Five Low Fire Base Clear Glazes: What is the Best Strategy?

Share from (Lab Documentation and Calculation System) by Digitalfire.

See Also:
Zero3 Ulexite-based glaze, engobe and firing schedule

If you are doing low temperature earthen ware, especially for functional pottery, then start with a good transparent base clear recipe. Read about all of these and choose.

Project Name

Low Fire Clear Glaze Comparison

Project Codenumber



A good base clear for low temperature ceramics is vital for success. It can become the base of all of your coloured glazes. And a kiln firing situation where you can do lots of testing is important. After all, if you can do a firing in 3 hours, it is much more practical to do testing.

At low fire, boron is the king of fluxes. And frits are the key sources (not a single commercial glaze manufacturer uses Gerstley Borate to source boron, yet many potters still do). What is the perfect combination of frits to create a super clear glossy glaze for low fire? There are an infinite number. But that number is drastically reduced when we eliminate those of too-high and too-low thermal-expansion-adjustable. And those that are not durable and resistant to leaching. And those that are not compatible with stains we need. And those that do not heal blisters and pinholes well.

Potters coming to low fire from higher temperatures expect fired strength, that is just not there at cone 06-04. But terra cotta bodies fired at cone 03-02 are dramatically better. G2931K is intended for exactly this (at cone 04 and lower it loses clarity and the surface is not as smooth). G3879, on the other hand, melts well at lower temperatures.

Good low fire glaze can be applied in a much thinner layer than at higher temperatures and yet still look full bodied. A thinner layer will also produce a more crystal-clear product. One way to get it thinner is to bisque higher so ware is less absorbent or thin the glaze with water (to make it too watery) and then flocculate it to a slight gel (in this state it will apply in an even yet thinner layer and hang on well with no drips). If faster drying is needed or ware is very thin and easily waterlogged by the glaze, heat it to 300F before immersing it into the glaze.

But low fire can bring a lot of problems. What is needed in a glaze is one that does not go cloudy on firing, does not bubble over underglazes, does not crystallize or devitrify, produces a smooth brilliantly glossy surface, does not cutlery mark, does not leach, accepts an opacifier well, does not blister or pinhole, does not settle like a rock in the bucket or turn to jelly.

But again, most important, is thermal expansion adjustability. Low fire glazes are simply not stuck on to the body as well as high fire glazes. If the thermal expansion of the glaze is too low it will simply flake off (especially if there is a slip between it and the body). If the expansion is too high it will craze. It is almost certain that your glaze and body just have compatible thermal expansion by accident. You must stress ware using a boiling-water-into-ice-water test (then reverse). Adjust the glaze and try it again until you get a fit (you owe this to your customers). Do you have to do this test for each clay body? Absolutely. Each temperature? Yes. Terra cotta bodies vitrify rapidly above cone 04, each temperature is a new thermal expansion animal.

What about white burning low fire bodies? These will almost definitely not fit the same clear glaze as a terra cotta. They have added talc, it is put there for the specific purpose of increasing the thermal expansion to prevent crazing. This greatly increases the chance of shivering. So, again, you must test fit and adjust the clear glaze accordingly.

Recipes that are popular do not necessarily stand up to scrutiny, especially if poorly documented. Use one that is documented, a product of much testing. And adjustable.


L4170 Terra Cotta Casting with G3879 UltraClear glaze

Deb's Clear Cone 04-02

Code #


Materials Amt
Ferro Frit 3134 30.000
Ferro Frit 3195 45.000
EP Kaolin 25.000


Auto Unity Formula

CaO 0.68
Na2O 0.31
(KNaO) 0.31
B2O3 0.85
Al2O3 0.52
SiO2 2.70


Si:Al: 5.2:1
SiB:Al: 6.8:1
R2O:RO: 0.3:0.7






*A well known clear for low temperature, especially terra cotta. Sources often caution against applying too thickly to avoid clouding. We found the same issue. Many use this this as an alternative to Worthington Clear. Its thermal expansion is considerably higher.

The Al2O3 is very high for a glossy glaze. High Al2O3 produces stiffer melts that do not shed bubbles as well.

The boron is very high, this is being used to crow-bar gloss out of a glaze that would not otherwise be glossy. High boron is commonly associated with clouding.

