Experiments in for bisque…

I’m loving the black slip over this white clay body. Tons of ideas for glaze combinations, but until you see it in action all bets are off. So… there’s some fun stuff going here – looking forward to getting these pieces out of bisque and experimenting!
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Wine Stopper process howto – epoxy or glue?

I was asked after a facebook post “Wondering what type of glue you use? I’m always afraid things won’t adhere to the pottery. And does it work as well ceramic on ceramic?”

It made me realize I’d never discussed my process for attaching ceramic to the metal stoppers. So – here ya go: I hope this will help someone else down the road!

I went through several different epoxies and glues and finally settled on Loctite Hysol E-00CL. (McMaster-Carr has it and the dispenser here: http://www.mcmaster.com/#loctite-e-00cl/=ule32q). I make the ceramic end of my stoppers with a hole up through the bottom that matches a hole in the metal piece. (By the way, this hole also makes glazing easier, and means I can put the stoppers on stilts when firing to keep them from sticking to the shelf or falling over. Win/win/win. :) No glaze on the bottom of the piece, a threaded rod cut to length that’s small enough to slide freely between the two + epoxy = a very strong bond. Its really tricky to get it to all be clean, ventilation is really important, but its worth it – super strong bond, crystal clear. The ceramic will break long before the epoxy does.

Stoppers curing after being epoxied

Stoppers curing after being epoxied

Keeping the join clean… that’s almost another post. I use a mixer nozzle with a fine tip to squeeze epoxy into the hole in the metal end. Just the right amount that when I push the threaded rod in there will be a bit of epoxy squeezed out of the hole. I then do the same on the ceramic end’s hole. The set time for the epoxy is 5 minutes, which gives me just enough time to work on about 4 stoppers in parallel:

  • Hold the metal end upright, add epoxy, insert threaded rod.
  • Add epoxy to a ceramic end, place it hole up.
  • Repeat a few more times, then go back to the first and:
  • Flip ceramic over and slide down onto rod.
  • Immediately clean off any epoxy that’s out of place – I do this with qtips snapped in half and small pieces of index card.
    The desire is to have the epoxy just to the edge of the metal and the ceramic so metal to ceramic is a smooth transition with no seams or edges.
  • Prop up stopper however necessary so there’s no movement while it finally sets. Once the bond is sturdy, it can complete curing over the next 24 hours without any concerns.

I initially tried several glues (including E6000), but found that they didn’t harden inside the piece, or shrank (the epoxy doesn’t shrink at all), or didn’t form a strong enough bond. Epoxy fills voids, dries absolutely solid, and looks just like glass – when done right, if its visible it can actually add something to the piece!

Don’t forget to protect yourself when working with epoxy – there are concerns with both fumes and skin contact. (And obviously you shouldn’t lick the stuff. 😉 I always wear gloves, and work in the bathroom – I can close the door, and have installed an overly-eager fan which sucks air out fast enough that there’s no inhalation issues. (I actually had to enlarge the gap under the door to allow enough airflow. This fan really sucks.)

Have fun! If you have any questions or success, let me know here or on my Facebook Page: Curly Creatures. Enjoy!

Reunited and it feels so good!

It had been far too long. Since the early spring life’s insisted on coming between me and the pottery studio. Well, no more! Finally this week I’m back at it, and happy to find my fingers still remember how to work the clay.

Some photos of the goodies:
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