Q: What countries do you ship to?
A: We ship to North America which includes the United States, Canada and US Territories serviced by USPS. Shipping internationally (even Canada) is prohibitively expensive (even small orders can cost $50 or more to ship), we require a per order quote request for orders outside of the United States.
Q: I placed my order online, when can I expect it?
A: We do our best to ship items in a timely fashion. Most shipped orders (USPS/UPS) will leave our facility within 5 business days depending on order volume and stock limitations. Depending on which shipping method you choose and location of delivery it could take anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks to receive your packages once they leave our facility. If tracking information is available we will provide it to you. If you order a large amount of clay with USPS shipping we will often stagger the shipment to spare your postal carrier's back.
Q: I live in Hawaii/Alaska can you ship clay via USPS Flat Rate Boxes?
A: This is our preferred method of shipping clay within the contiguous United States.
Q: How is shipping calculated?
A: We pull retail rates directly from USPS for use at checkout. Additionally we have flat rates set for certain products such as clay, dry glazes. We will notify you about any additional shipping costs that may need to be charged to your account.
Q: Can you ship using my UPS account number?
A: Typically this isn't an issue. We need for you to call your order in to 800-952-8030 if this is your preferred method of paying for shipping costs.
Q: I purchased something from your store and it wasn't the correct item, can I return it?
A: Returns are accepted within 30 days of purchase on unused/unopened items. All returns must be accompanied by a receipt/proof of purchase. We will refund the amount back to your original payment method which must match the receipt.
Q: I purchased something online and want to return it, how do I do that?
A: All returns for online orders must be pre-approved. Please call us 800-952-8030 to discuss the order and any issues so we can choose the proper method of handling the return. The customer is liable for all shipping costs to and from CAC unless otherwise noted.
Q: How long will it take for my refund to arrive?
A: Returns/refunds requests are processed as soon as possible and funds should be transferred back to your card within 7 business days from receipt of item.
Q: I'd like to cancel an order I just placed over the phone/online, how can I do that and ensure I'm not being charged?
A: Give us a call and we can help you out. If your order has already shipped then you will need to wait for the item to be delivered for us to assist you with a return.
Q: Can I return a bag/box of clay?
A: Occasionally we will have a customer who would like to return clay because it is too hard or too soft. We will do what we can to resolve that issue. If your clay is not performing as expected let us know and we will replace your clay if necessary. IF clay was shipped to you and it does not meet your expectations please give us a call so we can discuss a remedy. Limit of liability is limited to replacement of faulty product. CAC reserves the right to refuse returns for items that are not defective, faulty or as pictured. As always be sure to use witness cones in all of your firings to ensure proper firing.
Q: I purchased a wet glaze from you and it didn't turn out how I wanted, can I return it?
A: All sales are final on any product that we can not repackage. Glazes and dry materials are non-refundable if they have been used or if the seal is broken. Limit of liability is limited to replacement of faulty product. CAC reserves the right to refuse returns for items that are not defective, faulty or as pictured.
In the case of glazes not turning out as intended please ensure you are using witness cones when firing to confirm proper firing.
Q: I live near Tacoma, can I place an order online and come pick it up?
A: Yes of course! We offer free local pick up for orders made over the phone. All orders require a minimum of 1 business day to process and pull. No orders will be ready same day unless otherwise instructed. If you haven't been informed of when your order will be available please give us a call 1-800-952-8030.
Q: I want to pickup a kiln I bought, what do I need to know about picking it up from CAC?
A: First and foremost bring the right vehicle for the job. Customers are responsible for all packaging, this includes the skid, large box and packing foam. Skutt kilns can be broken down into smaller sections however this increases the chances of firebrick being damaged during load/unload/transit. We recommend confirming box/kiln dimensions and bringing a truck without a canopy that way we can set the box/pallet right into your vehicle using a forklift.
We do also offer local delivery for a small fee.
Please refer to our Local Delivery page for info and current pricing
Q: I plan on ordering in bulk, can you have my order delivered on a pallet via freight truck?
A: Absolutely! For a quote on LTL freight please give us a call 1-800-952-8030
Q: What is a lift gate and do I need one for delivery?
A: The liftgate is part of the truck that lowers the freight down to the ground. If delivering to an address that does not have access to a forklift you will need liftgate service. An additional charge may apply.
Q: Will the truck driver load my order into my studio space for me?