Increasing thermal expansion (to fight shivering) requires increasing the Frit 3134 at the expense of 3195. But its boron is just as high. Frit 3110 would be a better choice, a small change would be needed to increase expansion and it has low boron.

This has a high kaolin content. This could cause crawling and drying cracks. If Frit 3124 were used instead (it supplies Al2O3 and 3134 does not), less kaolin could be employed.


XML (to paste into Insight)

<?xml version="1.0"?> <recipes version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"> <recipe name="Deb's Clear Cone 04-02" id="70214" key="6PJEKsEC" date="2017-03-10" codenum="G2932" picturebasename=""> <recipelines> <recipeline material="Ferro Frit 3134" amount="30.000" tolerance=""/> <recipeline material="Ferro Frit 3195" amount="45.000" tolerance=""/> <recipeline material="EP Kaolin" amount="25.000" tolerance=""/> </recipelines> </recipe> </recipes>

Born: 2014-03-17, Modified: 2017-03-10 23:15:34

Worthington Cone 06-2 Clear

Gelling, High LOI, Gerstley Borate difficult to sub, High Boron

Code #


Materials Amt
Gerstley Borate 55.000
EPK 30.000
Silica 15.000


Auto Unity Formula

CaO 0.69
MgO 0.17
K2O 0.01
Na2O 0.13
(KNaO) 0.14
B2O3 0.76
Al2O3 0.41
SiO2 2.20
Fe2O3 0.01


Si:Al: 5.3:1
SiB:Al: 7.2:1
R2O:RO: 0.1:0.9






0.29 per kg


*This recipe is a common Gerstley Borate clear base used from 04 all the way to cone 6! At higher temperatures the recipe trends toward less kaolin to more silica and a little less GB (e.g. 50:20:30).

Attractions of the recipe include its simple make-up and crystal clear fired result (low bubble population). In theory it would seem that fritted glazes should be much better at smoothing out and freezing to a crystal clear glass, but in actual practice this is not necessarily so (because common frits have a lower boron content). Potters use this glaze on terra cotta, talc and stoneware bodies that generate lots of gases of decomposition and this glaze appears to be able to pass them and heal well because of its high melt fluidity. High boron clear glazes like this are known for clouding issues (because of micro bubbles) but this has a low enough surface tension to pass them.

Problems of this recipe:

Obviously, if it melts well already at cone 04 great care is going to be needed at cone 2 to prevent it running onto shelves. Highly melt fluid glazes (that have high boron like this) are also more likely to be leachable and to crystallize on cooling (producing the boron-blue clouds).

Paramount is the dreadful problem of gelling. Even with only 1.4 specific gravity (about equal weights of dry material and water and deflocculation with Darvan) it gels badly. The high water content needed and the nature of GB means that glazed ware dries extremely slowly, the glaze shrinks and cracks during drying and crawls during firing. Gerstley Borate is very plastic, yet to make matter worse, the recipe has an additional 30% clay on top of that! This recipe would likely make a good throwing body!

The thermal expansion is too low for talc bodies, it will shiver on them.

If it would be possible to use another boron-sourcing material that had none of these issues, this glaze would be a winner. A frit with a very high boron content would be needed.


Worthinton Clear at cone 01

On a terra cotta clay at this temperature was has stoneware properties. The fired surface is good.

Worthington Clear vs. Fritted Clear

Worthington (right) flows even better than the fritted glaze and does not have any more entrained bubbles even though it has an LOI of 20%. This is likely because its melting history and behavior is such that its ability handle gases of decomposition from the body and its own materials is so much better.

2931 vs 2931b

On Plainsman L215 cone 02 the original base Worthington Clear has gone on very thin on sides of mug (because of the low specific gravity necessary to prevent it from gelling it is very difficult to get it on thick enough). The fired surface is clear but not as glossy. On the rim it has bubbles. The Ulexite version (G2931B) is glossier, and went on thicker because the slurry is so much easier to use. This glaze is not recommend for L215, the latter contains talc that increases its thermal expansion, putting too much squeeze on this glaze.

Entrained bubbles in Worthington Clear

This is a 16X closeup of flow test (10 gram ball melted down onto a tile) that concentrates bubbles. There are high populations of large and tiny ones. The larger ones are from the Gerstley Borate, the tiny ones from the kaolin.

