As a professional potter, I have come across countless pottery pieces that ping. Pinging refers to the high-pitched sound that ceramic objects make when you lightly tap them with your fingers. While it may seem like a harmless occurrence, pinging actually indicates a problem with your pottery. In this article, I will share seven reasons your pottery may be pinging and what steps you can take to prevent it.

Reason 1: Air Pockets

The most common reason for pottery to ping is due to air pockets. When air gets trapped in your clay or glaze, it can create a small pocket that causes pinging. One way to prevent this is to wedge your clay thoroughly, removing any air that may be trapped in the clay. Similarly, stirring your glazes well can ensure that any trapped air is released.

Reason 2: Inconsistency in Thickness

When creating pottery, it is important to be consistent in the thickness of your pieces. If a piece is thicker in one area than another, it may cause pinging. To prevent this, use a ruler or caliper to ensure your pieces are the same thickness throughout.

Reason 3: Moisture Content

If your pottery is too wet or too dry, it can cause pinging. This is because the moisture content affects the density of the piece. To avoid this, ensure that your clay is at the right consistency before throwing, and that your pieces are thoroughly dry before firing.

Reason 4: Glaze Application

Improper glaze application can also be a cause for pinging. If a glaze is applied too thickly, it can create bubbles and air pockets that cause pinging. Be sure to apply your glaze evenly and in thin layers to prevent this from happening.

Reason 5: Firing Temperature

Firing your pottery at the wrong temperature can also cause pinging. If your piece is underfired, it will be more porous and prone to pinging. On the other hand, overfiring can cause the clay to vitrify, which can create stress within the piece and cause it to ping.

Reason 6: Cooling Process

If your pieces cool too quickly or too slowly, it can also cause pinging. Rapid cooling can cause stress within the piece, while slow cooling can result in moisture being trapped within the piece. To prevent this, ensure that your kiln is working properly and that your cooling process is gradual and controlled.

Reason 7: Composition of Clay and Glaze

Finally, the composition of your clay and glaze can also cause pinging. Certain types of clay or glazes may be more prone to pinging than others. If you consistently have issues with pinging, it may be worth experimenting with different types of clay and glazes to find what works best for you.

In conclusion, pinging is a common problem that can be caused by various factors, including air pockets, inconsistency in thickness, moisture content, improper glaze application, firing temperature, cooling process, and composition of clay and glaze. By understanding these potential causes, you can take steps to prevent pinging in your pottery pieces. Remember to always be mindful of these factors and address them appropriately to create beautiful, functional, and most importantly, non-pinging pottery.

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