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Tony Hansen's Thousand-Post TimeLine

I am the creator of Digitalfire Insight, the Digitalfire Reference Database and ... more


Decomposing manganese granular particles in a buff stoneware causing it to bloat

A cone 6 stoneware with 0.3% 60/80 mesh manganese granular (Plainsman M340). Fired from cone 4 (bottom) to cone 8 (top). It is normally stable to cone 8, with the manganese it begins to bloat at cone 7. The particles of manganese generate gases as they decompose and melt, these produce volumes and ... more

Tuesday 23rd May 2017

Can you make a black-burning stoneware using black iron oxide?

Iron oxide has been added to a stoneware clay and samples fired at cone 6. They contain black iron oxide (10%, 5% and 2.5%). Even at 2.5% the raw pugged body is very black and messy to work with. Did they fire black? Or even dark grey? No. Some form of manganese is needed.

Monday 15th May 2017

4% iron oxide in a clear glaze. Unscreened. The result: Fired specks.

Iron oxide is a very fine powder. Unfortunately it can agglomerate badly and no amount of wet mixing seems to break down the lumps. However putting the glaze through a screen, in this case, 80 mesh, does reduce them in size. Ball milling would remove them completely. Other oxide colorants have this same issue (e.g. cobalt oxide). Stains disperse much better in slurries.

Thursday 11th May 2017

Redart (left) vs. Lizella clay. Definitely not substitutes for each other.

These bars have been fired at cones 4, 2, 02, 04 (top to bottom) using the SHAB testing procedure. We can measure fired shrinkage and porosity in each to get an indication of their fired maturity. The Redart (left) is much more vitreous and reaches almost zero porosity by cone 4 whereas the Lizella ... more

Sunday 7th May 2017

Stamp used for stamping information onto clay test bars

This type of stamp is deal for stamping mix and ID information on SHAB (and many other test types) clay test bars. Set up the run or recipe number on the left and the specimen number on the right.

Sunday 7th May 2017

These two frits have one difference in the chemistry: Al2O3.

These two boron frits (Ferro 3124 left, 3134 right) have almost the same chemistry. But there is one difference: The one on the right has no Al2O3, the one on the left has 10%. Alumina plays an important role (as an oxide that builds the glass) in stiffening the melt, giving it body and lowering its ... more

Thursday 20th April 2017

How to make a ceramic time-bomb

This mug is pinging loudly and literally self-destructing in front of my eyes! Why? The glaze is under so much compression (the inside is pushing outward, the outside inward). Spiral cracks are developing all the way up the side. Small razor-sharp flakes are shivering off convex contours. Why? I ... more

Sunday 16th April 2017

Example of how bubbles dissipate in a glaze with increasing temperature

This is a Gerstley Borate based recipe (45%) melted in crucibles at increasing temperatures. Although the recipe is well melted at cone 2, it is still not fluid enough to enable their migration in the time available. By contrast, the melt at the upper temperature is much less viscous, enabling all ... more

Sunday 16th April 2017

Ceramic Oxide Periodic Table

All common traditional ceramic base glazes are made from only a dozen elements (plus oxygen). Materials decompose when glazes melt, sourcing these elements in oxide form. The kiln builds the glaze from these, it does not care what material sources what oxide (assuming, of course, that all materials ... more

Wednesday 12th April 2017

Insight-Live comparing a glossy and matte cone 6 base glaze recipe

Insight-live is calculating the unity formula and mole% formula for the two glazes. Notice how different the formula and mole% are for each (the former compares relative numbers of molecules, the latter their weights). The predominant oxides are very different. The calculation is accurate because ... more

Wednesday 12th April 2017

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What people have said about digitalfire

• You guys blow my mind with all your information. It is very much appreciated. I read it, sometimes 5 times, I don't always get it. Thanx!!

• Just found you and am very excited. Will order a copy of your Magic of Fire II as soonas I have some $. I won INSIGHT on newsletter web page.

• I would like to stay connected to your program. In my glaze workshops, I use your 5/20 glaze as our Cone 6 reference so I often mention you and Digital to all of my students. I also tell them about all the great articles and reference materials you have with the level 2 program.

• First of all, I want you to know what an incredible resource your work has been for me the past several years.

• Hi Tony, First, your website is the most knowledgeable and accurate information available on the internet today. THANK-YOU!

• I found your site and spent a long time studying various parts of it. I intend to use it alot, and hence I probably purchase the software in due course.

• Thank you for continuing to provide this exceptional service. Just yesterday, a comment was made about one of the glazes: I have never used a glaze as smooth as this before. I wish to thank you for all of the information you keep available for us.

• Hi Tony, Thanks for this great project and all the info and tutorials.

• Great site btw. Besides getting married its the next best thing I did.

• I have been a ceramic consultant for many years and working in many parts of the world and must say that you are doing a very nice job with your website and software.

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