GB vs Ulexite Clear glaze bubbles

These are 10 gram balls fired down onto tiles at cone 04 to compare melt fluidity and bubble populations in three clear glazes. Larger bubbles are better, they break at the glaze surface and heal. Tiny ones produce cloudiness. Left: The original Worthington fluid melt clear glaze recipe. There are clusters of tiny bubbles and many large. Center: A glaze of the same chemistry but sourcing its boron from Ulexite instead. Notice the lack of tiny bubbles. This fires pretty well identical to the original but has much better slurry properties. Right: Center with with a 10% addition of lead bisilicate frit. This fires more glossy than either of the other two. Its thermal expansion is also likely lower.

Worthington Clear the next day

Even though this has a low specific gravity and is deflocculated with darvan, the next day it is still jelly. Impossible to use unless more Darvan is added, who knows where that will go!

G2922G, G2931 flow tests


SHAB - Shrinkage/Absorption

1 92.24 7.8%
2 92.11 7.9%

LDW - LOI/Density/Water Content

1 13.52 10.26 24.1%

XML (to paste into Insight)

<?xml version="1.0"?> <recipes version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"> <recipe name="Worthington Cone 06-2 Clear" keywords="Gelling, High LOI, Gerstley Borate difficult to sub, High Boron" id="56711" key="r2GQz3Xr" date="2017-09-05" codenum="G2931" picturebasename=""> <recipelines> <recipeline material="Gerstley Borate" amount="55.000" tolerance=""/> <recipeline material="EPK" amount="30.000" tolerance=""/> <recipeline material="Silica" amount="15.000" tolerance=""/> </recipelines> </recipe> </recipes>

Born: 2014-03-17, Modified: 2017-09-05 13:01:38

Zero3 K Cone 03 Transparent Glaze

Code #


Materials Amt Units
Ferro Frit 3195 25.000 KG 26.32%
Ferro Frit 3134 33.000 KG 34.74%
EPK 20.000 KG 21.05%
Ferro Frit 3249 10.000 KG 10.53%
Ferro Frit 3110 7.000 KG 7.37%

Total:95,000.00 (R)

Auto Unity Formula

CaO 0.59
MgO 0.10
Na2O 0.31
(KNaO) 0.31
B2O3 0.76
Al2O3 0.41
SiO2 2.45


Si:Al: 6.1:1
SiB:Al: 7.9:1
R2O:RO: 0.3:0.7






0.20 per kg


*This recipe improves the popular Worthington Gerstley-Borate-based low fire clear recipe. It targets cone 03 to work best on Zero3 stoneware and porcelain. However many low fire bodies are dramatically stronger when fired to cone 03 with this (or one of its thermal expansion variants L & H). And the vast majority of commercial glaze products will fire easily to this temperature. If you absolutely must fire lower, to cone 06 or 04, then use the G1216Q recipe instead.

Unlike it Worthington Clear predecessor, this does not become a bucket of jelly, does not crack on drying, does not go on unevenly or the wrong thickness, does not cloud up with boron blue or micro-bubbles when fired (because it has lower CaO) when used on the types of bodies discussed below. The major (this recipe, G2931K, was formulated to have the same chemistry as F but use frits instead). It is crystal clear and super glassy at cone 03.

Low fire bodies span a wide range of thermal expansions. While Worthington clear (an ancestor of this recipe) melts to a good clear, its thermal expansion was too far toward the low end of the range (it tended to shiver and fracture rather than craze). This recipe, G2931K, raises thermal expansion (by adding Na2O). The thermal expansion of Zero3 stoneware and porcelain are about the middle of the range, and they develop good glaze:glaze interfaces, so this recipe fits them well.