A: The responsibility to unload the pallet/order rests on the receiver not the trucker. All orders shipped via freight will be dropped at the curb. Some freight companies offer inside delivery at an additional cost but this would usually be limited to putting the order inside the garage but not walking it downstairs into a basement. Any costs incurred from inside delivery will be charged to the customer - CAC is not responsible for any additional fees incurred outside of the quoted amount.
Q: I live on a narrow street/top of a mountain/bottom of the ocean. Will the freight truck be able to get to me?
A: If you live in a limited access area that may increase your shipping costs. If a tractor trailer cannot fit on your road special accommodations may need to be made.
Q: How do I receive my freight order?
A: Once your pallet has left the truck please inspect it carefully for any damages preferably while the truck driver is still on site. If you notice external damage you will need to then check for concealed damage in side of boxes/wrap. Carriers will no longer pay claims on concealed damage. If you suspect interior damage to the packages it is the responsibility of the receiver to inspect the freight fully inside and out before signing off on the delivery.
Q: I found damage to my freight order, now what?
A: If damage is minor/repairable (cracked/chipped brick) make sure to clearly note the damage on the Driver's copy of the delivery receipt. Clearly document damage and take photos while the truck is still on site. ALL DAMAGE MUST BE NOTED ON DRIVER'S COPY OF DELIVERY RECEIPT OR THE DAMAGES WILL NOT BE ADDRESSED. After the driver has left you can give us a call at 1-800-952-8030 so we can instruct you on sending us the necessary info to handle the issue.
If your order is damaged to the point of no repair it is advisable to refuse the shipment. Write a description of the damage and condition of pallet load and your refusal on the driver's delivery receipt. At this point your responsibility is over, we will be contacted by the freight company and will handle the next steps.
Q: What if I notice damage after the driver has already left?
A: If freight damage is not noted on the driver's delivery receipt then any damage discovered later is considered suspect and will likely not be covered. Concealed damages have a reporting period of five business days after delivery date. In the instance a concealed damage claim is approved, the freight company is only liable for a minimum of 30% of the damage and it can take up to 80 business days to be reimbursed for the claim amount. If the receiver, or anyone acting on the receiver's behalf should sign the delivery receipt without first inspecting the freight and noting damage then neither CAC nor the freight carrier will accept liability for the damages.
Q: Do you offer discounts to schools/teachers?
A: We absolutely do! We love supporting our ceramic educators and we offer great discounts on CAC clays and glazes. We also offer volume discounts on Kemper Tools, AMACO glazes, Mayco glazes.
Q: What payment methods are available for schools/teachers?
A: This will vary by district however most teachers pay using a PO number that we keep on file. Purchase cards are also a very common method. We are not responsible for your bookkeeping and do not maintain your PO balance for reference. The responsibility of balance tracking rests with the educator and their district accountant.
Q: Who qualifies for the educator/school discount?
A: Both private and public instructional institutions are qualified for this discount. Please call so we can setup an account for your school.
Q: Can I present my WA State Reseller's Permit for tax exemption?
A: Absolutely! If you are a potter and you sell your pots you are able to claim WA State sales tax exemption on the materials that go into your creations. This would include clay, raw materials, glazes. This does not include consumables (cones, kiln shelves, kiln wash) or tools unless they are being resold in a retail capacity.
We MUST have your active and up to date reseller permit on file at the time of purchase for us to withhold tax. No exceptions. If you are placing an order online and would like to use your reseller permit please email a PDF copy to firstname.lastname@example.org along with your order number so we can adjust totals and refund any applicable taxes.
Q: Does CAC repair kilns?
A: You betcha! We have loads of experience working on kilns and other equipment. Commonly we see people bring in used kilns that they want to have brought back to original working condition or have basic maintenance performed. We are certified SKUTT repair techs and we can also service kilns made from the other leading manufacturers as well. Parts availability is limited to what is on hand and ordering parts from the manufacturer may be necessary; typically we have most parts for SKUTT on hand.
Please visit our Kiln Repair page for the most up to date info
Q: My brand new kiln has cracked or chipped firebrick, is this a problem?
A: Firebrick is very delicate and easily damaged. Often times there may be hairline cracks in the brick even on brand new/never opened kilns. This is normal and not cause for alarm, it is purely cosmetic in most cases and can be patched if desired. In the event that you have more considerable damage we will advise you on the best method of remedy.
Q: I see that you sell 2.5" and 3" firebrick kilns, what is the difference and what is best for my needs?
