[Clayart] Hot wax

Paul Gerhold gerholdclay at gmail.com
Mon Jul 15 16:53:27 EDT 2019

Good post full of ideas. Have already considered playing with silicone caulk thinned with toluene. Will test and see how it works. 


> On Jul 15, 2019, at 8:20 AM, Robert Harris <robertgharris at gmail.com> wrote:
> Some of the copper reds I use are pretty thick.
> I have noted a couple of things about wax emulsion.
> 1. The thicker the layer the harder to dry fully and properly. Any water
> based coating is going to have this problem. Since moving to hot and dry
> Colorado things have improved significantly. If you live in humid Florida
> (as I did), you are always going to have problems.!
> 2. Both thin and thick layers can form rougher surfaces (either because of
> brushing issues with thick emulsion, or roughness of the bisque with thin
> layers). This automatically prevents good repulsion of the glaze.
> Hot wax works by cooling rather than evaporation so is always going to
> "cure" better, and faster. Generally it also has a smoother surface which
> helps repel the glaze better. The downside is that it cools very fast and
> is hard to handle. Frankly I've also seen hot wax have problems repelling
> the glaze if it's not applied smoothly.
> There are three routes of investigation that occur to me.
> 1. Find some sort of coating that does not rely on evaporation. Either a
> very thin two part epoxy or a coating that relies on oxidation (some of the
> polyurethanes work this way). This probably doesn't much fix your speed
> issue. You also want something that is high enough gloss to really repel
> water.
> 2. A coating that uses more volatile compounds to dry. Shellac is an
> example although as LT notes, this apparently is susceptible to water
> damage and therefore doesn't repel water very well. Some of the modern
> lacquers can be diluted with acetone and dry very fast and are more water
> repellent. Acetone etc has a very very low surface tension and I could see
> it not keeping a tight enough line.
> 3. If we focus on the water repelling properties, there are some very high
> tech water repelling silicones that might do a better job than even hot
> wax. Obviously silicone caulks spring to mind but probably aren't suitable
> for your application (mostly because of viscosity). But there are also
> silicone concrete sealers and fabric sealers than might work really well
> (I'm pretty sure I've seen very tight water beads on coated wood and
> concrete). These tend to have longer drying times, but you might find
> something that really repels the glaze.
> I use 100ml syringes for measuring specific gravities and the glaze will
> degrade the plastic and rubber plunger so it's almost impossible to move.
> However a single coat of silicone leather protectant completely renews it
> and I've noticed the glaze, however thick, really beads up nicely.
> Robert
>> On Mon, Jul 15, 2019, 4:51 AM Paul Gerhold <gerholdclay at gmail.com> wrote:
>> My problem is the glaze is clay based and has to be very thick to do what
>> I want to achieve. Thin resists just coat over after a couple of coats of
>> glaze.  Can actually clan with moist Q tips but way to much work to be a
>> viable technique. Need a way to get a thick resist layer that dries at a
>> reasonable rate.
>> Paul
>>> On Jul 14, 2019, at 4:15 PM, Robert Harris <robertgharris at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> Paul -
>>> I don't see why that wouldn't work. I'd imagine you could use light oil
>> or
>>> white spirit to reduce the melting point to work well with any
>> temperature
>>> setting/fluidity wanted.
>>> I'd also mention that I always dilute my wax emulsion quite
>> significantly.
>>> This aids drying time, but I have to admit I still like to give it an
>> hour
>>> or two, which really helps even thick glaze come right off.
>>> As an off beat idea how about using lacquer or something similar that is
>>> alcohol based. Should dry much faster. I know people who do water etching
>>> on leather hard clay like lacquer. No idea if it work on bisque however
>> (I
>>> could imagine the layer not being quite thick enough to get into pores
>> etc).
>>> Robert
>>> Ribert
>>>> On Sun, Jul 14, 2019, 12:10 PM Paul Gerhold <gerholdclay at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>>> Has anyone tried using an electric tjanting tool to apply hot wax to
>>>> bisque. I have tried several liquid wax resists and am so far unhappy
>> with
>>>> the drying rate.
>>>> I will try lowering bisque but I need a thick wax line to work with my
>>>> thickly applied glaze.
>>>> Paul
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