This glaze also works well on other low fire bodies. Low talc bodies (like Plainsman 215) also work well. But this glaze shivers on high-talc bodies and crazes on zero-talc porous ones. That is what we want. Why? As noted, the thermal expansions of low fire bodies span a wide range. And glazes are just not stuck on well to ones that have a porous and softer surface. Thus, GLAZE FIT IS VITAL AT LOW FIRE (to prevent crazing and shivering). Remember this: IT IS IMPOSSIBLE THAT ONE BASE GLAZE CAN FIT THEM ALL. Not even two can span the range! Commercial glazes only fit your clay body by accident. That is why this recipe has three variations, one of higher expansion than this one (G2931H) and one of lower expansion (G2931L). By testing glaze fit (using a thermal shock test like boiling water:ice water) and choosing the best recipe or blend of recipes, you can get the best fit. Make the effort and do that. All three fire crystal clear. And you can make make your own brushing versions (see link below). Keep in mind that adding zircon and stains changes expansion and requires re-testing and possibly changing the proportion of K, H and L to match your body. It is a hassle, but it is not rocket science.

Dipping ware in Zero3 Transparent is just so much easier than trying to paint on commercial, slow-drying clears. It produces a slurry with very nice suspension, fast drying and good application properties (if you tune it right). It naturally gels to a creamy consistency at around 1.53 specific gravity (in our circumstances). However it goes on too thick at that high a value, we have found the best all around performance at 1.43 with enough Epsom Salts to gel it back up to a creamy consistency (a few grams per gallon). Measure the SG by weighing (forget about fiddling with hydrometers). You will think it is too thin and watery, but it isn039;t. The Epsom salts will thicken it and make it thixotropic (which the 1.53 slurry was not). Use a little Darvan if you get it too thick.

As a clear overglaze to finish your decorated ware, this glaze has a number of other advantages over commercial clear glazes:
-It is much less expensive so it is practical to have a large pail of it so that pieces can be easily dip-glazed (using dipping tongs).
-It behaves like stoneware glazes, it suspends well and applies in an even layer that can dry to handling stage is seconds.
-It fires to a better crystal clear than most.
-Since the recipe is known, and contains no toxic materials, you can more confidently assure retailers that it is safe; all underglaze color decoration can be isolated from any contact with food or drink by this.
-It is compatible with most underglaze colors (including pinks).

Pay special attention to the drop-and-hold firing schedule, especially if your clay body is not fine-grained. Use 04DSDH as a model.

To mix up 5 Kg use about 4.5 kg of water to get 6.5 litres of glaze.

To mix up paint-on consistency (1 pint jar):
-113g Laguna Gum Solution (100 grams of gum solution has 6.5g powdered CMC Gum)
-200g water
-Mix in 500g of powdered glaze, adding water if needed to get desired painting consistency (up to 325g total water). It is better to be a little thinner than too thick.
-To make colored versions add stains as needed (if stains cause micro-bubbling or orange peel surface include 2-3% zircopax).

Batch Ticket Notes

These notes were entered in the notes panel under "Batch Ticket Notes"


Glaze fit test

How to tune the thixotropy of a glaze

How to convert a d..o a brushing glaze


G2931K on Zero3 Stoneware

Fired cone 03. Body is Zero3 stoneware. Surface is perfect, even where thick. Ultra clear. Survived three boil:ice cycles and one 300F:ice cycle without crazing.

G2931F vs. G2931K on Polar Ice Low Fire

2931F was the Ulexite flused version of this recipe. The F survived three boil:ice cycles and 1 300F:ice cycle without crazing or shivering. The K is slightly smoother, tiny dimples in the surface are fewer. It is also applied thicker.

G2931F vs G2931K fritted - terra cotta mugs cone 03

F was the Ulexite-fluxed version of this recipe.

G2931F vs G2931K flow test

These two recipes have the same chemistry, but K sources boron from frits rather than Ulexite. Notice how much less bubbles there are in the flow and how much more predictable the melting pattern is.

G2931F vs G2931K - Melted balls at cone 03

F, the Ulexite version, is obviously bubbling more, the percolation is causing the melt to spread out more on the tile. On the flow test is was less fluid.

Firing temperature is important for Zero3 glaze

This is G2931F on Plainsman Buffstone, L213, F100, L215. First column is cone 04, center is cone 03, right is cone 02. All exited the kiln without crazing except Buffstone at cone 04. We subjected all of them to a 300F:IceWater thermal shock. Buffstone crazed on all of them. L215 and L212 Cone 04 crazed. L213 was good but later the glaze was found to be under excessive compression, subject to shivering over underglazes. At cone 02 there are some dimples and defects.

