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glazenerd

Supplies To Buy When Buying A First Wheel?

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glazenerd    816

While on the topic of wheel heads- hence wheels. My planned purchase of a small Aspire wheel will be put on hold until September: just do not have the time to go fetch it this month.

1. Number of batts to get started?

2. Tools to get started. (price does not concern me: rather have quality that lasts.)

3. Ribs? wood, plastic, or metal?  Curvature seems to play a role I noticed.

by the way: the stainless steel tools that Hsin guy on YouTube uses seem to fit my hands. Ole farm boy, with bear claw hands.

 

Yes I realize it is a small wheel, but good enough to cut my teeth on. Have watched enough videos on centering to choke a horse: seems to be the stumbling block.

 

Nerd

 

Andrea- TY for letting me tag along on your topic.

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Pres    896

Nerd,

I split your post to a separate topic so that search engines could find it more easily in the future.

 

As to the wheel and materials you are looking at, I would consider your wheel first, as it uses a specific small bat that can not be found by other manufacturers. Tools are a matter of taste, and basic tool set from Michaels or else where will work for beginners on the wheel. As you get more experience, tools will become a matter of need for specific purpose: curved tools for bowls, straight ribs for scraping, different materials for different types of surface smoothness, trimming tools as desired, hook or loop. Lots of things here are all personal preference. As you go, you will  find that some of the best tools are those that you re-purpose and modify  specifically for what you need.

 

 

best,

PRes

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

I got one at NCECA last year through Mudgirls in Louisville. They sell small bats for the Aspire. I got 1/2 dz. Plus I got a diamond grinding pad with adhesive backing and attached it to one of the 2 plastic bats that comes with the wheel. the wheel head pins are set at a different measurement than a regular wheel head.

 

You can get a basic set of tools from most suppliers.

 

Marcia

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What?    83

You won't need much other than what has been said to begin. A couple of the nicer trim tools are good for down the road. I have bought most of the tools out there and they did not make me a better potter faster. You will have to put in the hours. Centering is the key. I will watch students make pots for months and struggle and struggle and I suggest work on centering. To prove this I will center several bats with clay and have them make a few pieces and compare them to their other forms. They actually surprise themselves and me as well most of the time. The type of clay you chose to use will also be a big factor. I would suggest a stoneware of some sort or some type of sanded clay. More than likely you will spend a lot more effort and water on the clay and if you are using a soft porcelain you may be discouraged easier. I would strongly emphasize using a rib of some sort to smooth and remove water and excess slip from forms as you progress(I absolutely love the bendy metal rib). Ribs are essential in throwing larger forms the sooner you master the rib the better. You will want a smooth finish for those great glazes of yours. Invite a good potter over. If I lived near you I would beg to come over and throw forms and have you glaze and fire them. But I love the look of crystalline glaze. Good luck.

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GEP    863

All throwers need sponges, towels, and buckets. All other tools are a matter of personal preference. I suspect many throwers, including me, own lots of tools we never use. You don't know until you've tried it. Then you settle on a small number of favorites.

 

I would start with three trimming tools, in various sizes and shapes. And maybe five ribs, in various sizes shapes and materials. I would also get a needle tool, calipers, and a cutoff wire.

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Min    783

@Nerd, may I ask what your goal is? Trying out your experimental plastic porcelain recipes to test them on the wheel, just learning to throw or plans to make a lot of pots or......? (just curious)

 

+1 for what has already been said and a recommendation for the Sherrill silicone ribs.

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

true. Nerd, if you want a smooth surface for your crystalline glazes, the red Merrill ribs are the most flexible for smoothing the surface. OR the very thin metal ribs work well too.

 

I use a 1" x 4-5" piece of chamois for smoothing the lips.

I prefer a quart size plastic container for water and the "craft" sponges which are circular 3" diameter and 1" thick.

 

Marcia

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Joseph F    865

Glad your getting into throwing, its a relaxing thing to do once you accept it is going to take time.

 

 

I am going to probably be against the grain here but,  I would actually advise against getting a lot of tools. Just get one rib, one wooden knife, and some fishing line or wire to cut pots in half/off bat.

 

I have so many tools that I bought that I thought would have been a great help, when in reality, I use 3 tools and nothing else now. The rest of the tools sit in a box.

 

1: a wooden knife, for trimming around the base while throwing / adding marks in my pots. / https://img0.etsystatic.com/000/0/5648428/il_570xN.238958328.jpg

 

2: a rib : http://www.mudtools.com/product/shape-2-polymer-ribs/?v=7516fd43adaa-i use the yellow color, but if I was starting I would probably go with green. I like this rib the best, it has 3 points, a sharp corner, a dulled corner and a big sloping corner. It also has a flat side long, a flat side short, and a rounded side. I can make this rib do basically anything I need, smooth walls, make nice curves in bowls, etc etc. 

 

3: a cows tongue (gyubera).  I use this in so many ways I can't even describe it. The most useful thing I do with it is to smooth the bottoms of my cylinders and to align the bases of my pots so no cracks if I choose to dry them quickly. I also use it as a giant rib when throwing tall vertical forms.

