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Monthly Tech-Tip from Tony Hansen

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Was that batch of frit 3195 really bad?

After a customer experienced blistering with a transparent glaze on a terra cotta body, suspicion was raised that the batch of frit of bad. Ferro even admitted there was an issue. But we decided to test, sampling about 20 of the 50 lb bags and combining that to make these tests. Upper left is a GLFL test, if compares the melt flow of an old batch of frit 3195 with the questioned one, fired at 1750F. Although the questioned batch does run a little more, a more important difference is in the bubble development (look closer), perhaps there is some fluorine contamination. A GBMF test compares the two samples on the bottom left (10 gram balls melt downward onto a sample tile). Again, the questioned batch is melting and bubbling a little more. We made two glazes: Cone 6 GA6-B (top right) contains 20% of the frit (the left one uses an old frit batch). The Baby High Chair Cushion, Thick Pad for Wooden High Chair , Baby 05 G1916QL1 glaze (bottom right, it contains 60% of the frit) uses the questioned frit and works well on both the white and red bodies. So, although it might not be working for some, we determined that the frit is OK! Although it is possible that only certain bags of the batch were bad, that seems unlikely given the way frits are made, all bags in a batch should be the same.

Context: Gold Medal, Whole Wheat Flour, 5 lb

Thursday 18th November 2021

A cone 10R iron crystal glaze using only Ravenscrag Slip and Iron

Ravenscrag Slip, by itself, produces a silky transparent glaze at Koziol 3152676, breakfast box, lunch to go, meal prep, organic r 10R. It is an excellent base to which to add colorants and modifiers. This is a simple addition of 10% iron oxide (Ravenscrag Slip already contains 2% iron, making about 12% total Fe2O3). It produces a stunning crystalline fired surface on these two porcelains. We can call this a "Beyond-Tenmoku" (crystals happen because of more iron or a slow cooling rate than a Tenmoku). The 12% iron dissolves in the glaze melt during firing, but during cooling in the kiln, the extra 2% precipitates out to produce these surfaces. The iron also acts as a flux in reduction firing, greatly increasing melt fluidity. Take that last statement seriously: The iron is a flux, the glaze will melt much more. So just adding iron oxide to a glossy transparent will wreck your kiln shelves when it runs down off the ware. Ravenscrag Slip does not melt-to-glossy, it has just enough feldspar to fire to a durable surface, making it a more stable host for the iron addition.

Context: GR10-L, X-DREE 1/8" Dia drill hole Tungsten Carbide Single Cut Cylinder, FeO (iron oxide) is a very powerful flux, Same high-iron glaze. One crystallizes and the other does not. Why?, Ravenscrag web site

Thursday 18th November 2021

A step to prevent cracking clay mug handles

Drying cracks are opportunistic. They will initiate inside sharp acute angles. The sharper the angle the greater the chance of crack. By doing this procedure after trimming you will deny a crack a place to start. Of course even drying is still important, the water content of a handle should now be allowed to get ahead of that of the main body of the mug at any time. In the pictures on the right, two tools are being used to compress and round the angle at which the handle meets the wall of the mug.

Context: One way to avoid drying cracks on handle-joins of engobed mugs, Drying Crack

Monday 15th November 2021

Why do some clays split like this on throwing or forming?

An example of splitting, where a thrown clay develops a split minutes after throwing. This often happens at stretch-points with sandy or groggy 72pcs Drawing Pencils Set in Zipper Carry Case, Professional Col or those that have a wide range of particle sizes (e.g. native clays not ground to Infant Baby Boys Girls Halloween Pumpkin Cosplay Costume Romper). The larger particles create networks into which water can penetrate and begin and propagate a split. It is thus wise not to leave water or high-water-content slip on any surfaces experiencing tensile stress during forming.

Context: Splitting at the Plastic Stage

Monday 15th November 2021

Wedging manganese speckle into a cone 6 buff stoneware

This is actually quite easy to do: Just wedge the clay over the manganese spread out on the board, when the board is clean turn the slug sideways and cut and layer about 20 times (to get 1 million layers). Then wedge normally. Only 0.2% manganese is needed (as a percentage of the dry clay). Since pugged clay contains 20% water it is easy to calculate the dry weight of this piece. For example, suppose this weighs 2 kg: 80% of that is 1.6 kg or 1600g. 0.2% of 1600 is 3.2 grams. Shown is the kind of mug I get. The outside glaze is G2934Y silky matte (opacified with tin) and inside glaze is G2926BW glossy white. It was fired at cone 6 using the PLC6DS schedule.

Context: Manganese Granular, An ordinary white mug: More difficult to make than you think!