A: If it were up to use everyone would be buying 3" kilns. We find that they are more efficient to heat and work better for most situations. A 2.5" kiln would be ideal for folks doing low fire work where they need faster cycling times. Your shelves will often be slightly bigger for a 2.5" kiln which will increase their cost when compared to the 3" sizes.
Q: What is Kiln Wash and do I need to use it?
A: Kiln wash is made of refractory substances, like silica, alumina, or zirconium, that have high melting points and don’t cause melting when combined. The exact formula is adjusted based on an artist’s intended firing temperature; silica is typically used in low- or mid-fire temperature ranges, while alumina, which is sourced from kaolin, the foundation of porcelain clay bodies, is typically used for higher temperatures since it has a higher melting point.
Kiln wash provides a protective layer between your artwork and your kiln shelves. Though glaze is never intended to come in direct contact with kiln shelves - hence, why stilting or wiping glaze off the bottom of a project is important - sometimes it will unexpectedly run, spit, drip, or melt onto the shelf. Long story short, kiln wash protects your investment in shelves and is highly recommended!
We produce a standard version of Kiln Wash and we also produce a version called Z-Tech which is less prone to flaking off when flipping shelves and also will leave very minimal pockmarks when something does stick which facilitates easy reapplication of Z-Tech to only the problem spot.
Q: How do you apply kiln wash?
A: If you bought dry kiln wash you will need to mix it before application. Add water and mix to the consistency of buttermilk, just mix enough for the job. If using pre-mixed just shake and coat!
- Fire new kiln shelves dry. Before even mixing your kiln wash, if you are using brand new kiln shelves, it is recommended you first fire them once in an empty kiln. This initial step will drive out any organic material from manufacturing and transport. Now they are ready to have kiln wash applied.
- Mix a small amount of wash in a bowl. Mix some of the powder with water until it has the consistency of skim milk.
- Apply thin coats. Using a wide paintbrush, utility brush, roller, or even sprayer, apply a thin layer of wash to the kiln shelf. If the coat is too thick, it could cause more cracking and peeling. Also, be careful to avoid getting kiln wash on the edge of the shelf; it can flake off during firing and onto your glazed pieces below. Many artists sponge off a half-inch of kiln wash around the perimeter to ensure it won’t go over the edge.
- Apply at least 3 coats of kiln wash. To ensure that there is enough protection between your ware and the kiln shelves, you should apply three full coats of kiln wash. Let each coat dry thoroughly before applying the next one - allow about 60 minutes per layer. Some artists even chose to fire between the application of each coat, building it up during bisque firings or adding additional layers during glaze firings.
- Scrape any wash that flakes off. If you notice that your kiln wash is flaking, remove any loose pieces with a paint scraper and reapply. Similarly, if any glaze drips onto your shelf, use the paint scraper to remove it, clean up any loose flakes around it, and then dab some kiln wash on the bare spot.
Q: I bought some CAC Plum Black or Aardvark Obsidian black clay and I want to fire it, is there anything I should know first?
A: Obsidian is a beautiful black mid-range stoneware and it has some specific considerations to make when firing. We recommend what is called a Oxidized Bisque firing, which means that you want to fire with all of your peep holes open which will help make sure all organics are fully burnt out. Additionally this clay should not exceed Cone 5 when glaze firing as it will bloat, bloating is even more of an issue if you don't do the oxidized bisque. Use witness cones and make sure you know how your kiln fires to compensate if need be.
We recommend you read Steve's Oxidized Bisque for a more in depth understanding of this process.
Q: How do I order wet clays on your webstore?
A: Find the clay you wish to purchase and select the amount (in pounds) you need. The minimum amount you can order per clay is 25lbs which is a half box. Full box of clay is 50lbs. We typically ship pugged clay via USPS Flat Rate or via Freight if your're ordering in bulk.
Q: How long does clay last and how should I store it?
A: Typically we recommend you use your wet clay within a year of the date stamped on the box. Old clay can be used but we cannot guarantee the results with as much confidence. The best method for storing clay is to only use what you need at a time and keep the bag sealed when not in use. Storing your clay closer to the floor and ideally in a cool/dark place will help keep it feeling fresh for longer.
Q: Where are your clays made?
A: We make all of the CAC clays on site in Tacoma. We produce around 10,000lbs of clay on a daily basis.
Q: Can you make me a custom batch of clay?