 

3.5: a nice sponge. I say .5 on this one. I dont really use my sponge anymore. I just don't throw that wet that it is needed. Either way just get one really good sponge and it will last you for a few years. I spent like 8 bucks on mine and I still have it after 2 years and it shows no signs of tearing up. Course, like I said I dont use it a lot anymore

 

As far as bats and all the rest goes, just get a few of each type, you will find the one you like and stick with it forever. You won't need a lot of bats when your learning because most of the stuff your going to cut in half anyways. Maybe keep one pot a day just to compare to the next days ending pot. 

 

For trimming tools just get the do-it-all tool by mud tools. It will get you by until you know enough about how you want to trim and what tools you want to use, then get a bison trimming tool. I love the bison tools because I can trim so aggressively. Most videos I see people pulling off little tiny amounts of clay with their dull tools. The bison tools I can rip off clay so fast, it's so worth the 70 dollars for the tool. 

 

A chamois if you want to smooth your rims with it, you can just get this at walmart in a huge pack that will last you forever. If your throwing with a gritty stoneware, then dont use a chamois use a piece of plastic to smooth your rims, or do it like I do and thumb smooth manually after you trim them. Takes more time, but works way better and looks better imo.

 

Other than that I don't think you need anything else to get started. The less the better, focus on using your hands to get the results.

 

Good luck and post videos of your throwing! 

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Denice    243

Make sure you needle tool has a metal handle it is more durable and not a flimsy as the wood handled one.  I like having a variety of shapes and sizes of ribs (metal and silicone).  My favorite cut off wire is one from China they have larger wooden handles and don't break as easily.   Denice

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Joseph F    865

Lots of needle tool users here. What do people use that thing for? All I ever did with it was add blood to my pots. Not to hijack as it is useful for Nerd to know as well, just curious what good is that darn needle finger poking tool.

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GEP    863

Lots of needle tool users here. What do people use that thing for? All I ever did with it was add blood to my pots. Not to hijack as it is useful for Nerd to know as well, just curious what good is that darn needle finger poking tool.

For measuring the thickness of the pot's floor. And for leveling off a rim.

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Pres    896

. . . . . check the thickness of bottoms and other walls on bowls etc before trimming.

 

 

best,

Pres

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What?    83

Needle tool is good for the occasional air bubble in the floor and walls of the pot so long as the clay is thick enough. Only when making closed forms do I need to level a rim anymore. Good centering and compressing the rim after a pull improves that tremendously. +Plus one for the chamois.

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Joseph F    865

Ah i forgot about checking thickness of bottoms. It's been so long since I had to do this. Good point. Get a needle tool!

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

If you'll be sitting, an apron is a good idea to keep your lap dry. Put a mirror opposite your seat saves you from getting up to see the form. If you'll be doing more closed forms, a sponge on a stick is useful for removing the water once your hand no longer fits.

Marcia

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Pres    896

I have gone the route of an old towel on my lap when throwing, and tucked into the belt when pulling handles.

 

 

 

 

best,

Pres

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glazenerd    816

Pres: I understand the reason.   I "repurpose" many things", so I get that insight.

Marcia: only someone who has fired crystalline would know about grinding pads- already on my list... 6 batts  check!

What: knew ribs were used to smooth and trim: did not know they removed excess water.. ty    check!!

GEP: have 2 trimming tools now and wire  just so small for my big hands. Needle tool (depth checker)... check!!

Min: silicone ribs caught my eye.  More specifics please in use?  At some point, experimental clay yes.

marcia: Merrill ribs?  Link please.

Joseph: specific kind of sponges?  on my list, but specifics please?

Denice: pretty sure my cut off wire is on the large side. Multiple ribs seems to be a theme.  check!!

What: know about air bubles, get them in tile rarely. Needle tool = popper.. check!!

Marcia: have two aprons.. sponge on I stick.. seen that on a video.. check!!

 

My plan at the moment is to get 100lbs of ^6 stoneware: not foolish enough to start with porcelain. Spend 2-4 weeks just centering, that seems to be throwing uno rule. Then pull up short walls, without trying to obtain shapes. So if 100 lbs ends up in the trash, so be it: cheaper than going to college.

Min has read too many of my posts: at some point experimental clay will end up on the wheel. I broke a piece open the other day: very nice opalescent glassy/glossy vitreous beautiful chunk of refined dirt.   I have very reasonable expectations: it will take some time. Appreciate the input, very kind of you all.

 

Nerd

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bciskepottery    925

Try an experiment . . . go tool-less. Just like the first potters. As you make things, you will either find a work-around or a genuine need for a specialized tool. Wheel, plastic bucket for throwing water, towel, and an old, out of date credit card/hotel card that can be used as a flexible rib. For a rigid rib, an old CD works fine (almost makes you miss the days of AOL). Paleo-pottery. Be a trend setter.

