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I have used a wheel only in pottery classes and am interested in buying one for use at home. In class I have always used the Brent CXC, which is wonderful, but I know it is expensive. One local shop suggested the Shimpo VL Lite wheel, and another local shop the Pacifica GT400. I am a small person in my 60s, a hobbyist. I will never want to center large amounts of clay at once. I would likely use it no more than two or three hours in a day and a few days a week. Whatever I get, I will raise so that I can throw standing. What advice would you give me?
Hi, I'm a beginner potter who has quickly realized, taking a couple hours of lessons a week will yield a couple of pots but is not going to cut it for obtaining the skill of throwing on a wheel. My husband also wants to learn, but I'm "testing the waters" this summer while he's off thru hiking the Appalachian Trail( 2190 miles in 5 months). So I'm looking for a wheel to use at home. I'm more interested in quality and functionality than price. From looking at the want ads, seems I would have no trouble selling a quality wheel if this doesn't work out. Seems there are lots of options in the thousand dollar...ish or less price point that should suffice for home wheel. The challenge I'm finding is there doesn't seem to be a way of determining quality from looking at specs, and specs provided seem to differ not only across brands but across models within a brand. I'm hoping some folks on this blog may have experience with some of the wheels or be able to shed some light on confusing points. I'm currently looking at three brands. Clayboss, Shimpo and Brent. I've been to a show room and seem them run, heard the motor noise at different speeds, etc., but couldn't get a sews to some of my questions. The lessons I've had were on a Shimpo Whisper and everyone has warned how loud the other brands were compared to the whisper. Frankly, none of them are loud in my opinion. What I think is important to me....in no particular order. -strong motor that won't tire or slow down if stressed with longevity. (I have no idea how to gauge this from specs. ) -low maintenance - not too heavy. I'd also like to keep wheel weight under 100lbs so my husband and I can move to a warmer spot in winter months. -reversing wheel head - foot pedal with good control and response - like the free spinning head feature for trimming or glazing, but could always use a banding wheel instead. - height adjustability (?) I'm 5' tall and frankly, have trouble supporting the clay as my legs don't clear the height of the splash pan, even with my feet up on blocks. My husband is 6'. Some models have adjustable legs down to 13" for table top use, which may work for me in terms of adjusting from 13" up to find the right height for me. I've also heard some folks find standing while throwing to be a good change if you have back issues (I have knee and back issues). I'm bit concerned about Clayboss. The wheel head is made out of a poly/plastic material which just looks like it would be a pain to clean. Or you'd have to use bats all the time. They have three models all well under a thousand dollars. Claim to have industrial motors. One has 1/2hp, the others 1hp and all can center 100lb (or more) of clay. Seems too good to be true. When I look at the want ads, I don't see anyone specifically looking for a Clayboss. I do see folks looking for Brent. Shimpo whisper is what I've learned on but it centers 100lbs with its 1/2 hp, 400w motor. The VL Lite can only center 25lbs with its 1/2 hp, 100w motor. Not that I'm likely to exceed that, but how is it this 1/2hp motor is so different than Clayboss which can handle 100lbs of clay. Brent is where I get really confused. They are more expensive than the other brands, which is ok, if I'm getting more quality....I just don't know if I am. Does anyone work with these models. Or is it the larger brents that's folks are so impressed with? The IE, 1/4hp and IE-X, 1/3hp seem like reasonable models. Brent states they can continuously handle 75lbs and 100lbs of clay,,respectively. Is "continuously handle" the same as centering? Not sure why they don't use the same terminology as other brands. On some retail sites, I've seen advertisement that they center 25lbs so not sure what to believe. Should I be concerned with a 1/4hp or 1/3hp wheel. Is there more value in. 1/2 hp wheel even if not a Brent? They also have adjustable legs as low as 13". But the legs adjust with tension screws and an "L" wrench, so not something easy to change between users. And the floor model I saw didn't have the screws in it so it was very wobbly. Do these wobble with the screws installed too or have folks found this feature us no so favorable and worked out other solutions or bought models that don't have adjustable legs, which seemed very solid. Now, I cant imagine centering 25lbs of clay, but is this centering spec a sign of motor power or quality and thus has some value ....thus, worth paying more for a wheel that can center more? How do you know what wheels have good start up power versus good load bearing power. What are the pros and cons of direct drive vs belt driven motors when it comes to wheels? I'd rather take time to research and get the right wheel that will last for years then just buy the wheel with the best price. Any input is appreciated. Thanks! Sent from my iPad