[Clayart] Reclaiming 30 lbs of clay

Hank Murrow hmurrow at efn.org
Wed Jul 14 17:03:02 UTC 2021

Well, I do much the same with my scrap, and when I get enough slaking in a 30 gallon tub, I add some vinegar and blunge it until smooth and creamy, and put it in heavy Dacron bags made of 

Filter cloth and hang them from the rafters in my studio, where they hang for the two to four days it takes to firm up enough for wedging. I get about 300#s of superb throwing clay from this	recycling.

Double bagged, they rest until I need the clay for my next round of making. Best clay ever!

Hank in Eugene

> On Jul 14, 2021, at 8:17 AM, Robert Harris <robertgharris at gmail.com> wrote:
> I'm in between the two. I throw a lot of English porcelain which is
> seriously pricey. I also don't have a pugmill - which probably doubles the
> time and quadruples the effort needed.
> So ... easy to reclaim scrap - trimmings, broken pots etc.  go in a bucket.
> Every few weeks (and it's all naturally bone dry by then), I fill the
> bucket up with water and let it slake for a couple of days. I then use a
> jiffy mixer to really mix it up. Don't want it too thick, a real slip. Let
> it settle for a day or so, take off a bit of water, mix it up (with a bit
> of vinegar if I remember) then put it out on plaster. Wait for a day or two
> (I put newspaper over it after 24 hours so the edges don't get crispy (and
> I've seen people press it with sheets or towels which wicks the water up
> and speeds evaporation). I try and make sure I get to it before it reaches
> 50lbs. (I reclaimed 75lbs a couple of weeks ago which was a bit too much
> effort at once without a pugmill).
> BUT, any scraps with dubious provenance (i.e. end up on the floor or aren't
> directly off the wheel or a broken pot) get chucked. And large blocks or
> weird, slaked but then dried out stuff, gets chucked. Even at $40 a box, if
> I spend 2-3 hours reclaiming 50lbs of clay I'm essentially working less
> than (Denver) minimum wage ($14.77). And sometimes it all gets a little
> overwhelming (and in a co-op there is a space issue!), and it all goes out
> in the alley (it's just dirt after all!). I do it more in the name of
> environmental impact than to save money.
> And frankly if I made only big pieces; pieces without much trimming I
> probably wouldn't bother at all. And if I used a relatively cheap clay and
> didn't make much I DEFINITELY wouldn't bother without a pugmill.
> Robert

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