Clay-Making Project ~ Part 2

Continuing with our clay making project has us making a wooden form over which to shape some clay troughs. The troughs will be used to hold our 5-lb test batches of clay as they dry out to a working consistency. 

In order to insure that our test batches have the maximum plasticity possible right out of the bucket, we are mixing them with a generous amount of water so that the clay forms a fairly wet slurry. Over-saturating the clay makes sure that every particle of clay is thoroughly wet, which maximizes the clay's plasticity (it's ability to stretch without tearing). While introducing a generous amount of water to the clay blend is easy, drying that water out again is a time-consuming process. Our clay troughs, once they are bisque-fired to about 1800°F, should help speed the drying process a bit since the bisque clay helps draw water out of the clay through evaporation.

The form has been designed so that the troughs will fit onto an old restaurant pan rack. That will help us save space as the clay dries to working consistency.

Once we complete our testing and move into production, we will use a different method of clay mixing in which just enough water is added to get the clay to working consistency, but then we will let the clay age in plastic bags for a month or so to let the plasticity develop. Look for more info about our clay project soon...