The past few weeks have been somewhat frustrating to say the least. I have recently changed clay bodies. Having had repeated problems with the one I had been using, I decided to try a new one.
Great. No problem. Until I opened up my pug mill to clean it out. Ughhhh!
So porcelain will react with certain alloys in metals. I knew this (although I confess I didn't exactly know what 'react' meant) and researched pug mills accordingly. When it came time to buy one, due to some injuries, the Peter Pugger VPM-9 was recommended to me. After reading testimonials, I decided 'sure, why not!' and that's the one I brought home. After about a month of loving this particular little machine, I started to find little hard chunks in my clay as I was throwing. These pesky, hard bits made throwing and trimming incredibly frustrating, and after firing, led to lots and lots of seconds. These bits bulged out and fired a different color. Grrrr! I figured it was just more 'stuff' in my clay, that I had been having issues with for some time, but when it was time to clean out Piggy (which the pug mill was affectionately nicknamed) I was shocked to find those pesky hard bits stuck to the inside of the pug mill. And they appeared to be stuck ONLY where there was some over-spray paint on the inside of the mixing barrel.
You'll notice in the image on the top, all the little bits stuck to the inside of the pug mill. When they finally break off, they take the paint with them. Turning your attention to the image on the bottom, you'll see that there is absolutely NO little bits stuck to the parts of the pug mill that have no paint.
I called Peter Pugger for some advice and they suggested Airplane Paint Remover so that's what we did. Sprayed the inside, waited, scrubbed out all the paint we could. And now we wait. I hope, hope, hope (finger's crossed) that these little chunkies don't return. I've got about three more weeks to find out. (Sigh) The most maddening part is, I WANTED the stainless steel pug mill from Venco, (which was considerably more expensive) but got the Peter Pugger on recommendations from my supplier and other users. Perhaps I should have listened to my gut...