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Did you know??? Advantages and Disadvantages of Terracotta Products Based on the Production

Updated: Aug 8, 2022

How is a terracotta product actually made? Surely you've heard or know that the best #ceramics is handmade, with a production time ranging from 25 to 40 days, depending on the size of the item and the production season. In general, the larger the #size and the colder the #period are, the longer the processing and drying cycle is.


Each production cycle consists of the following steps:

- production

- finishing

- drying

- burning and cooling

- wetting

- packaging

The care with which these #phases are performed also #determines the durability and quality of the #terracotta product. With the same clay, you can get lower quality products if you do not work the right way in the #individual stages of processing. This is the fundamental difference between CAT-certified manufacturers and other manufacturers who are unable to follow the correct procedure due to the absence of traditional practice and many years of experience because of the preferences for quantity at the expense of quality. They produce large quantities of products to save time and reduce production #costs, use #machines, iron molds instead of gypsum and fast firing cycles - all resulting in lower mechanical resistance of the product, resulting in premature #deformation, product cracking, cracks and total #devastation .


FROST RESISTANCE


Each #terracotta product we offer is frost-resistant up to -30 ° C. However, this does not mean that the clay is impermeable to water. One of the characteristic properties of clay is its porosity, which allows plants a better supply of oxygen to the plant roots. In #winter, the pores can be filled with water, which expands when frozen and can expand even the best terracotta. To prevent this, you need to follow certain simple steps and your terracotta containers will last you longer and will be able to withstand harsh winters:


- Do not block the drainage holes at the bottom of the container and check that the soil or roots do not prevent water leakage.

- Ice water can also harm the plant.

- Don't leave #terracotta filled with water in winter

- If possible, try lifting the container off the ground using terracotta feet


Our products are sold in Northern Europe and North America and we have never received complaints of frost cracking.


HOW IS GARDEN TERRACOTTA MANUFACTURED?

We will try to briefly describe the current techniques that are used in the production of garden terracotta and at the same time point out their #pros and #cons.


The quality of terracotta also depends on other factors, such as the clay used and the firing cycle. E.g. using the Colombino technique with poor quality clay or when firing ceramics with a bad firing cycle, a good flowerpot may be created from an aesthetic point of view, but not very good due to its mechanical strength, resp. functionality and frost resistance.


  1. COLOMBINO Technique

With this technique, the product is made entirely by hand, without the use of plaster molds. It starts with a base of a certain required thickness. Then some clay parts (elongated cylindrical shapes similar to salami) are laid one on top of the other from their base until they form a so-called "flowerpot wall". Only the #skill of the craftsman himself is decisive for the #production of ceramics of the right thickness and subsequent #decorations, and thanks to his knowledge and skills, this technique can produce any desired shape or size of the product. The use of this #technique requires, in addition to the skill and skill of the potter, a considerable amount of time to manufacture such a vessel, and this technique has therefore been overcome by the use of gypsum molds. However, the Colombino technique is still used to create large and #uniquepieces. The vases made by the traditional Colombino method can be recognized by the typical #fingerprints of the craftsman printed on the inside of the vessel.

One of the characteristic features of Colombino products is that there is no identical copy, because each piece is unique. Today, this technique is used with the best quality clay and is intended for top customers who want to have a unique piece of Tuscan handmade terracotta in their space.

Pros +
  • It can create products of any shape and size

  • Each piece is #unique and therefore more valuable

  • High aesthetic #quality

  • Maximum adaptation to the customer's requirements

Cons -
  • More expensive

  • Production time is very long

2. Gypsum Mold


First, models or gypsum molds must be created to shape the clay, each mold being an imprint of the product to be produced and must therefore be manufactured with the utmost care.

Each mold can be used to make many hundreds of pots, after which the mold is subjected to abrasion and the ornaments begin to disappear from the mold over time. The molds are therefore changed regularly. The craftsman presses the clay into the mold with his hands and special tools and completes the inner part of the flowerpot. Then the mold must wait until it absorbs the water contained in the clay so that the product can withdraw and separate from the mold. At this point, the product is completed, respectively. except for small details and decorations on the outside. Unlike the Colombino technique, this technique uses molds, which is why the pieces produced are more or less identical.


Pros +
  • It can create containers of any shape and size, even large

  • Good for mass production of identical containers

  • High aesthetic quality

  • Possibility of customization

Cons -
  • The price is considered too high, but the quality / price ratio is absolutely excellent

  • Production is time consuming, but with multiple molds you can produce multiple products at once

3. Gypsum and lathe


This method can be used only for round flower pots and a machine - lathe, which is able to create their internal shape, is also used for production. The container mold is placed on a rotating base and the inside of the container can be shaped using a special tool. The clay is inserted into the mold without paying particular attention to its consistency, and then the lathe rotates to form a container with the correct thickness. The mold is then removed after absorbing the water contained in the clay. The outer decorations of the container are finished by hand until the end. Unlike the manual gypsum mold technique, lathe cast and shaped containers can only be produced in round shapes.

Pros +
  • It can create pots of any size, even large

  • Suitable for large production

  • The containers are perfectly round

  • High aesthetic quality

  • Ability to produce containers in a relatively short production time

Cons -
  • It is only able to create a round shape

4. Automatic machines with gypsum mold

With this technique, creating products is very easy. In general, the machines are fully or semi-automatic and simply insert the clay into the mold and the machine will automatically cast and release the mold for the product. The only manual step in this method of production is its completion, which must be done manually.

Containers can be made in many shapes, round and square, with or without ornaments. The vessel is separated from the casting by compressed air.

Pros +
  • Lower price

  • Suitable for large production

  • Increased production speed

  • Good aesthetic quality, because the surface treatment is finished by hand

Cons -
  • It is not possible to create all shapes that can be made by hand

  • The final product is imperfect, the edge may be irregular

  • The product cannot be customized

  • It is not a unique work, it is a machine production

5. Sheet metal stamping machines: industrial production

This manufacturing process is similar to the process described above except that the molds are made of metal. To separate the pot from the metal mold, it is necessary to use a very thick clay and before pressing, an oil release agent is sprayed on the metal mold.

These two elements, dense clay and oil, mix during the manufacture of the vessel and are the main reasons for the poor quality of the product and its insufficient resistance to frost. As a result, you can often see the classic peeling of the clay and the gradual cracking of terracotta in the early years.



Pros +
  • Very low price

  • Suitable for series production

  • Increased production speed

  • Perfect surface treatment of flower pots, typical for machine-made pots

Cons -
  • Poor frost resistance

  • The shapes are simple

  • Usually low aesthetic design

  • No personalization options


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