Friday, December 12, 2008

broken pieces of stoves

What a sight! Boxes of broken pieces of my latest shipment of Chao Zhou stoves.
I am going to find a way to patch them to a point where it's functional, cosmetic is not part of my concern at this point. Does any one know how to repair terra cotta? Glue might not be an option, since glue may not endure the heat from burning charcoal. Any type of clay or concrete? I was told raw egg white might work. Sweet rice (sticky rice) has long been used in building as a form of ancient concrete adhering bricks together. Some of the structure are still standing after over 800 years in parts of China. Perhaps I'll try mixing cooked sweet rice with raw egg white, blend them into a paste to glue the pieces together.

A cracked stove with a broken leg, middle portion is also loose although functional. It does not wabble even 80% of one leg is chipped off. I am very much disappointed after I clean it out.

Although this stove is standing and functional, expansion and contraction from heating then cooling off will eventually break it apart. I placed 2 wires around the top and bottom to secure it from falling apart in case the cracks got worse.
It's heart breaking to wait many many days, weeks and months, everything shattered as they arrive. I am determent to put them back on their feet again.

Terra Cotta is made of soft clay fired at low temperature. Life expectancy of such clay ware is temporally. They are extremely easy to break. What contributed to this disastrous shipment is mainly poor wrapping, long period of sailing is also a culprit, boxing everything into one heavy load spells trouble. One would drop a heavy package fast and hard, right?! Aish, Oy, Aiya!


Jason Fasi said...

That's tragic :( really sad to see those photos. asking on the pottery forums no one had a good idea of what to do to the pots and still use them with heat.

your rice/egg thing might work, but that was used to repair buildings and such, not things that have to withstand thermal shock. be careful when you test it with charcoal. maybe test it outside away from anything flammable.

did any of the stoves make it without damage?

Imen said...

The rice was used for buildings, however the egg white can withstand heat. Carbonized egg white can be a strong adhesive. I might have to do some extensive wiring both inside and outside of the stoves. The glue as I suspect is some what temporally still no matter what material to use.

Only ONE survived! Initially I thought 2 did, until I cleaned the dust out and saw the cracks of the standing up one in the picture. sheesh~~

Ozark said...

Oh gosh! That's terrible. I would be pretty bummed out about that. I can check for you if you like - I'm also on a forum for my Big Green Egg - the world's best BBQ / Smoker, and it's a ceramic cooker based on a Japanese kamado stove. The firebox inside the cooker is prone to cracking from heat over time, and I've seen some posts about repairing the firebox in a food friendly way.

You can try:

It's Rutland Fireplace Mortar - but it cures at 500'f and good to 2000'f (!!!) - so you need a hot fire to get a full cure.

If you don't think you'll go above 600'f you can simply get JB Weld - which you can buy at an autoparts store or Walmart. Good luck!

Imen said...

Hi Ozark,

Thank you for the info! I'll definitely try to patch one and see how it goes. :D


Jason Fasi said...


If using the mortar, you could refire the piece in a local ceramics shop's kiln. I dunno what's in your area, but there are two places in LA that would rent you kiln space. Lemme know if interested.


Ozark said...

Maybe the JB Weld will be easier then since you won't have to refire to set the mortar! ;-)

Imen said...


Is JB Weld food use safe?


Ozark said...

Imen -
JB Weld is non-toxic. We BBQ'ers use it in our BBQ's all the time that has direct exposure to our food. Especially for using it on your stove with the pot as a barrier - you're certainly in good shape.


Imen said...


I got JB Weld! Will let you know how it goes in a couple of days. :)

Thanks a million!

dogma_i said...

Having done a lot of ceramic repairs on lab furnaces and the like... Ideal for this purpose is a silicate furnace cement much thinner than what comes in caulk tubes. An example (that I've used):

Anything with the texture of mortar will have compressive strength, but not tensile or shear strength. A penetrating fluid is needed. (And would probably work well on cracked pots, too.) Silicate cements do require a fairly high fire, but just leaving the piece on top of a household fireplace would probably be fine.

Instead of buying the cement, you could just go to a furnace repair shop with one of the broken stoves. They'll probably give you what you want - the stuff's very cheap. You can even mix it with powdered brick to match colors.

Good luck with this-


Imen said...


Thanks for the info! This product looks more cosmetically suitable for my pots and stoves. Do you know if they are toxin free, in the case of burning then releasing toxin and releasing toxin in water?

Many thanks!


dogma_i said...

I wouldn't expect any health issue. The several varieties of furnace cement I've used were all completely inorganic, hence nothing to smell, and apparently free of anything like heavy metals that could be toxic. Probably much cleaner, in fact, than the original clay. I'd use them w/o hesitation for repairing an actual teapot.