Three low fire bodies that need three clear glazes

Because of glaze fit. Left: Plainsman Buffstone, contains no talc, fires buff. Center: L212 (about 25% talc). Right: L213 (about 45% talc, fires whiter). Talc raises thermal expansion. The centre glaze is G2931K (Insight-live reports COE 7.4), it fits L215 (also Zero3 porcelain and stoneware). It crazes on Buffstone and shivers on L213 and L212. G2931L has lower expansion (to work on zero-talc porous bodies). G2931H is higher (for talc bodies like L213).

G2931K glaze precipitates things on storage

G2931K On L212 after a year

Some crazing starting.

K on L215 at cone 04

The thicker version is clouding. The thinner one has micro-pinholes. It needs a higher temperature.

G2931K o L215 - Cone 03, thick application

G2931K on L215 - Cone 03 fired in 30 minutes

Very transparent. No crazingafter many months.

G2931K on L215 - Cone 06

Milky (because cone 06 is underfired for this glaze). But only a little crazing after a year.

G2931K running on Zero3 Casting

This happened at cone 03 and 04. The G3879 (left) did not run. For some reason G2931K easy applies to thickly on this body.

This 1000 gram batch of glaze powde

This 1000 gram batch of glaze powder screened 80 mesh immediately after making, and allowed to sit for 3 months prior to usage. The material in photo was screened out once again after the 3 month time lapse, (80 mesh once again). The largest balls are approx. 2.5 mm. in diameter, and when these particles were screened out, and still perhaps slightly wet?, they were quite easy to break in half with your fingernail.


ST-Untitled typecode

Alternate Code Number:GS04-1

XML (to paste into Insight)

<?xml version="1.0"?> <recipes version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"> <recipe name="Zero3 K Cone 03 Transparent Glaze" id="95671" key="4YP5er3g" date="2020-12-02" typecodes="ST" codenum="G2931K" picturebasename=""> <recipelines> <recipeline material="Ferro Frit 3195" amount="25.000" tolerance="" unitabbr="KG"/> <recipeline material="Ferro Frit 3134" amount="33.000" tolerance="" unitabbr="KG"/> <recipeline material="EPK" amount="20.000" tolerance="" unitabbr="KG"/> <recipeline material="Ferro Frit 3249" amount="10.000" unitabbr="KG"/> <recipeline material="Ferro Frit 3110" amount="7.000" unitabbr="KG"/> </recipelines> </recipe> </recipes>

Born: 2006-03-16, Modified: 2020-12-02 07:32:09

Cone 05+ Expansion Adjustable Gloss Base

Code #


Materials Amt
Ferro Frit 3195 65.000
Ferro Frit 3110 10.000
Ferro Frit 3249 10.000
No. 5 Ball Clay 15.000


Auto Unity Formula + Analysis

CaO 0.56 8.38%
MgO 0.12 1.25%
K2O 0.01 0.36%
Na2O 0.31 5.24%
(KNaO) 0.33
TiO2 0.01 0.19%
B2O3 0.96 17.87%
Al2O3 0.50 13.75%
SiO2 3.19 51.46%
Fe2O3 0.00 0.12%


Si:Al: 6.3:1
SiB:Al: 8.3:1
R2O:RO: 0.3:0.7






*This recipe provides great thermal expansion adjustability in a low fire clear glaze. It combines a middle-of-the-road thermal expansion frit with a very low and very high expansion frit (they cancel each other out but increase gloss of the otherwise silky Frit 3195). The frits in this recipe are common (the 3249 less so but it deserves to be common because of its utility).

This melts well from cone 05 and is stable to cone 2 or higher.

Do not assume the glaze fits because a piece emerges from the kiln without crazing or shivering. Thermally stress it (by two minute boiling-water and ice-water immersion cycles). We refer to this as the 65:10:10:15 recipe.
If this crazes, try 65:20:15 (3195:3249:EPK).
If it shivers, use 65:20:15 (3195:3110:EPK).

The ball clay also imparts good working properties and it has a lower LOI than EPK (to generate less micro-bubbles in the glaze).

Add 2% iron oxide on terra cotta bodies to enhance the red color of (when used as a transparent) and acts as a fining agent to remove the microbubbles they produce.

