The Polyclay Forum

General Category => General Polymer Clay Questions => Topic started by: Ilenora on November 22, 2015, 02:45:48 AM

Title: Food processor for conditioning clay?
Post by: Ilenora on November 22, 2015, 02:45:48 AM
What kind of brand works for conditioning clay? I'm going to test out different methods on some of my old clay to see if I can possibly revive any of it but I don't have any old food processors sitting around. I don't want to spend a lot (ie. less than $20 preferably) since I have no idea if it will work or not.

There are really cheap mini processors like these:

Would they work, or are they bound to break down trying to chop up hard clay?
Title: Re: Food processor for conditioning clay?
Post by: Gilladian on November 22, 2015, 04:25:42 AM
You want a fairly good quality brand, if you're going to use it a lot. Here in the US, I have a black-and-decker that I use a fair amount.

But if you're careful, you don't have to worry about the motor too much. Just rough chop your clay into pieces no bigger than your thumb's first joint. You'll be fine. The bigger problem for me is that the clay reacts with the plastic that the bowl of the processor is made of. If you don't VERY carefully clean out all the chunks of clay, then even in just a few days you will find gooey spots, or the bowl will crack after a few months or a couple of years at the outside.

So don't buy the most expensive one - buy the one you can replace bowls on fairly cheaply!
Title: Re: Food processor for conditioning clay?
Post by: Carrie on November 22, 2015, 02:31:06 PM
I used an old but good one and it works very well indeed - you can add a few drips of clay softener as well - BUT, as Gilladian said, it wrecks the bowl. 

After l used it the first time it sat on the shelf for a while and when l wanted to process some more clay the bowl had crazed and cracked and looked as if it would break apart.  I wrapped duct tape round and round it to hold it together but  l've only used it twice since and l think it's just going to come apart if l try it again.   I didn't do more than wipe it out with baby wipes and paper towels to get the visible clay off.  I don't know what would be suitable to get it all off to prevent the plastic disintegrating.

Title: Re: Food processor for conditioning clay?
Post by: ejralph on November 22, 2015, 04:59:02 PM
It is the oil in the clay that usually wrecks the plastic bowls and makes them crack and craze. I've not so far come across any made of plastic that reacts to the plasticizers and goes all gooey but after a while a sort of sticky residue does seem to build up, so cleaning them out each time definitely helps.

I have a mini food chopper that someone gave me which is pretty good.

Ideally you want a processor that has a pulse function so you can give the clay quick fire bursts and not burn out the motor by leaving it running too long through the thick clay.

Really any will do the job - car boot / garage sales, charity shops etc - so long as it has a chopping blade.

As mentioned, chop the clay roughly first as small as you can be bothered but certainly sugar cube size or less. Add a few drops of baby oil. Keep pulsing the clay until it starts to look like cottage cheese, then it should be warm enough to continue conditioning by hand.

Title: Re: Food processor for conditioning clay?
Post by: Ilenora on November 23, 2015, 12:40:46 AM
Thanks guys! I've contacted some sellers on Gumtree so hopefully I can pick up something soon.