Thursday 11th November 2021

Step-by-step how to test and evaluate a new native clay

"It Starts With a Lump of Clay", a step-by-step Insight-Live.com tutorial (from its help system and the link below) on how to document every step (in an account at at insight-live.com) of analyzing a raw sample of clay. You will learn things about drying shrinkage, drying performance, Snake Type Stainless Steel CZ Moon Bar Barbell Nipple Ring Pierc, plasticity, firing shrinkage, fired porosity, fired color, soluble salt content, fired strength, etc. We will not just observe these properties, but measure them. In doing so we will characterize the material. We will answer simple questions about how the material forms, dries and fires across a range of temperatures. In doing the testing I will be generating a lot of data. No single factor is more intimidating to new technicians than what do to with this data, how to store it, where to store it, how it can be searched, learned from, compared. This tutorial will erase that question.

Context: Buweirezhi Men's Shorts with Lining Fantasy Black Wolf Surf Bath, It Starts With a Lump of Clay: How to Assess a Native Clay, Native Clay, Clay body

Wednesday 10th November 2021

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How to make a zero-fired-shrinkage clay

This is Plainsman BGP, a terra cotta, mixed with 30% dolomite. Note the "DSHR" column in the SHAB test data (third last column): The drying shrinkage still averages over 7% even with the 30% dolomite, so BGP is very plastic. Notice the "FSHR" (fired shrinkage) column, it is negative for the first five test bars fired at JIFFYY 4 CAR MAT Clips Floor Holders Fixing Clamps for VW Skoda 05-01, that means the bars grew in size! But notice the shrinkage hits 0% at cone 1 (bar #6). By cone 2 the trend has reversed to 0.3% shrinkage. The #6 bar is appears to be vitrifying, the color is darkening and it is strong. But notice the last "ABS" column (water absorption), it is 18.7%! This body was intended as a high-porosity ceramic at the lower ranges (it has 25% porosity at cone 05), but the dolomite is also slowing the densification as it goes through the Carpe Diem Designs Lee Coat of Arms/Lee Family Crest 8X10 Photo process. Without the dolomite the top bar would be melting! By cone 1 its firing shrinkage would be 7% and the porosity would be zero. Is this technique practical? Yup! The entire monoporosa wall tile industry is based on it!

Context: Dolomite, Monoporosa or Single Fired Wall Tiles, Firing Shrinkage

Wednesday 10th November 2021

One reason why stoneware clays are more convenient

Fewer drying cracks! These were all made at the same time and dried in the same way. Left: Three out of five porcelain mugs have cracked on the bottoms! Right: None of the stoneware ones have. Sometimes I feel as if those are "crying cracks" instead of "drying cracks". Of course, I could have been more careful with the porcelain. But I keep forgetting items on the "drying success checklist"! So, for production, it makes sense to use a stoneware if at all possible. I can make hundreds of mugs using the body on right, M340, and will not lose a single one!

Context: Drying Crack, Stoneware, Clay Cracking During Drying

Wednesday 10th November 2021

Inadequate air-flow during clearing at the end of a reduction firing

The clearing period at the end of the reduction firing was done without opening the damper, the gas pressure was simply turned down enough to stop temperature rise. The flame through the damper and the peep holes completely disappeared and this cleared the chamber of carbon immediately. Only one quarter the normal gas pressure was needed to hold temperature. But there was a problem: Inadequate airflow through the chamber to clear carbon build-up in the clays. The issue was most visible on the insides of pieces like this. And it was made worse by another factor: Body carbon trapping of an ultra-transparent early-melting fritted clear glaze that we have been testing.

Context: Reduction Firing

Wednesday 10th November 2021

An original container bag of ceramic rutile

This bag is very small, this material is very dense and heavy. The primary use of this material is obvious: For making welding rods. However notice the bag bottom is marked "Ceramic Rutile" (with a batch number). Why would a product intended for making welding rods be used in ceramics? The answer is very interesting.

Context: Ceramic Rutile

Wednesday 10th November 2021

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What people have said about Digitalfire

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  • So far your site has been a blessing in that I don't feel I have to go anywhere else to get my information, you have it all (at least as far as I can see now) right here in one place. I am new to glaze formulation but not to ceramics. Recently I have had a crazing problem with a certain clay body I am using and as of today I feel confident I can solve it using information on your website. It is I who want to thank you for making such a clear and concise information depository that can be used by all, especially those new to glaze chemistry.
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  • I have been following your Site and posts continually and gained a greater understanding. Thank you for that. It is so exciting to have a positive outcome from your glazes rather then the bought glazes. ... All good and exciting. My pottery clients are excited and have recognized the difference. There is nothing better than to pass on the best work possible to those who love the pots. So much work and testing, but well worth it. Thank you so much.
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