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

Nerd,

http://www.mudtools.com/?v=7516fd43adaa

my dyslexic brain contracted Michael Sherrill to Merrill which are my favorite work shoes for standing on concrete.

 

A hair dryer helps throw thinner and taller. I always taught students to throw cylinders first because most beginning pots end up as plates or bowls.

 

 

Marcia

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glazenerd    816

Bruce: like the way you think.

Marcia: TY

 

See if my thinking is right:

 

Convex shaped ribs are for shoulders, and concave ribs for necks? The sharpness of curve equals sharpness of shoulder or neck? Then it becomes a matter of soft, medium, or rigid. Soft pushes less, and hard pushes more?  Same thing with sponges, noticed they were rated absorbency and use. "Absorption" sponge for wicking up water, pushing up walls ( if you prefer using a sponge). Then a finishing sponge for smoothing finish before trimming?

 

Was thinking Xiem tools at this point for one reason: I have those small wood handle beginner tools and they make my hand cramp because they are so small. I am use to using tools: so I get the "feel the tool" idea. Like Bruce said, I can also add I as I go. Also know tungsten carbide will keep its edge for very long periods.

 

I did not notice any adjustable depth needle tool? I would assume the base is one thickness, sidewalls another? By the way, normal sidewall thickness?

I also like the Dolan tools for the same reason, large enough for my hands. My thumb is bigger than some of the trim tools I see. Realize they are more expensive, but if I only have to buy them once- that works for me.

 

More thoughts?

Nerd

 

Bruce: by the way, I have sheets of aluminum that I can cut and shape as I please- had that same thought. 

Marcia: I have a 7500 watt "hair dryer"---evil grin :)

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Joseph F    865

Nerd,

 

As far as the trimming tools hurting your hands, that is why I like getting the Bison ones. He actually asked me what size glove I wore so that he could make the handle fit my hand. I have to say it was nice. I trim for hours sometimes with no hand cramps.

 

Once you figure out the shape you like, spend the money and get the good trim tools. I have 2, and I am debating ordering another one.

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oldlady    1,323

there is one other thing not mentioned yet.  if you are truly a beginner, get a copy of the very old book "Pottery Workshop" by charles counts.  he will take you right from short cylinders to lidded jars, bowls and lots of stuff.  there is good info in the words he uses and the reasons to work from short cylinders up.  the angles, the vocabulary and the methods are well thought out.  if you cannot go to classes, you can be home schooled.

 

it would be very hard for you to start with only one pound of clay as he suggests but try a short cylinder first.

 

do not forget the mirror.  save your back.  and, this is the time to start forming good cleaning habits.  if it only takes a second to clean it up, do it now.  don't start out with muddy tools tossed all over.  find a place for things and learn to return them right after use.  makes life easier.

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Pugaboo    438

I'm fairly new to throwing about 3 years so here is what I figured out. I got some of those hardwood bats for my wheel used them a few times but they seemed so big for the size things I was making so never really used them, used the cheap plastic bats at the art center HATED them, they were warped and wobbled. I bought a Wonderbat system with the square inserts... LOVE IT. Like it so much ordered extra bats so I could make and set aside piece after piece. You have to remember though most of my stuff is fairly small since I do a lot of shipping if you do big a system like this might not work for you.

 

Tools:

The wooden knife, as mentioned by others

A wire, bought or made whichever you prefer

Pin tool, to check bottoms until you get to where you "know" I've never actually used it for anything else it's too thick for cutting while hand building.

Sponge, you start out throwing too wet then use less water but I have a problem with my fingers locking and such so I use the sponge between my fingers and the pot to help control those unruly movements.

A rubber rib, experiment with a red, yellow and green and see which suits your style. They won't be wasted since I found I use them even more for hand building.

I bought chamois but ended up liking a piece of plastic better.

Trimming tools sad to say I am still using the cheapy starter set, they work just not as nice as a Bison.

As for an apron... When you start you might want a sheet of plastic! Seriously I was scraping clay of walls, dogs, and myself when I would inadvertently let things fly. I always wear an apron in the studio but have found a workshop hand towel over each thigh actually works better for the wheel.

 

Now the import at thing that made centering click for me. When you have your clay ball on your bat and you start centering, you look down at it and try and push or pull it with your hands to where your eyes tell you center is. DON'T. Instead put your hands on the clay in position to center then close your eyes, the clay will "tell" you where center is. I learned this trying to learn centering on the art centers wobbly bats. Once I closed my eyes and listened to the clay I knew what it wanted me to do to center it.

 

Other than all of that just be patient and it will come you can't be tense and throw or at least I can't for me it's a lot like meditating you center yourself as well as the clay. Watching someone that knows how to throw makes it look soooo easy and then when you start you try and do what they did and it all goes wonky... Again and again and again and again. You are scientific so think of it as cause and affect. If you push here it's going to make something happen there if you pull here something is going to happen down there, etc. Learning to throw will also improve your wedging skills since you will mess up lots wedge and try again.

 

Good luck I can hardly wait to see your fabulous glazes on pots you've thrown!

 

T

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