Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Vinegar Patch

The other day loading the kiln for a bisque I broke a flower bud off this vine pedestal. I set it aside to think about. So many times I've read about other potter's using apple cider vinegar in their slip to make clay attachments. Somehow I never seem to remember to get vinegar when I'm at the grocery store. Finally I remembered to buy a small bottle to try it out.

I decided to try mixing a little slip with vinegar and attach the bud. When I applied the vinegar slip mixture to the bud I was trying to attach, it actually seemed to jump at the attachment point like a magnet. I was impressed at this reaction and had high hopes for the next bisque firing. I know it looks a little rough, but I didn't dare sand it when I was happy just to get it to stick.

OK, here's the kicker, I'm trying this vinegar patch on bone dry pieces. Yes, they are bone dry, ready to fire in the kiln. Oh my goodness, what have I done. I put them in the kiln and fired them right away. I'm getting braver all the time. The official vinegar slip measurements are just like I normally do in cooking. I put a little slip in a small bowl, then I put a small clean brush into the vinegar and dropped a few drops into the slip, stirred it up, and painted the mixture onto the sprig I wanted to attach. I mixed it up kind of thick and dry, thinking I didn't want to risk watering down the bone dry clay piece.

I just opened the kiln. Guess what, it worked! I slipped a sprig onto a bone dry upright piece with a vinegar slip (not even the same type of clay slip - I break all the rules) and it held like glue. It also held on two different clay sprigs that broke off which I patched. I put them all in the kiln and started a slow bisque fire (12 hours cone 04) immediately. Three different pieces held on during the bisque firing. Yippee! I hope they make it through the glaze firing. Try a little dab of apple cider vinegar, you might like it.

Up next more firing results, a multitude of mushrooms, and a workshop, so stay tuned. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. Oh great that your fix worked! A friend of mine also adds some torn up toilet paper to make a paper clay type patch for breaks/cracks with a little gap to fill. The TP helps account for shrinkage. I haven't tried it myself but she uses it successfully all the time.

  2. i too have heard of mixing in some TP. glad to hear of your success and will definitely give it a try next time.

  3. More power to you! I'm so glad you found a way to solve your problem. It sounds easy too. Have a great day. Blessings...MAry

  4. I'll mention this to my potter friend, JB. It sounds like a great trick. Vinegar sure has many uses, doesn't it?

  5. On bone dry, no less? That's awesome. I'll remember that for next semester, as I am sure I will have something that will want to break. :) Will be interested to know if it makes it thru the glaze fire without cracking at the attachment point.

  6. Hi Barbara, thanks, oh the shrinkage thing, hum, I'll mix up a special batch next time.

    Hi Michele, thanks, I think I may have heard of the tp before but forgot about it.

    Hi Mary, thanks, I am sorry I never tried vinegar before this.

    Hi Teresa, thanks, yes vinegar is great, especially for pickled okra.

    Hi Becky, thanks, yeah better wait till the glaze firing to say too much more, Ha.


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