Pugmill: Recycling Studio Clay

Our newest piece of equipment is something we are very excited about over here at Ogres-Holm Pottery Studio, it’s a pugmill from Peter Pugger Manufacturing! What is a pugmill you might ask? It is a clay recycling machine that will let us reuse and recycle all of our clay scraps here at the studio.


We have just recycled our first batches of clay, weighing in at 200 pounds. Our pugmill can recycle 140 pounds of clay per batch. That’s a lot of clay! We will be using this recycled clay in our own studio, along with selling it to studios across Northern Nevada, as we are a large distributor for clay.


Right now, we have about 10 buckets of clay scraps, as no piece of clay will ever go to waste. It will take about a month or so of constantly using Mr. Pugmill to process all our backstock, but we can’t wait to see how many pounds of recycled clay we will produce.


How a Pugmill Works


The best way to process clay is to let it completely dry out, as bone-dry clay will absorb water like a sponge, fully absorbing as much as it can. Clay that already contains some water will not absorb as much. A quarter of the process of recycling this clay is letting our scraps dry out and reconstituting wet clay.

A mix of wet clay and fully dried out clay will go into the machine from our backlog buckets, which contain scraps from classes and studio projects. The mix of wet and dry clay will continue until the pugmill is full and looking to be a decent consistency.


When the machine is on, the clay will mix together until it’s the right blend for throwing clay. Playing with the consistency is the dance we are figuring out as we go. Once the clay is mixed, the pugmill will vacuum seal to get all the air out of the machine, thus getting all the air bubbles out of the clay. Then, we reverse the motor and open the plug at the end of the machine.


The vacuum and motor will push the clay out of the machine to create perfectly shaped, fresh logs of clay. This is what we will package up for sale and distribution.


With this tool, we are excited to have the opportunity to constantly reuse and recycle our clay and be able to sell it to studios and schools across the area. Follow our social media channels to stay up to date on our pugmill journey!