Because this employs ball clay, it the glass will have am slightly amber color (from the Fe2O3 in the clay). If that is an issue, try using a kaolin instead (we recommend New Zealand or Grolleg).

Although drop-and-soak firing schedule helps clarity of transparent glazes at higher temperatures this glaze will produce crystal clear results with fast firing.

We found about 3800 water for 4000 water to get 1.44SG. The slurry gels more than with EPK.


G1916Q at Cone 01 on 3D+iron

Very nice results on L3724E red body at cone 01. Piece is very strong.

1916J and Q fired to 1450F

These glazes are starting to melt, the surface having reached the consistency of a porcelain and have densitfied to very low porosity. Notice the iron in the ball clay really shows up at this stage (it will be less evident later).

G1916Q Cone 04 using 04DSSC schedule

Counterclockwise: L212, Raku, Buffstone, L213, L210, L215 Crazing out-of-the-kiln on Raku and buffstone. Bisque 04-03.

G1916Q and J fired 1650-2000F

Ten-gram balls melted and flattened as they fired. They soften over a wide range, starting well below cone 010! At 1650F carbon material is still visible (even though the glaze has lost 2% of its weight to this point), it is likely the source of the micro-bubbles that completely opacify the matrix even at 1950F (cone 04). This is an 85% fritted glaze, yet it still has carbon; think of what a raw glaze might have! Of course, this is a thick layer, so the bubbles are expected. But they still can be an issue on a piece of ware. So to get the most transparent possible result it is wise to fire tests to find the point where the glaze starts to soften (1450F in this case), then soak the kiln just below that (on the way up) to fire away as much of the carbon as possible.

Success with cyrstal clear glaze cone 03

Uses Cone 03 soak-soak-slow cool schedule. Left: P6282 with 3685U slip and 1916Q. Clear and very good. Glaze is thicker than the other two. Shivering on lip, the slip is not fitting the body. Center: P6282 with G2931F Ulexite clear. Better clarity even though it is applied very thin. Shivering on lip, the slip is not fitting the body. Right: L3724F with 3685U slip. No shivering. Very good coverage of the glaze, very clear, the best I have seen yet!

G1916Q on L215, L212, L210, L213, Buffstone at cone 03

All exited from the klin without crazing. The L215, L213, L210 and L212 samples subsequently survived a 300F/Icewater test without crazing, but the Buffstone did not. The L213 would not likely survive a cold-to-hot test without shivering.

1916Q cone 04, 03

Both were slow cooled. While the cone 04 version is glassy and ultra-gloss, it has significant clouding of micro-bubbles. The cone 03 version, right, is completely transparent.

G1916Q on L210 fired at cone 04

G1916Q+2%Iron on L212 talc body fired at cone 05

This will likely shiver over time. But the speckle that happens on white bodies is clearly visible.

XML (to paste into Insight)

<?xml version="1.0"?> <recipes version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"> <recipe name="Cone 05+ Expansion Adjustable Gloss Base" id="56565" key="wsy8bM6H" date="2021-09-11" codenum="G1916Q"> <recipelines> <recipeline material="Ferro Frit 3195" amount="65.000" tolerance=""/> <recipeline material="Ferro Frit 3110" amount="10.000" tolerance=""/> <recipeline material="Ferro Frit 3249" amount="10.000" tolerance=""/> <recipeline material="No. 5 Ball Clay" amount="15.000" tolerance=""/> </recipelines> </recipe> </recipes>

Born: 2014-03-04, Modified: 2021-09-11 21:59:03

Cone 04+ UltraClear Glossy Base

Code #


Materials Amt
Fusion Frit F-524 850.000 82.93%
Fusion Frit F-69 40.000 3.90%
EPK 90.000 8.78%
Silica 45.000 4.39%


Auto Unity Formula

BaO 0.04
CaO 0.44
MgO 0.05
K2O 0.10
Na2O 0.12
(KNaO) 0.21
SrO 0.25
B2O3 0.66
Al2O3 0.47
SiO2 3.91


Si:Al: 8.4:1
SiB:Al: 9.8:1
R2O:RO: 0.2:0.8






3.17 per kg


*I developed this for cone 04 to fit as many clay bodies (without crazing) as possible (my Zero3 clear works well on specific bodies but does not melt enough at cone 04 and its thermal expansion is too high to fit some bodies). The frits in this recipe are less common among potters but common in industry.

