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Are you ready to take your passion of pottery to the next level? Here are some of the most important questions to ask yourself:. Ceramic materials are classified largely according to the temperature required for the clay to mature. Be sure to check the types of glaze you use for indicators on required temperature and cone ranges. Other important dimensions to consider relate to the kiln itself.VIDEO ON THE TOPIC: Clay Craft India - Insight to Production Process
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Guide to Kiln Temperature Ranges for Pottery
All clays and glazes are created to mature at specific temperatures, and any variance can lead to unsatisfactory results in ceramic durability or color.
If fired too high, clay can deform or even melt and can result in glaze runoff; if fired too low, your pieces will be dry, rough, and potentially unsolidified. Historically, low-fire has been the most commonly used firing range due to limitations in kiln technology. Though kilns are now capable of much more complex, high-temperature processes, the low-fire range continues to be popular due to the fact that it allows ceramic artists to use a variety of colorants that either burn off or become unstable at higher temperatures.
Here are the important details to note about low-fire materials and glazes:. Terracotta is one of the most popular types of earthenware. While Cone 04 is the average when firing earthenware, low-fire materials can be fired anywhere from Cone up to Cone 1.
Since earthenware is softer than other clay bodies, it seldom becomes fully vitrified, meaning it will be porous, absorb liquids, and be less durable. A separate glaze layer will also be apparent. The color of low-fire clays after emerging from the kiln depends largely on the content of mineral impurities in the clay, but they can become brown, red, orange, buff, medium grey, or white after firing.
In general, low-fire glaze colors are more varied and brighter than mid- or high-fire glazes, but they can appear rather harsh and raw-looking. Fired even lower than their clay bodies, very low-fire glazes, like luster glazes metallics, iridescents and overglaze enamels, are often applied after a higher-fire glaze firing, and are best suited for firing between Cone and Cone A burnished low fire clay bisque for sawdust firing also occurs within this range.
The best results for most low-fire red and orange glazes happen at Cone 07 or lower, and many low-fire commercial glazes will be most successful between Cone 06 and Cone Most kiln manufacturers don't produce kilns that do low-firing exclusively, and instead produce mid-range or high-fire kilns which of course can support the lower temperatures.
With the increased availability of electric kilns , mid-range firing has increased in popularity among potters, especially as artists become more concerned about energy and fuel usage. Most electric kilns can comfortably reach this range without severely decreasing their lifespan or that of their elements. Below are some details about the clay bodies, suggested temperatures, and glazes intended for mid-range firing:. Typically, mid-range clay is stoneware, a plastic clay that is often grey when moist.
Getting its name from the dense, rock-like nature of the clay body when fired, stoneware is typically combined with other clays to modify it, such as ball clays which might be added for plasticity. It is important to note that stoneware is divided into two types - mid-fire and high-fire - and this section of the guide will be referring specifically to mid-fire stoneware.
This is the most common temperature range for industrial ceramics. Like low-fire bodies, mid-range stoneware is relatively soft and porous and has a clearly separate glaze layer after firing. However, a mid-range firing results in increased durability of the ware as well. When fired, stoneware ranges in color from light grey to buff, to medium grey and brown.
Mid-range glazes typically mature between Cone 4 and Cone 6, and most commercial underglazes have a maximum temperature of Cone 6. These glazes are more durable, still offer a fairly extensive color range, and though not quite as harsh as low-fire glazes, can still be quite bright.
Though some stoneware is intended for mid-range firings, other types of stoneware mature at higher temperatures and result in a different ceramic end product. Glazes intended for high-fire procedures are also quite different. In order to understand how best to fire high-fire stoneware and glazes, here are some tips on their temperature requirements and composition:.
High-fire stoneware is very similar to mid-fire stoneware in terms of ingredients, and may similarly be modified through adding other types of clay bodies such as fire clays, which raise the maturation temperature. However, high-range bodies have either more refractory elements than mid-range stoneware clays, less fluxing agents, or a combination of the two. Between the range of Cone 8 and Cone 12, high-fire stoneware will mature. Cone 10 is the average for this clay body.
When fired, high-fire stoneware becomes hard, vitrified, and non-absorbent. It is extremely durable, especially compared to both low-fire and mid-range ceramics.
