Questions or Comments Relating to Pouring & Firing
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Question #1
RE:  Pouring and Firing a large Flange Neck Head  and what about stuffing prop in openings? 

Customer Question:

I fired my Cuddles that I poured with the dent and it sunk in at the middle of the head was I supposed to fire it standing on it's neck? It's so huge I put it on it's back of the head and put the stuffing in the  neck opening and it still made it oval shaped., and the leg opening too. What a disaster, I'm glad I'm using your cuddles for my lady, but  how can I fire it without collapsing? I can't have her disappointed in  another doll.   I hope you can help me with that problem. 
Yes you can put my questions n your help  page, just don't put my name.  I'll be embarrassed that I had to ask so many questions.  

Answer to Question #1
Possible Causes for your problen: 

1.  If the porcelain casting bends or changes shape when it is still wet, and you try to straighten out the mishap.  It can go back to the bent shape because porcelain does have a memory when bisqued fired.  You may have  took it out of the mold too soon and handled it when it was to soft. 

2.  I fire Cuddles with the top of the resting down in a bed of the firing powder or bed of firing sand.  Balance this large head so that it won't fall over during firing.    Never had any problem with Cuddles , Sweet Dreams, Sugar Britches, Tiny Tots (a shoulderhead), or with any domed head doll with a flange neck. 
Firing on the back of the head may be the reason the head warped and caved in. 
Another  possible danger of firing with the neck down on a sanded shelf  and supported by prop is that the weight can possible cause the chin to bend down or this chin could pit from the prop.   I try to never use propping material against any area I am going to China Paint.   I always have all faces turn toward the center of the kiln, never toward the kiln elements. 

3.  Cuddles legs and arms fire nicely with pour hole down on the kiln shelf that has been evenly coated with silica firing sand.   Nothing else special to do for them and no prop is for Cuddles Arms & Legs.   I do point toes and finger toward the kiln elements, but of course not to close to blister.  

Here are a few Do's & Don't's:  
1)  Don't place ware too close to the elements.  Doll Heads always face in the kiln center of the kiln and never toward the kiln elements.  
2)  Finger nails and toe nails face the kiln elements and not to the center.  
3)  Shoulderplates can rest on a very thin layer of sand.   I take a strainer and lightly but solid coat the kiln shelf.  
4)  Some straight hand and legs can stand alone with out falling over on that lightly coated shelf and some (huggy arms) and bent legs must rest on a mound of sand supporting the arm.   If looks like it might fall over, to prevent a tumble from happening and to make sure piece is stable on the shelves, I place a support post near the piece and cover any area touching the piece with prop. 
5)  DO NOT EVER STUFF PROP INSIDE A PIECE OF GREENWARE.   The 20% shrinkage can cause you piece to split.   

It is essential for you to study your porcelain ware for weakness - if it looks like it need support it probaby does.  I have given you some possible ways to correct your problem with Cuddles.  In no way is this the only way or necessarily the right way.     Remember our "Motto" above. 
I personally use as little as possible if any at all, and I only use it when I have to.  Some people love it and have great results with it, but I am not one of them.      The smallest detail can cause results to be less than perfect.  That is why opinions vary greatly in our ARTISTIC industry. 

Question #2
 Answer to #2
Question #3
Answer to #3
Question #4
Customer Question:

I read in my instructions to soft fire 019 is that why it was too soft?  Why do they tell you to in the instruction book if its too soft?  They also say to fire soft fire greenware to  bisque skipping low and going right to medium with the door open for 10  minutes to dry it and then close it and fire 4-6 hours then put peep in  and fire on high until it drops ( the kiln sitter)  Is that right? I always start on low for an hour then medium 2 hrs then  high with peep in until it drops, is that right? sometimes it takes 4  and half hrs sometimes up to 6 and a half. why? Does it take less time to fire darker slip?     

Answer to #4
Re:  Soft Firing, Cones, Firing times
Responses to your Questions & Comments:

1.  Yes, 019 is too soft especially if it is a full kiln, or the kiln's calibration is off.  Don't ask me I didn't right the book.  LOL   Many versions of just how to do things.  I try to do what works.  

 2.  Never fire you kiln that way it will ruin your elements and cause them to wear out prematurely 1 1/2 hr. low the 1 1/2 hr. on medium then 1 1/2 hr. on high then close the lid & in 4 - 5 hours it should automatically turn off.  I don't close my lid till it has been on high for at least minimum 1 hour.   Each kiln is different with there own instructions.   You should follow the instructions from the kiln manufacturer. 
 3.  It takes less time to fire darker slip because it only goes to cone 5.   Cone 6 is too hot and can result in  bubbles/blisters on your bisque fired  wear.   ex: indian, brown, & black dolls.   With Seeley some recommend cone 7.  Were some bell recommend cone 6.   You need to read the manufactures label on the of the jar you are pouring from. 

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