I found the inspiration for this on testing many commercial clears and finding one that stood above the others regarding fit and clarity at 04 (I had it analyzed and reverse engineered it using the materials I have). I had it analyzed at a lab and then created a recipe to source the same chemistry. A stroke-of-luck was that a frit we already use to produce another glaze, Fusion Frit F-524, is close to the complete chemistry needed. F-524 is an expensive frit, but you get what you pay for! The glaze is heads-above a number of commercial clear glazes I have tested (they are not ultra clear, they pinhole or blister or craze, they are not glossy enough, their slurries do not permit dipping, they are not adjustable). F-69 is also expensive, but it enables fitting this to any body.

I have been surprised by other aspects of this recipe. It is crystal-clear on any body at any thickness (at cone 04 and above)! Additions of tin and zircon produce a white that melts just as well as the clear. It is amazing how the mobile the melt is, how it runs right off my fluidity checker! Yet it is not significantly more mobile at cone 1 than cone 04 (I glazed lots of pieces up to cone 2, it seems the higher the temperature the better this works!). And it has the amount of SiO2 and Al2O3 that a cone 6 glaze has! There is some kind of magic with this chemistry that I am anxious to learn more about.

While it hardens to a powdery surface, it is amazing how little gum solution is required to make it dry hard and hang on to the bisque when other layers are added on top.

If you want to make bright colored glazes this should be an excellent base (remember, this is the clear glaze recipe currently used by at least one commercial supplier of bright coloured glazes). Encapsulated stains are fantastic at low fire and they can be mixed to fine tune to color. If you are targeting a specific or exotic color then the ability to achieve it will be determined by your ability to source an exotic stain!

For the first mix I added 3000g of powder to 2400g of water to produce a specific gravity of 1.48SG. This produced a watery slurry. I added epsom salts to the point where further additions did not thicken the slurry (up to a total of 7g). This improved it considerably but it was still a little thin (although it covered and applied like a typical dipping glaze, drying in seconds on bisque ware). However the surface was too powdery so I removed 400g of water and replaced it with 400g gum solution. This slowed dip time to about a minute (waiting for the dripping to stop) but it now tolerates thick overlaying of Majolica colors (without them pulling it away from the bisque). For a single-coat dipping (where no overglaze work will be done) I would use about half the amount of gum solution.

I am continuing work on determining how to mix a good slurry of this recipe. It appears it may need to be gelled with VeeGum, that will also harden it and may remove the need for CMC..

This recipe also has implied adjustability (by increasing the low expansion Frit F-69 at the expense of Frit F-524).



Mike ODonnell and Fusion Frits says many customers use F280 and F38. He suggested F5 might be most similar to this. But I found that F524 was by far the closest.


If you want to make this into a air brushing glaze, which actually applies better to the sample board side discs, the glaze must be screened 200 mesh and then specific gravity adjusted to 1.40 and at this S.G. the powder to water ratio would be approx. 54% glaze powder and 46% water content.


Joe: Made some this glaze up in March of 2020 and checked June 2020 ( 3 months later), and glaze has hard panned quite badly, but was able to remix with a little effort. The next day it was easier to remix. The Specific Gravity was adjusted to 1.50 and a moisture content was taken at this point in time and found to be 54.25% glaze powder and 45.75% water content. This glaze was used on the low temperature sample boards for the L215 "bottom" side samples, as well as the L210 "top" side samples. The samples were bisqued in the cone 06-05 range and glaze fired at the same temperature more or less.


Joe: June 4/21
Powder: 3000 grams
Water: 2000 grams
Screened 80 mesh after making and S.G. was 1.59
Glaze seems slightly thick, but falls off spatula surface very easily when tapped against bucket. A vigorous stir of bucket stops in about 4 seconds or so. Leave here to saturate. Yield at these quantities should be 3.14 litres of glaze.


G3879 Clear glaze on Plainsman L211 - Cone 04

Glossy, crystal clear, no crazing! And this is a 42 mesh body containing zero talc.

Melt fluidity comparison with #1 commercial clear

We tested half-a-dozen commercial clears and found G3859 to be the best all-around one. This one has a very similar melt fluidity.

