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Clay Body Characteristics

“Texture: What’s the Difference?”
Texture impacts the feel, the look, and the suitability of a clay for each different project. As a general rule, clays containing coarse sand and grog are generally best for medium to large pottery or sculpture. Smooth clays or porcelains are recommended for smaller, “finer” work; and clays containing fine mesh grog or sand are best for work falling between the other two. As far as “feel” and “look” try a clay sample kit listed in this section. It will allow you to experiment with 6 to 11 clays of similar color and temperature to determine the right texture for your project. Detailed information about the texture for each clay is listed with the clay body descriptions.

“Firmness: How do I Know?”
As with texture, the firmness and consistency of your clay can be important to the success of your project. Because of east vs. west geographic “tradition”, we use different equipment and slightly different standards in measuring and evaluating the firmness of our clays depending on whether they are made in our California facility, our Ohio facility, or our Florida facility. Each Laguna stock clay listed in this catalog is specifically manufactured to the general firmness most popular among our customers. If you like a certain clay, but prefer it harder or softer, custom firmness is always an option. Detailed information for each clay is listed with the clay body descriptions.
The “firmness” of every batch of clay
is measured with a penetrometer.
Relative Firmness Rating
California (Western)
Prepared Clays
Ohio (Eastern)
Prepared Clays
Florida (Southeastern)
Prepared Clays
Extra Soft 5.0 - 5.5 Soft 4.25 X X
Soft 6.0 - 6.5 Medium 5.0 X X
Medium Soft 6.75 Firm 6.0 X X
Medium 7.0 - 8.0 Hard 7.5 - 9.0 X X
Firm 9.0 - 9.5        
Hard 5.5 - 6.5*        
* A small tipped (versus a large tipped) pentrometer is used for measuring this very hard clay - therefore the different scale of measurement.

“Shrinkage & Absorption: What Does it Mean to Me?”
When considering the suitability of your clay for a particular use (coffee mugs, flowerpots, sculpture or decorative wall tiles), shrinkage and absorption are factors which will impact your project. Detailed information about each clay shrinkage and absorption rates are listed with the clay body descriptions.
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