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Tool Talk Thursday: Revisiting the Food Dehydrator


Just about a year ago LeAnn Weih of Summers Studio wrote a  post for the Beads--of-Clay blog about the use of a Food Dehydrator called Not Just for Fruits and Vegetables.  I was so impressed that I went out at once and purchased one and have been using it ever since.  This week I thought I would do a little essay on just how helpful this tool is.  I decided to time stamp the steps for getting a ball of clay into the kiln for the initial bisque firing using the food dehydrator to hurry up what used to be quite a lengthy process for me. (I have also used a toaster oven to dry pieces but prefer the dehydrator since it provides warm blowing air from all directions evenly.)
So here goes:

TIME:    4:41 PM
This is right after I cut out these toggles.  I put them onto a sheet of plaster board. I let them stay there until they were stiff enough to be moved without a problem and so that they would not pick up any impressions from the food dehydrator trays.
TIME:  5:05 PM
I placed the two toggles onto the tray in the dehydrator


TIME:  5:05PM I turned it on


TIME: 5:54
They are now dry and ready for the sponging off

TIME:  5:57 PM
They are now sponged off and placed into the kiln for the bisque firing.

Total time from lump of clay to bisque firing ready is 1 hour 16 minutes.

In addition to using the Food Dehydrator for drying bisque, it is also handy for drying glazed pieces between coats and after the final coat so they can go into the kiln ready for a successful firing.


Glazed piece being dried thoroughly so it can be placed into the kiln for the final firing

Please  share your drying methods with us.  It will be helpful to all of our readers and beaders.  Thank you so much.

4 comments:

  1. Oh wow! Mary this is such a great post. Maybe what I needed to go and dish out the money for a new one. Been looking for a used one since last year when LeAnn did her post and nada! garage sales, thrift stores, craigslist (pricey). Thanks again for the great ideas and all your work for BOC.

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  2. Well, I guess I should pull my dehydrator out and use it. I found a brand new Crofton for $9.60 at the thrift store and it's been sitting in the box. I wasn't sure what to do with it, but this post was very helpful.

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  3. After the bisque firing if any pieces need a quick water rinse to remove excess dust particles, I rinse them, then put them in the dehydrator to dry them out. I also like drying smaller beads and shards on the dehydrator pre-bisque firing if I need to get a firing done in the same day. Love this tool!

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