Can I drink out of this mug?
October 25, 2018 10:40 AM   Subscribe

Handmade mug with crack in it. Drinking mug or future pencil holder?

I took a pottery course and made myself an oversized mug, as one does. The mug got fired, then I painted it with glaze. Then it got dipped in clear glaze (not by me) and re-fired.

Today I picked it up and took it home. Washed it, noticed a crack in it. It's a tiny crack - about 1cm long if that; but as I washed the mug, I noticed water ran down it and, it looked like, down two minuscule hairline cracks that are under / inside the glaze.

So, my question is simple: can I drink out of this mug without damaging either the mug or myself, or should I relegate it to being a pencil holder? If it makes any difference, the crack is not on the side I'd be drinking from, and I'd be drinking either tea, or milk with instant coffee from it.

Bonus question: is this an issue that could be solved with a second dip-into-clear-glaze-and-fire?
posted by sailoreagle to Grab Bag (4 answers total)
Best answer: I once asked a potter about a similar crack in a mug I loved. They said that the crack made it no longer food-safe, since bacteria can grow in the crack and under the glaze. They suggested I use it as a pencil cup or pot for a small plant.

Reader, I defied that potter. I really liked that mug! I drank out of it until I moved and lost it, and it did not kill me. I don't think I would have put milk in it, though.
posted by ourobouros at 11:38 AM on October 25, 2018 [4 favorites]

Having had a cracked mug fall apart from the shock of pouring hot water into it, I no longer gamble on cracks. YMMV
posted by Dr. Twist at 11:48 AM on October 25, 2018 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Yes, you should be able to address the crack - at least for some time - by reglazing and refiring the mug. That will essentially re-seal it.
posted by urbanlenny at 12:10 PM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

I also have a cracked mug that I keep using. Only for coffee and if the coffee stains already in the mug don't kill me, whatever could live in the crack won't either. Every week or so it gets a good wash with a bit of bleach to de-stain (or keep bad things at bay). To me it would depend more on the material under the glaze and whether it leeches something bad. But if you can re-glaze and re-fire... go for it, that gives it some wabi-sabi. Cracks are character.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:31 PM on October 27, 2018

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