is technically above this limit but we have not encountered issues.


Glossary Engobe
Engobes are high-clay slurries that are applied to leather hard or dry ceramics. They fire opaque and are used for functional or decorative purposes. They are formulated to match the firing shrinkage and thermal expansion of the body.

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