Quick Tip: Repurposing Kiln Stilts

I’m a fan of using tongs for dipping smaller pieces in glaze. I appreciate the benefits of a consistent glaze coating applied in one swoop, ease of handling, no finger marks, and virtually no touch up. Wishing I could enjoy those same benefits when glazing larger pieces that I couldn’t manage with one-handed tongs, I came up with this hack: repurposing kiln stilts as finger tongs.

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Pour your prepared dipping glaze in a shallow container that is several inches wider than your piece. A basic rectangular bin from a hardware store works well. For extra-large platters, I like to use a round rubber feed pan, available at farm-supply stores.

Triangular kiln stilts work better than Y-shaped ones, as they provide more surface area for your fingers and thumbs to exert pressure. Simply hold one stilt against the outside wall of your piece with your index and middle fingers, and then place a second stilt (I like to use a smaller one here) for your thumb on the inside wall opposite your fingers (1). Position your other hand the same way on the other side of your piece (2, 3). It can be a little tricky to set up the second hand until you get the hang of it. Holding firmly onto the stilts, simply dip your piece through your glaze container, pulling toward yourself (4). When you place the glazed piece on your work surface and release your fingers and thumbs, the stilts stick to your skin and come away from the piece with ease, leaving only a few pin marks to smooth when dry (5), for a perfect glaze surface, inside and out.

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