This is a great post and should be saved by folks for future reference.
I've found that firing them just causes them to hold together far too long when submerged. A year later, I've found them when cleaning out tanks where they're still nearly hard as a rock.
I tend to do this when I don't have any gelcaps for use and I think it works waaaay better. It's always way more fun making little balls, as well.
I've found that it's a good idea to keep a few wet paper towels handy when making things. Usually use them to temporarily store chunks of clay while working with other chunks. That way it's moist when you go to shape things.
Always best to spread out some newspaper or an old sheet in the floor, plop down all your stuff and start a DVR marathon or watch a movie. It's surprising how many little fert balls you can make in a couple hours.