Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Downtime is such a downer

Been off my feet now for over a week. Just after my last posting I had my third bout with diverticulitis. It was the worst attack I have ever had. Well... after a week and a half of major antibiotics, I am on the road to recovery. I have to give credit where credit is due though. Without Nancy and Aurora I wouldn't have been able to cope. Our neighbors and friends all came to our aid. Many thanks to Mary Ellen Salmon and her hubby Joe, Ken Bedell, and Robert Lodinsky. Makes me mighty proud to have such good friends!

It is always staggering to me how burdensome being sick seems to be. I was behind in production BEFORE I got sick, but now I feel like there is a mountain of work waiting to be dealt with.

Ahh, but at least there is work, right?

Ran some tests on our Sunset glaze this week. We have been having the most unusual problem with our most stable glaze. Sunset has been our ROCK for the past 8 years. All of sudden it has FREAKED out. Looks like a bad sunburn complete with blisters and crawling and other nastiness. Mind you, this isnt happening in a 5 gal bucket or a 1000g test batch....nope, this is going on in our production volume 20gal bucket. And of course we have 4 orders waiting for sunset. A Perfect Storm eh?

So, after ruminating on this for over 3 months now, and trying to wrap my brain around the causes, everything keeps coming back to the stain which seems so improbable. We went through and remade the glaze, 2x now, with new stain, new raw materials for the rest of the glaze ... and each test was the same result. BAD Sunset. Yesterday's test was interesting though.... I figured that Mason may have changed the chemistry of the stain, increasing the zirconia in the mix, then it would reason they have decreased the cadmium/selenium encapsulated by the Zr. How to test this idea.... I figured the first need was to get the glaze back to being smooth and silky, so thickness in application was my first goal. Nailed that. Then started adding MORE stain to see if I could recapture the depth of color and hopefully overcome the apparent lack of Cd/Se. The tests came out this morning early... and lo and behold... by increasing the stain from 9% to 14% we can get pretty close to our original color and the smooth satin quality seems to be back. At this point, my standing questions to Mason are yet unanswered. Hopefully I will finally hear back from them this week! Next step; a 5gal test batch and application on REAL pots!!

Here's hoping for salvation of Sunset.

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