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Bisque Ware Slumping Molds

This is part two of a multi-part tip on using bisque ware as a slumping mold.  Click here to go to part one.

Once you've selected your bisque ware, the next step is to prepare it for use as a slumping mold.  This usually involves drilling several small holes in the bottom of the mold.  These holes allow air to escape during slumping; all but the most shallow molds will require that holes be drilled.

In addition to the mold, you'll need an electric drill and the appropriate bit.  Drill bits should be small -- 1/16" or 3/32" is ideal, but 1/8" can also work.  A masonry bit will work well, but good holes can be drilled with bits made for drilling in wood or other materials.

Though not essential, a drill press will make the drilling easier and will virtually guarantee good holes.  But even if you don't have a drill press you can do a good job with a handheld drill, so long as you drill slowly and carefully and with the drill held straight up and down.

For best results, drill holes in the deepest part of the mold.  You should drill at least two (and three is better) holes, spaced equally apart in the mold.  You can drill from either the bottom or the top of the mold; use whichever approach is easier.  Drill slowly, and be especially careful when starting and finishing the hole -- these are the times when the drill is most likely to slip and cause a chipped spot in the bisque ware.

Once the holes are drilled, clean the edges around the hole by sanding the mold lightly with fine sandpaper.  Then kiln wash the mold, allow the wash to dry, and you're ready for slumping.  Handled carefully, a bisque ware mold should last for dozens of firings. 

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Copyright 2006 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

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Copyright 2005-2006 by M. Bradley Walker.  All rights reserved.

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