Our “shop” stoneware for the beginning classes should always be stored in the two trash cans labeled S165/S260. This clay should be made a little on the wet side because it can easily dry out in the bins. Clay should never be stored on the wooden shelves, on the window sill, or in a locker.
** Any time you are using dry materials, ALWAYS wear your dust mask and ALWAYS use the ventilation hood and the air cleaner!!
Before you start measuring out any dry materials, make sure and turn the timer on the ventilation hood (labeled “Exhaust Fan”) to “60” minutes.
How to use the Solder Clay Mixer:
1. If you are making the shop stoneware, start by putting in clay from the reclaim bin until it makes a flat layer across the bottom of the mixer and is even with the lower “V” of the mixer bars. The picture below shows the lower “V” – the reclaim should be put in until it is about halfway through the middle of where the two bars meet.
2. Never put any reclaim clay in the mixer that is harder than the clay you want to make – it won’t mix properly and you’ll have hard chunks of clay in your batch.
3. You will probably have to add water, so keep a close eye on the batch as it is mixing. Don’t let the clay get too hard in the mixer, it will overheat and you’ll have to stand around scratching your head until the mixer motor cools off (and it’s really bad for the really expensive motor).
4. Then, as the mixer is spinning, slowly add your dry ingredients through the openings in the mixer lid. As soon as you think the batch might be getting too hard, add water SLOWLY. If you add water too fast, the clay will sit in the mixer not spinning because there is a layer of slip between the spinning mixer and your clay. If this happens, start adding the next dry ingredient along the side of the mixer (between the clay and mixer). This will help dry that slip and make your clay start mixing again. If you don’t have any dry ingredients left, just wait while the mixer spins and it will eventually begin to mix again.
5. After your ingredients are all in the mixer and the clay is the right consistency, you only need to let it mix for about 10-15 minutes. There is no need to mix for longer than that – all that does is put unnecessary stress on the machine and dries your clay out.
6. Remove all of your clay from the mixer. Sometimes you may need to rotate the mixer by turning it on for a few seconds to loosen up the clay and make it so that you can reach to other parts of the batch.
7. After your clay is removed, thoroughly scrape the sides of the mixer with a plastic scraper and sponge off any remaining clay. Wipe down the lid, the mixer bars, and any tools you used. Do not leave any clay inside the mixer as it will dry out and create problems for the next person!