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Unread 06-17-2010, 12:34 PM   #1
Handmade tile maker
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Lakota, Iowa
Posts: 2
safe clay body for making outdoor tiles

Hi, I am new here too and am hoping a job that has just come my way will
be settled. Soon.
In the meantime, I have been given the happy challenge of matching an old
outdoor tile. Ok we all know that matching tile glaze colors is so much fun but when they have been up and out there in NY we are a bit worried.
FIRST and most important..the clay body as I will be making these puppies
by hand from start to finish..it's the matching glaze and the clay body that has me in a bit of a tizzy. I normally only use low-fire to mid-range clay so I really need to feel confident that the clay body is secure.
Stoneware, yeah, right, but is there a company that makes really honest to goodness, we will stand by our product, outdoor stoneware, freeze proof(NY remember ooohhh burrr) and
Ok that's my delemma.
Anyone out there that can help?
I hope I have this in the right place..I make tiles not clever computer stuff.
(next life_
thanks so very much for any and all help.

yours in clay,
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Unread 06-17-2010, 01:02 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Boerne, Texas
Posts: 91,259
Welcome, Cat.

Not sure I understand just what your primary questions is in there, but for sure it wasn't intended to be in that other Visitor's thread, so I made you a thread of your own here.

I'm sure someone will come along and recognize your dilemma.

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Unread 06-17-2010, 01:05 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 30,274
Outdoor tile for a cold climate such as yours should be porcelain. fired much hotter than I think you are used to. Porcelain tiles have a very low water absorbancy (less than 1/2% if memory serves), so they won't absorb water and won't need sealing.

So, are you looking for the right clay, the right firing temps or someone to do that for you, or what?
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Unread 06-17-2010, 01:25 PM   #4
Handmade tile maker
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Lakota, Iowa
Posts: 2
safe clay body 4 out door tiles

Hi Bob thx
for responding so quickly. Shocking!
Ok I will make the the tiles myself as I am a hand made tile maker.
I understand about porcelain but have not really ever worked with
it for tile. Hmmm
I have been told that stoneware would be good but I really don't
think that is freeze proof enough.
I should be getting the sample soon and then I can see what kind
of clay was used. However, I will start looking for glazes that might
match with a porcelain clay body.
Do You fire the bisque at o4 then glaze and fire at the glaze firing?
Thank you so much,
shall I keep you posted on the process? I will probably be learning
stuff others can use.
I am really excited to get the sample and see what the colors actually are.
Ok enough,
yours in clay,
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Unread 06-17-2010, 01:35 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 30,274
Cat, I've already told you more than I really know about the tile-making process. We have some members that make tile, but they are not here on a daily basis. Try some searches on hand made tiles, or firing tiles, or other such terms.

This thread in our Liberry may be of interest.

Are you trying to make a thru body colored tile? I would think that the glaze you choose would not have to match the clay color otherwise.
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Unread 06-17-2010, 06:10 PM   #6
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Nashua, NH
Posts: 14,133
A porcelain tile is (as I understand it) extruded or pressed under VERY high pressure with that type of clay, then fired much higher temps than anything you'd normally do. A good porcelain is much harder than stuff you're used to making, has all of the air pockets (generally) out of it, and quite consistent. You might be better off buying porcelain tile, and then firing it with a properly color-matched glaze. Anything else, other than actually making your own porcelain, probably won't hold up well in the freeze/thaw cycles.
Jim DeBruycker
Not a pro, multiple Schluter Workshops (Schluterville and 2013 and 2014 at Schluter Headquarters), Mapei Training 2014, Laticrete Workshop 2014, Custom Building Products Workshop 2015, and Longtime Forum Participant.
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Unread 06-17-2010, 06:55 PM   #7
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Stoneware clays fired to cone 5 -11 become vitreous and will work just fine . I have peaces out in the yard for years that have held up well . The way the clay is handled in your studio will have a great effect on the absorption rate of your fired tiles . This is something you can test your self with boiling water and a good scale .

There is a lot to know before you start selling and stand by your product. Lots of good books and web sites out there just for potters
I do wish you luck and would to help if I could .
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