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The most expensive way to dry greenware is to heat it in a kiln.
It rusts the kiln, wears out elements faster, wastes electricity, and can cause the pottery to explode.

If you use your kiln on low to dry your greenware, you will notice that your kiln will start firing very slow and the kiln will start dripping nasty black water around the case and on the floor.

When you fire wet greenware, moisture from it turns to steam.
As the heated air in the kiln expands, it escapes by pushing its way into the pores of the firebricks.
When the moisture reaches the cooler stainless steel kiln case and galvanized steel base plate, it condenses, causing the water to drip around the kiln.
This happens at the beginning of the firing.
When the case and base plate become hotter than 212 deg F., the moisture no longer condenses on those surfaces.

The firebricks in a typical eight sided kiln can absorb approximately fifty pounds of moisture from wet greenware.
This reduces the insulating capacity of the firebrick.
It also takes a tremendous amount of electrical power to convert the water to steam during firing and this will slow the kiln to a crawl.

If you do fire a load of wet greenware, after you are done, you should fire your kiln empty overnight on low heat to burn off all the moisture in the firebricks.

Below are some suggestions that will help you determine when the greenware is dry and what to do if it won't dry completely.

Give the greenware enough time to dry, in most areas at least two days.
Drying time depends on humidity and the thickness of the clay.
In areas of low humidity, blowing a fan on the greenware can dry it so fast that it has to be turned to avoid cracking from shrinkage.
In humid areas the greenware might not ever dry fully.

Touch the greenware to the inside of your wrist or to your cheek.
If it feels warm, it is usually dry.
Dry longer if it feels cool, but remember that in humid areas even damp greenware can feel warm.
Greenware feels cool due to evaporation.
In high humidity, even damp greenware can feel warm when the moisture in it stops evaporating.

If you live in a humid area and the greenware is still moist after an extended drying time load it into the kiln and prop the lid open about an inch using the kiln's lid prop.
If your kiln does not have a lid prop, use a scrap of firebrick.
his will let the moisture escape and prevents it from being absorbed into the fire bricks.
Fire to 200° F. slowly and maintain 200° F. until the greenware is completely dry.

If you have an electronic kiln, use the preheat feature in the Cone Fire mode or program a preheat segment in Ramp Hold mode.

If you have a manual fire kiln, turn the bottom switch on low and leave the other switches off. You may need to vary this switch setting for your kiln.

If you have a downdraft kiln vent, keep the lid closed and leave the vent on during preheat. It will help prevent the kiln from rusting, because the vent will draw the moisture from the kiln.

The Dead Man Test: Checking for Dryness with a Mirror

The term dead man’s test came from the days of the old west, when a mirror was held under the nose of a presumably dead person to verify that they were actually dead.
Now, don't panic, your not going to be checking to see if your kiln is dead, you will be just checking to see if your kiln is still releasing moisture!!!

To do this, hold a mirror above the lid or top peephole where hot air from the kiln will move across the mirror's surface.
If the mirror fogs, the greenware is still releasing moisture.
Keep the lid propped and maintain 200 deg. F. until the mirror no longer fogs.
If you are firing with a downdraft kiln vent, first turn off the vent and then perform the mirror test.

Checking pottery dryness with a mirror

For this test to work, the mirror must be at room temperature.
The mirror fogs when moisture in the hot air condenses on the cooler mirror.
If you hold the mirror too long near the kiln, the mirror will heat up and will no longer fog when moisture hits it.
So hold it at the lid for only a few seconds at a time.

God could not be everywhere, so he made mothers

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Have you ever come up with a good idea while working with your handmade pottery and thought that you would like to share it with others? You have? Well, why not send it to us and we will add it to the tips page for all to see.

Handmade pottery can be a very gratifying hobby that produces fun and satisfying results. For many people it's an enjoyable release that is created by working an inanimate mound of clay into a beautiful work of art that you made through your artistic abilities.

The best way of starting out is to take a few lessons from Youtube. You will probably waste quite a bit in materials when you first get started. Figuring out how to truly make handmade pottery correctly and shape into what you want it to be can be quite an ordeal. The different tools that a normal shop will have can be fun to try. You will soon see which ones you like to use the most and then when you are ready you will know which ones to buy.

With the help of the internet, you can now purchase most if not all of your ceramic and pottery tools and supplies online. We are located far from any well supplied dealers and yet working with reliable ceramic and pottery suppliers online has allowed us to recieve most of our orders within a timely manner.

When you get all set up, just enjoy the hobby and have fun at it. Some people get pretty serious and start selling their creations at craft fairs and small stores, but others just like to create items for themselves, relatives, and friends. Whichever kind of handmade pottery you desire to endeavor, enjoy the hobby and have fun doing it.

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