G3879 on Plainsman L210, L215 at cone 04

These are 42 mesh low fire bodies. They normally have issues with pinholing but using this glaze the results are stunning. The L210 contains no talc, the L215 has 10%, yet this glaze does not craze on either one (over time it shivers on the L215).

G3878 has a high surface tension

As can be seen in the way it has melted here.

G3879 on SIAL 25F, Plainsman J2, L4170 TerraCotta

These are very different bodies. The leftmost contains talc to raise the thermal expanison to help prevent crazing with commercial glazes. The center one contains nepheline syenite (for the same purpose). The terra cotta on the right is just Redart and ball clay. This glaze fits are all three! After a year, both the 25F and J2 were difficult to break, very strong!

Sial 10F, 25F with G3879 clear glaze at cone 03

Tile like these were done on a variety of bodies and fired at different temperatures. After a year: Sial 10F Cone 02: No crazing Cone 04: Moderate crazing over time Cone 06: Severe crazing Cone 03: No crazing Sial 25F Cone 1: No crazing Cone 03: No crazing Cone 04: Crazing badly L215 Cone 04: No crazing L210 Cone 04: No crazing L212 Cone 04: Crazing Cone 1: No crazing L213 Cone 04: No crazing

G3879 Clear on L4170 TerraCotta Casting

The clear glaze is G3879. The white on the outside of the one on the left has 10% added zircopax. The overglaze colors are Spectrum Majolica colors.

G3879 with 5% Tin Oxide on SIAL 10F

When mixing Tin (as an opacifer), it is very important to mix it well. The one on the left was mixed poorly (at high speed with my propeller mixer but not for long enough). The one on the right was mixed much better and so produces better opacity. Tin is expensive so this is important. This was not crazed after a year (cone 03).

G3879 on Plainsman Buffstone - cone 03

Buffstone is an entry-level low-price body not intended to fit commercial glazes. Yet this glaze fits at cone 03 (still fitting after a year)! And without any surface defects. At cone 04 it does craze over time.

G3879 Zircon White on SIAL 25F, 10F - cone 03

10% zircopax has been added. It is melting well so the percentage could be increased for great opacity on red burning bodies.

G3879 at cone 1 on SIAL 10F, 25F

Crystal clear, no running. Perfect!

GBMF test on G3879 at cone 1

It is not running and flowing nearly as much as expected. The melt surface tension holds it in place, so it should be able to fire to cone 2 and beyond.

G3879 on terra cotta at cone 04, 02, 1

This is on the L4170 body, it is a lighter firing product, 25F, from SIAL. After use on various bodies, it was clear that fit at cone 03 is better than at 04 and much better than 06.

G1916M, G3879, G2931K on L215 - Thick

Thickly applied encourage poor fit to show up. Clearly, as shivering and cracking demonstrate, G3879 is under excessive compressive on L215. The other two are not showing any issues (other than heavy bubbling because of the thickness). G1216M is a blend of 3124/3124 with kaolin. G2931K is the Zero3 clear.

L213 with G3879 glaze at cone 04

Survived 325F:IceWater test with almost no crazing. However there was a little shivering on the rim after a month. Another mug had no crazing on the inside after several months.

G3879 on L4115J2 buff body at cone 04

Glaze is ultra clear. It was refired at cone 022 to apply a decal. It was 325F to icewater tested without crazing. It was waterlogged (the bottom is bare clay) and then put in a microwave for two minutes. Despite getting incredibly hot it did not fracture or craze! Was still fitting after a year+.

G3879 on SIAL 10F at cone 02

No crazing after several months. Flawless service.


B - Tin White

XML (to paste into Insight)

<?xml version="1.0"?> <recipes version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"> <recipe name="Cone 04+ UltraClear Glossy Base" id="154451" key="pgDLcx36" date="2021-09-11" codenum="G3879"> <recipelines> <recipeline material="Fusion Frit F-524" amount="850.000" tolerance=""/> <recipeline material="Fusion Frit F-69" amount="40.000" tolerance=""/> <recipeline material="EPK" amount="90.000" tolerance=""/> <recipeline material="Silica" amount="45.000" tolerance=""/> </recipelines> </recipe> </recipes>

Born: 2019-04-15, Modified: 2021-09-11 21:59:33