Monday, March 3, 2014

Cleaning My Pugmill - Part I

Have you ever cleaned a pugmill?  I hadn't..until tonight.   I can now see why potters will pick a single type/color of clay to work with.  I have a dark brown clay, a speckled buff clay, and a white clay that I work with.  What can I say, I liked diversity...  But I'm finding out it can be a pain in the ass when it comes to wanting to reclaim my scrap clay using my Peter Pugger Pugmill.  Currently, I have a mixture of clay scraps that I've been reclaiming in my pugmill. It's roughly 50/50 of the white stoneware and the buff speckled clay.  BUT...I want to start working more on my sculptures, and through research, have found that paperclay might work best for me.  So I'm going to make some (another blog post to come, detailing that stay tuned!).  But in order to get ready to make said paperclay...I need to clean out the pugmill so I can get all the colored clay out of the hopper, so I can mix some white paperclay.  :) the pugmill...  WOW.  What a pain in my ass thus far.  LOL  I pugged all the clay that I could, as stated in the instruction manual that came with my pugmill.  There are only 4 bolts that attach the hopper/cylinder to the auger.  But let me tell you what!  Those bolts are attached very tightly and took me almost an hour to loosen/remove!  I just about stripped one of them...but I got it!  Hopefully I can just do a good hand
tightening of the unit when I put it back together and still be able to create the vacuum for when I de-air the clay before pugging it....Anyway.. I had four extra bolts to contend with, because I also have the cart, and the pugmill attached to the cart for added stability.  

Almost Stripped It...
Once removed, I used a wooden rib to scrape out extra clay that didn't come out when I pugged it.  Just for shits and giggles, I weighed all the extra clay I pulled out of the nozzle and belly of the pugmill...11 pounds!  
I know there is extra that gets left during the pugging process but didn't realize it was that much.  Anyone else have that issue?  I could be doing something wrong...but I do my best to follow the instructions to a T...  Ah well.  So once I got all the clay scraped clean from the auger and the hopper, I decided to take a break! (**Side Note - I lined a cardboard box with a garbage bag, and use this to hold my mixed, pugged clay.  To separate the layers, I use old clay bags. Works quite nicely!! **) Let the clay remnants dry up so I can finish scraping the tid-bits off and get it sparkling clean.  And that's where I am thus far.  It might go more quickly if I had a helper, but the hubby had a "boys weekend" with a few of his friends, so it was just me and the munchkin boy for the weekend...and I wanted to see if I could do it by myself.  I'm at a total of 2.5 hours I think...

Do you have a pugmill?  If you do, what brand do you have?  How do you clean it out? Does it result in that much leftover clay?  Looking forward to your responses!!

TTFN!  Time to get back at it and finish it up so I can experiment with making my first batch of paperclay....using newspaper pulp that I made.. hehe  Stay tuned for that endeavor as well!

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