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  1. I use kitchen, garage, and sewing room tools all the time. One of my faves is a seam ripper to do precise trimming with. I use a coping saw with wire replacing the blade to cut clay from the pug mill. Dental floss is great for clay cut off, turkey baster to skim terrasigillata, don't even get me started on texture stuff! A large crochet hook turned toward a pot will make WONDERFUL lines without risking a cut through. Tracing wheels are great for texture, marking, and slab work. Sewing stores have wonderful color wheels and measuring wheels for faceting measurements. So many toys, so little time.......
  2. Have you tried these things: 1) Don't clean them in the studio. Everything, regardless of how tidy you keep it, is covered with dust. Even your eyeballs! You can certainly rinse them in the studio, but your cleaning cloth is dusty even if you can't see it. Leave the studio for a dust free area, then clean them and shake off as much water as possible before drying with an absolutely dust free cloth. 2) Wear a set of "coveralls" over your prescription eyewear. This will keep the grittier stuff from pinging off of your lenses. The microscopic particles are wearing away at your lenses every time you are trimming dry clay etc. I have had lazik done on my eyes, and still wear protective glasses over my eyes to prevent splashing and excess dust from getting in my eyes. The ones I use are for people who do target practice with guns. They would easily fit over prescription lenses. 3) There is a silicone cleaner that helps hide the scratches so they last longer. 4) Keep an almost hopeless pair for studio use only.
  3. DO NOT use superglue for firing. Superglue is cynaoacetate - and the 'cyano' part is cyanide. At some point, far below glaze curing temp, superglue will degrade producing (a small amount of) cyanide gas. The amount may be small but highly toxic. Superglue is fine if the pieces are not to be fired. Alternatives: common hide/hoof glue (Elmer's, etc.) when dry will accept glaze & burn off w/o bubbling or toxicity. or Glaze dish. Dot dish bottom with additional glaze where feet are to attach. Apply feet while glaze pools are wet. This will be fragile, but have enough bond to keep it together through drying & moving to kiln. In either method, the weight of the dish must rest on the feet during firing. D If they are able to manage the dexterity required, try making some "glue" out of the clay. Mix it about 2 parts clay with 1 part water (or until the consistency of regular school glue) Scratch a spot where the feet will attach, then stick them on with your "clay glue" . The scratching will allow the glue to get better adhesion and is how most potters make attachments.
  4. Bisque Distorting Pot

    I have had mixed results with distortion. In the interest of saving space, I pack it in, except for plates. I really baby them so they sit nice and flat. After having a special piece warp, I glazed it anyway and put it in the hight temp firing with great results! The warped bottom reformed itself into the original shape, and I got a flat bottom out of it. Was not so lucky every time, but worth a shot!
  5. Extruder?

    I have a Big Blue and a much smaller one I got on ebay from a fellow in Canada that has a long arm on it that barely clears the ceiling. ( my studio is in a single car garage and low clearance ceiling) When I have tried to extrude very firm clay in it, I have put almost all of my weight on it only to break the arm at the attachment. After having it welded/repaired, I am much more careful to use moister clay now. It could easily wear away at the wall mounting, so I have it firmly mounted onto the 2x6 wall studs, by way of 2 2x12s joined together then mounted on the wall spanning at least 2 of the wall studs. It makes a nice 24 inch square mounting area, with lots of room for hooks holding cut off wires, tools, and dies around it. The advantage of the smaller extruder is that it's easier to do smaller projects, but I really like the wagon wheel type handle on the other one because you don't need so much pressure to extrude. There are lots of types out there, so choose according to how you will use it. If only for handles, handheld is a good choice. For slabs, bigger is best.