Can you repair a Crock? [Archive] - Varmints Den

: Can you repair a Crock?

07-31-2011, 12:01 PM
I have a 10 gal. Pickling Crock that has a stress crack on one side. Danged near looks like the "Liberty Bell". Is there some sort of Ceramic/Pottery Epoxy or something out there that I could fill this crack with that would allow me to keep using this Crock? We use them to make Sauerkraut. It's real old from Grandma's era and I don't want to lose it. Thanks for any information. Jim

07-31-2011, 06:44 PM
a picture would help. is the peice displaced? if it is a small crack you might try super glue, it might wick into the crack by osmosis. i know vinegar can clean up som unhardened epoxies, the acidic sauerkaraut my have an effect on a bond.

slap on a glue soaked binder and keep krauting.

Larry D Scott
07-31-2011, 10:01 PM
What about that black spray sealer thats advertised on TV. I dont know if it would be food compatable. If used on the outside of the crock only it would probably be safe. Larry

Doug Jacobsen
07-31-2011, 10:16 PM
I just searched "Food grade Epoxy" and found several items. You say the crock is stressed cracked on ONE side. Is that like outside, inside, through? if indeed it was or is on the outside I'd be inclined to mix up a thin batch of JB Weld and let it seep in. Then again I don't make saurkraut but have used JB Weld:D Doug

07-31-2011, 11:44 PM
I'll get a picture tomorrow and post it.

08-03-2011, 06:47 PM
It's a hair-line Crack and whatever Epoxy type stuff I'd use will have to be thin & runny.

Think I got a snowballs chance of patching it? :)

Larry in Bend
08-03-2011, 07:56 PM
There is nothing that can't be repaired using:

JB Weld
Duct Tape
Pop Rivets

08-03-2011, 09:08 PM
It's a hair-line Crack and whatever Epoxy type stuff I'd use will have to be thin & runny.

Think I got a snowballs chance of patching it? :)

Retire the crock. The crack goes all the way down the side and if you repair the "bad portion" it will just crack more open lower down. Keep the crock and the good memories that go with it ....just dont use it anymore

James Staggs
08-03-2011, 09:29 PM
does it leak?

08-03-2011, 09:58 PM
It would be a shame to retire something like that. I still have my Grand Ma's Sausage crock in the cellar. That is one of the most cherished items I have. I would not want to retire it for just a little crack.

I also have a couple of other crocks and one was cracked. I had it repaired by the lady who teaches the local pottery calss. I have no idea what she did, but she only charged me a little bit of money, and it works great(no leaks).

Do you have any local places that do classes like pottery or ceramics?? Good luck, but please don't retire the crock. Tom.

08-03-2011, 10:35 PM
If I can get some sort of Ceramic Epoxy that's thin enough, I think I can get it into even the thinnest part of the crack by taping the whole crack up with a good tape and using the "Super-Suck" Shop Vacuum on one side and dribbling the Epoxy into an untaped section on the opposite side until it runs out the Vacuum side. I get one section filled, I can tape it up and move to another section and just work my way all the way up the crack! I don't think the crack is contaminated with any oils or pickling compounds from using the crock because I think it was cracked since the last time the crock was used. I might be able to clean anything out of the crack with Brake Cleaner & high-pressure air. Anyway, I'm game to try so if anyone know some names of a good ceramic glue or Epoxy let me know.

08-03-2011, 10:53 PM
the super glue is pretty thin, avoid the gell stuff. tape both sides of the crack t okeep it contained somewaht and lightly tap the crock. the vibration mignt encourage the glue to migrate .

osmotic action might take over too.

Terry N.
08-03-2011, 11:25 PM
There are many varieties of 'super glue,' ranging from thick gels to very thin 'runny' types. I'd Google it, and find a manufacturer and call them for tech advice.

08-04-2011, 12:50 AM
Terry, I've used Devcon Epoxies for years and they make some good stuff. I sent them an e-mail today. It'll be interesting to see what they come up with.

08-04-2011, 04:15 PM
lightly tap the crock.

Probably not a good idea... that is a stress crack. When clay is fired to 2800degrees or more it starts to vitrify. That means the clay platelets begin to align and this causes stresses already set up in a wheel thrown object to increase. Kind of like tempered glass.(we all know what happens when it breaks!)

Now as for repair you can repair the outside with JB or any good epoxy if looks isn't important and then use a food grade silicon sealant on the inside.

Myself, I wouldn't want to destroy to outside appearance and patina. Sealing it from the inside would be your best option.

DO NOT let anyone try to repair and re fire this piece! The odds of total destruction are way too high. That is "stoneware" and has high concentrations of sand called "frits". Cracking and more stress would likely occur due to differing contraction and expansion rates if not done by a very skilled artisan. Even then it would be a crap shoot.

My ex wife had a degree in ceramics and I got to build many kilns and fire lots of stuff like that! I picked up a few bits of knowledge over the years! I also worked in a glass factory!


08-04-2011, 10:26 PM
I hear you Nikonut. I did get a reply from Devcon and the nice person said Devcon's 2 ton Epoxy would probably work about as good as anything. Ha ! I think that "lightly Tap the Crock" is what got me in trouble to begin with! :) I'm going to do a little more online snooping into Ceramic Epoxies before I try anything on this old Crock. It probably won't leak in the bottom 2/3's of the crack but if I can pressure some sort of good glue into the crack as far down as possible I'm going to. We use these Crocks to start batches of Cherry/Strawberry Wine from time to time also!

Don M.
08-06-2011, 12:53 PM
I don't know squat about ceramics, but, the "Cherry/Strawberry Wine"
sounds delicous.

08-06-2011, 02:43 PM
I remember as a kid that my dad painted the inside of a cement culvert with a product called liquid glass. It was clear and hard so he used it to waterproof the culvert for a cistern. I just googled it and it is still out there.

08-06-2011, 04:16 PM
I believe that liquid glass is sodium silicate. also known as "waterglass".

flyin lizard
08-06-2011, 05:42 PM
Just a thought , what about breaking it cleanly and then repairing with an epoxy product?

08-06-2011, 09:42 PM
Breaking it open and repairing is not a good idea for something to use. For art or show as an antique that might work but leaving it the way it is would work for that as well.

Those old stoneware crocks were usually "Salt glazed". After being heated for several hours in a kiln to over 2000degrees salt is thrown into the kiln where it reacts with the silica in the clay and creates a glass like finish.

Unless it is stressed by pressure or heat or rapid temperature changes it will probably be just fine. Sealing the inside with a food grade epoxy or silicon rubber product is your best bet. You could use a windshield repair kit to seal and strengthen the body from the outside after sealing the inside.

Waterglass is sodium silicate mixed with sodium hydroxide(drain cleaner!) It hardens and creates a temporary coating. I'd stay away from that especially since you will be using acidic organics in the crock, like fruit juices.