Tuesday, January 8, 2013

That's Not Pancake Batter & Cleaning Kiln Shelves

This time I used warm water when I made slip and it softened the bone dry clay much better than cold water. I covered the bone dry clay with the warm water and let it sit for several  hours without stirring till the clay is all softened. Then I stirred the slip really well. I didn't even need a mixer this time. I left the slip sitting on the counter for a couple of days because I had added too much water and wanted some of the moisture to evaporate. Gary asked if I was going to make him pancakes. I said that's not pancake batter, sorry. I use the slip for attaching the seams in clay and also for mixing with mason stain colors to brush on the clay for decoration. For more details on how I mix slip and stains, see out my previous post Slip, Slop, Stain.

I've had my kiln for two years and I've never cleaned the shelves. I've been extremely careful with glazing but it was time to clean them. Shame on me; it wasn't as difficult as I thought. I have 21 inch half size corelite shelves. I can carry a shelf with one hand hanging down; they're really light weight. I brought a table outside and put a piece of thin foam with newspaper over it and placed the dirty shelf on that. I wore a mask that filters fine particles and safety glasses. I scraped the old kiln wash off with a metal putty knife and any glaze drips. I dusted off the shelves and took a damp cloth and wiped off any remaining dust off the shelves. Then I re-coated the shelves with kiln wash. I noticed there's a divot (small depression) in two shelves from the plucking of one plate. Is there some way to fill in those low spots?

It takes at least three hours for the kiln wash to dry completely between coats. I put two coats on; one in one direction and the other in the opposite direction. I mix the kiln wash like thin cream. The kiln wash doesn't appear thick enough till it dries so it's easy to think I'm not getting coverage. After the second coat I let the shelves dry over night. Now I'm ready to do some marathon firings. My cabinets are overflowing with lots of plates and bowls. I better get busy. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. Those are some nice shelves, smart of you to keep them in good shape. I wouldn't worry about the divot unless it's causing you problems with the placement of your pots.

  2. I am intimidated with Kilns.

  3. So very envious. I took a three year pottery course many years ago but have never been able to use the little I learned. Overflowing plates and bowls, how wonderful!

  4. Two ideas. 1. The easiest is ignore it, 2. If you got the surface totally free of kiln wash, turn the shelf over.

  5. We mostly ignore our divots, our shelves have seen a lot of use. You can always fill them in with extra kiln wash.

  6. Nice looking kiln shelves...you ought to see mine...not so pretty! Congrats on the Top Blog award, Linda. And happy firings....

  7. Good luck with the marathon firing - I am really, really looking forward to seeing the results.
    How lucky it was that Gary didn't decide to make himself those pancakes...

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  9. Hi Lori, thanks, I am hoping to keep these shelves in good shape to they'll last me a really long time.

    Hi Dee, thanks, I was too at first, but I bit the bullet and got over my fear somehow.

    Hi Carole, thanks, with clay there is never an end to the learning, keeps my going for sure.

    Hi Dennis, thanks, I think I'll ignore it.

    Hi Michele, thanks, I'll ignore them, I tried to fill in with extra kiln wash but didn't want it to be too thick and flake off.

    Hi Charlene, thanks, I'll bet you've used yours more than I've used mine.

    Hi Vicki, thanks, we shall see after the next firing how well I did the job.

    Hi Elephant's Child, thanks no danger in Gary making them cause he can barely boil water in the microwave. Ha.

    Hi Coins, thanks.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment