Pugging Clay

Today I was tasked with turning the mounds of clay that I mixed up a while ago into pugs of clay. The main reason for this is to drive all of the air out of the clay, making it ready to use. Back in the old days before electricity was used, the pottery had a horse-powered pug mill. This sits directly out the front of the shack:

As you can see it has become a little overgrown

The pug mill at Winchcombe does this so successfully that kneading the clay before throwing isn't necessarily necessary. By taking differing amounts of the stiffer clay (left) and softer reclaimed clay (right) you are able to pug to the consistency you want to throw with.

The pug mill is probably the most dangerous piece of equipment at the pottery. The metal screw inside the mill will churn anything, not just clay. I was warned and was careful not to get my hands near the moving parts.

The piles of clay before my efforts today

Empty bucket awaiting pugs

Still of the mill
The pug mill in action... watch your fingers!
Filthy sticky horibble hands-all fingers still intact

The pile after I had filled three bins. I used the shovel to cut off chunks of clay from the stiffer pile on the left

Pugged to the top

Here is a video of the process filmed by Matt G. It is not stupendously thrilling as Matt pointed out, but I think somewhat more interesting than my recent clay mixer video.