We routinely make specialty batches of clay for people. The minimum order amount is 1000# and we need you to provide a tested recipe, we will never share your recipes with anyone. Some custom orders may yield as low as 800# and as much as 1200# and we provide everything that came out of the mixer.
Q: What is your recommended firing schedule for mid-range oxidation firing?
A: First and foremost you MUST use witness cones when firing, we cannot assist you in troubleshooting if you do not first help yourself.
We highly recommend using a fully oxidized bisque firing - which means utilizing your vent system to ensure you have good oxygen exchange during the firing, or if you don't have a vent simply removing all of your peep-hole plugs to allow more air to enter the kiln.
We recommend a Cone 04 Bisque fire on SLOW speed. For glaze firing, plug all but the top peep-hole, program a Cone 5 firing on SLOW or MEDIUM speed with a 5-15 minute HOLD at peak temp to acheive a accurate Cone 6 according to your witness cone. Adjust the hold time based on your kiln's performance and load size - big kilns and overloaded kilns will need a longer hold time.
Programmable kilns have a tendency to overfire, that is why we utilize the HOLD feature. If we simply program a Cone 6 firing the kiln will likely overfire.
Q: What other clay brands do you regularly stock?
A: We carry a wide selection from Laguna (Western) and we also carry a selection of bodies from Aardvark. Not seeing the clay you're looking for? Give us a call 1-800-952-8030 and we can likely special order it for you!
Q: Do you make dry clay that I can mix on my own?
A: We absolutely do. We can produce any of our clays as a dry mix for you. Minimum order is 50lbs and we need at least 1-2 business days notice to produce it for you. For dry pricing add $0.04 per pound on top of the standard wet pricing.
Q: What is Paper Clay and what do I use it for?
A: Paper Clay was developed by Rosette Gault and has some key benefits to consider; namely that it is very strong while not being coarse due to grog like many sculptural clay bodies. Additionally you can make attachments at any stage of wetness/dryness, this also makes repairing greenware very easy. Greenware is much stronger than conventional clays
We produce Paper Clay and Paper Slip (P-Slip) versions of our popular bodies. Available in Earthenware, Stoneware and Porcelain variants in lowfire, midrange and highfire temperatures.
Paper Clay will smoke during firing as all the paper must burn out. This typically happens around 500 degrees, the same temp that wax resist burns out at.
We recommend reading this article by Rosette Gault to better understand the benefits of Paper Clay and P-Slip.
Q: Are your wet/pre-mixed glazes for brushing or dipping?
A: Unless otherwise noted on the container our wet glazes are formulated for brush on application. They have been thickened with gum solution to help in even application and the smoothing of brush strokes.
Q: I bought a wet glaze from you and it's too thick/too thin for my needs, how can I fix that?
A: A pre-mixed glaze can be thickened by adding gum solution (ideal) or thinned by adding water to reach the desired consistency. Adding plain water may thin too much so be very careful in how much you add and work in small increments.
Q: I bought dry glaze and would like to mix it for dipping, do you have instructions on how to do so?
A: Certainly! First you will need a few supplies at the ready, this includes: respirator/mask, 2 buckets of appropriate size, a rib or spatula, a sieve (60 mesh minimum),and ideally a power drill with mixing attachment.
For 5lbs of dry glaze you will want to start with 48oz of water in one of your buckets. Add the dry glaze to the water and mix to incorporate fully, this will get your glaze to screening consistency.
Next set your sieve on top of the 2nd bucket, pour your glaze mixture into the sieve and use your rib/spatula to help push the glaze through the screen and keep the mixture moving. We recommend that you screen all of your dry glazes as it ensures even particle size, you'll see the little bits that are leftover that you don't want in your glaze. Once this is complete you can adjust the consistency of your glaze by adding more water.
If you add too much water and your glaze is too thin we recommend using magnesium sulfate (epsom salts - unscented/plain). Fully dissolve the salts in luke warm water (30g epsom salt per 100ml of water) and then add to your thin glaze a tablespoon at a time, allowing time (about a minute) to thicken between each addition as to not over thicken.
Q: Will you produce a custom glaze recipe for me?
A: We love to help people make their own glazes. We can mix whatever recipe you provide and can produce it in the desired quantity with a 5lb minimum order. Pricing varies and is based on material cost and labor. For a quote please send us your recipe, we absolutely do not share your recipe with anyone so your secrets are safe.