Clay Talk

Did some clay collecting over the past few weeks and have started processing it into usable stuff. It’s all pretty much sandstone. I don’t know the technical terms, but I group the sandstone around here from ‘dry’ to ‘waxy’. Meaning when you cut into it with a pick you’ll get a waxy shine on the cut surface, or just flat dry and powdery. With the waxy stuff, you can usually get some good sandy clay from it. The dry stuff is good on it’s own as an additive for augmenting your other clays, especially if they don’t mature and leak, the added sandstone seals them right up, without fluxing them too much (if you stick with the whiter sandstones)

The pictures below are of some of the waxy type sandstone, after it’s been dumped in a jar with water and mixed with a power drill mixer. It melted readily into it’s components, no mashing or pounding was necessary prior to mixing. The first picture shows the finest particles, which I scoop out after agitating and allowing to settle. This is the finest clay with the least amount of iron. I’m not too picky here, so I get a bit of the finest sand at the same time. This makes the clay very nice when trimmed soft, and if I just took the finest particles I’d waste too much of what I dug up.

Next is the picture of what I get after sifting through 20 mesh. This will be useful in this clay body as an additive of some larger particles. Also it can be nice adding to other clay bodies, especially some store bought stuff that may not be so interesting, just remember to test first before you spend a bunch of time on a large batch.

The last bit is what didn’t go through 20 mesh, fairly uniform granules for the most part, with some larger pieces of sandstone left over. This particular stone has some interesting green granules that I’ve never seen before. It seems hard but crumbles reluctantly if you press firmly with your fingernail. This size is good to hang on to, just in case. The last picture is of some of the dry type sandstone after I’ve stamped it in my man powered stamper mill. This is a fairly uniform mix now, and can be added to finer clays to give them tooth and help them mature.

Just in case you’re wondering, I do find clay that is actually clay and use it too. Right above the place where I dug the sandstone from the pics above, there was a 5″thick seam of fairly white (light yellow?) fine clay. This is named Stephen’s Clay, after my friend Stephen who discovered it. Although fine, it’s not a nice plastic clay, but rather the consistency of wheat flour, if you wet it thoroughly. Should make some really nice pots though!

2 thoughts on “Clay Talk”

  1. Thanks,
    I'll try to keep at it, computer time is usually the first to get axed when the schedule is busy….

    Thanks for dropping by,


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