Additionally, a body-glaze layer will form between the clay body and the glaze, and though firing color will vary, depending on the process, the finished product can be light grey, buff, medium grey, or brown. Glazes intended for high-fire clays are fired in the same cone and temperature range as the clay body of this category. Like stoneware, they are also dense and durable. However, the color range is limited due to the varying effects of oxidation and reduction on glaze colorants.
Though there are still a few coloring oxides in this high temperature range that can produce a rich color, the palette is much more limited. We offer a variety of high fire kilns at Soul Ceramics. If you're looking for a small high fire kiln, we'd recommend the Evenheat HF If you're looking for a medium sized high fire kiln, we'd recommend the Evenheat HF And if you're ready to get some real work done with a large sized high fire kiln, we'd recommend the Evenheat HF !
The clay bodies that require the highest firing temperatures are kaolin clays, which are most commonly used for porcelain. Named after a hill in China from which it was mined for centuries, kaolin is the purest form of clay and is the foundation of all porcelain clay bodies.
Though pure kaolin clays can be fired, often they are mixed with other clays to increase both workability and lower the firing temperature, so if using a kaolin-based clay body, be sure to note how pure your material is, as this will change the required temperature. As a clay body, porcelain is known for its hardness, extremely tight density, whiteness, and translucence in thin-walled pieces.
Another difficulty with porcelain bodies is that they are very prone to warping during drying in the kiln. When fired, porcelain becomes a hard, vitrified, non-absorbent clay body, very similar to high-fire stoneware. It also develops a body-glaze layer formed between the clay body and the glaze.
The absence of any iron, alkalies, or alkaline earths in the molecular structure of kaolin not only dictate its high-fire requirements, but are also responsible for its most identifiable characteristic: its white color.
When fired, the color of porcelain ranges from a very light grey or buff to near-white and white. Similar to high-fire stoneware, glazes used for porcelain are limited in color variety and intensity. Most glazes intended for high temperature firings will be lighter, less brilliant, and generally fewer in number and variety. We hope this guide has been useful in helping you to determine what temperature best suits your projects!
Along with this guide, be sure to always check the labels of any glaze or clay you buy in order to confirm temperature requirements. Soul Ceramics is an online retailer providing the lowest online prices for ceramics and pottery equipment, heat treating ovens, glass fusing kilns and other art supplies.
I have only had the oven for a short time but it is as advertised. They communicated great the hole time and delivered as promised. Everything about my recent order can be summed up in a word: effortless.
Finding the oven I wanted was a cinch and placing the order could not have been easier. Simply pleased and I would definitely recommend Soul Ceramics! Stellar experience! Was looking to purchase and the first company I talked to blew me off when I asked question. Not Soul Ceramics. Got my kiln 3. TJ is very thoughtful. Thanks for everything. Our students love the new kiln, everyone is very happy with it.
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Hellerstein, Joel Bender, John G. Hadley and Charles M. Typical body constituents 2. Manufacturing processes 3.
Table of Contents
The toughness, strength, and translucence of porcelain, relative to other types of pottery , arises mainly from vitrification and the formation of the mineral mullite within the body at these high temperatures. Though definitions vary, porcelain can be divided into three main categories: hard-paste , soft-paste and bone china. The category that an object belongs to depends on the composition of the paste used to make the body of the porcelain object and the firing conditions. Porcelain slowly evolved in China and was finally achieved depending on the definition used at some point about 2, to 1, years ago, then slowly spread to other East Asian countries, and finally Europe and the rest of the world. Its manufacturing process is more demanding than that for earthenware and stoneware , the two other main types of pottery, and it has usually been regarded as the most prestigious type of pottery for its delicacy, strength, and its white colour. It combines well with both glazes and paint, and can be modelled very well, allowing a huge range of decorative treatments in tablewares, vessels and figurines. It also has many uses in technology and industry. The European name, porcelain in English, comes from the old Italian porcellana cowrie shell because of its resemblance to the surface of the shell. Porcelain has been described as being "completely vitrified, hard, impermeable even before glazing , white or artificially coloured, translucent except when of considerable thickness , and resonant". Traditionally, East Asia only classifies pottery into low-fired wares earthenware and high-fired wares often translated as porcelain , the latter also including what Europeans call stoneware , which is high-fired but not generally white or translucent.
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