Wednesday, January 16, 2013

waxing and thinking, waxing and

When we get the pots ready for the gas kiln they all need to be picked up, looked at, sharp edges removed and a quick sponge off where those sharp edges have been removed.

There are times when I am doing this that I would pay you a gold coin to have to come over and help me or just to have you do it for me while I read a book...interested parties please apply.

I remember when I first tried to wax a lid for a pot and how horrible I was at it. Trying to hold the lid and make a straight line was just about impossible. It was all a big mess. Then one day as we were visiting a seasoned potter I watched him place a pot on a banding wheel and then dip his brush in the hot wax and place a near perfect line on the gallery of a jar.

It was one of those moments - so simple and yet, so useful.
I never looked back.
In fact since we were so poor we, Mark, made me a banding wheel from an old turn table off an old record player. It worked good, not great, but good. Then one day we walked into a clay supplies and this banding wheel was on sale.

I use a pencil to add a line to the pot so I know just where my lid will fit.
Then I use that line to gauge where the wax will go.

I then turn the jar over and do a line around the bottom and then fill in the bottom with a larger brush. I know seems like an extra step but I like that good line and no splash from the hot wax.
And, yes, I do drip wax on occasion but not that often.

Here is my hot wax set up.
I am set up in front of a window that has a fan to draw out the fumes. At one time we had a kitchen range hood that worked great but it is long gone and the fan works just as well.

The number one thing about wax is you don't want to breathe in those fumes. The other thing is to always, always unplug the pan when you walk out of the room. Never think you will be right back. This is safety issue. It takes less time to wait for wax to melt then it would to rebuild your shop.
 This is my buddy system.
I box bowls and like items to wax the foot of many of the pots we make.

Guess who's back?! We are making more mugs with the stamp.
I promise to blog on that next.
Back to work.


Kings Creek Pottery said...

I love my banding wheel too! Thanks for the pointers about hot far I have been too intimidated to use it. Maybe someday~

Linda Starr said...

How much does that gold coin weigh? for even a quarter ounce I'll be over, Ha.

Michèle Hastings said...

Leaving the hot wax pan is my greatest fear, which is a good thing, I am always double checking it.

i use liquid wax for the galleries of lidded pots, centering the pot on the wheel using my giffin grip. Bottoms of pots and lids get dipped in the hot wax. I find I get a cleaner line dipping than brushing and it goes faster.

Laurie said...

Yay for more stamped mugs, and for your sesame kiln cookies, which are chilling in the freezer so I can bake them quicker!

powen liu said...

What is the small tin can for?

Tracey Broome said...

When you have been at it for 30 years, you figure out the right way to do things. don't you!
I have the same banding wheel, the most useful tool I ever bought!

DirtKicker Pottery said...

Great tips from the pros :)

angela walford said...

cold wax in my studio not that i use it much :P

cookingwithgas said...

ah- the tuna can. I place the block of wax in there and let it melt. Then when I need more wax I just pour some in.

Come over to the dark side of hot wax......

Lori Buff said...

Great waxing tips. I use cold wax because I do most of my waxing/glazing at Mudfire but it's sure slow. That teaches you to think about when you can skip waxing.

Michael Mahan said...

Well, I'm going to put a tin can in my wax, too. Great idea: no more waiting for the wax to melt. I'm actually in the market for a new electric burner. My twenty-some-year-old hot plate bit the dust.