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Chris Campbell

Table Top Slab Roller

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I am thinking of buying a table top slab roller and wondered which one would suit my needs.

I want it heavy enough that it stays put on the table but light enough to take with me when I teach workshops.

I need a two roller system, not one roller that the clay gets pushed under.

Opinions welcomed and thanks in advance.

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I have read on this forum before that North Stars are not as popular as some, however, that is what I have.  Very easy to pack up and take with me.  Has been very sturdy at least to this point and I have had it 3 years.  I use my slab roller A LOT.  It is an 18 inch wide roller.  If I had to do it again, I would go up the next size.  I didn't realize where a slab roller would take me.  And yes, it is a double roller.

 

Roberta

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Curious as to the purpose of a two roller?

 

I have the one roller Bailey table top and love it. It stays put on the table but is easy/light enough to place elsewhere. For my use, I run the clay forward, and then backward. Sometimes I turn the slab sideways for a 3rd pass, depending on what I'm doing with it. 

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The two rollers are needed for blending colored clay using the Skinner method ... the rolling pressure has to come from both sides for the colors to blend together to create secondary colors. I don't know why this is, just know it is.

 

http://ccpottery.com/skinner-blends.html

 

The Bailey appears to have only one roller that moves across shims ... I need two rollers.

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Two rollers, like one on top and one on the bottom?

 

That's what the bailey roller I use has. Am I missing something?

 

https://www.baileypottery.com/Bailey-Pottery/Product-Details/%2016ch-Mini-Might-II-Table-Roller-M400004

 

Heck, if you were closer I'd tell to stop by to try it out.

That image does not show a bottom roller ... or am I missing something obvious? All it shows is a top roller and the board??

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I have that Bailey, and it is a 2-roller machine. However, Chris is correct that only one roller "rolls" the clay. The bottom roller merely propels the shim board forward. Only the top roller contacts the clay mass (through the canvas) and presses it thinner.

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Two rollers, like one on top and one on the bottom?

 

That's what the bailey roller I use has. Am I missing something?

 

https://www.baileypottery.com/Bailey-Pottery/Product-Details/%2016ch-Mini-Might-II-Table-Roller-M400004

 

Heck, if you were closer I'd tell to stop by to try it out.

That image does not show a bottom roller ... or am I missing something obvious? All it shows is a top roller and the board??

 

 

 

Mini16%20BeigeRollersHANDLE.jpg?ver=2015

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I have that Bailey, and it is a 2-roller machine. However, Chris is correct that only one roller "rolls" the clay. The bottom roller merely propels the shim board forward. Only the top roller contacts the clay mass (through the canvas) and presses it thinner.

THANKS ... that does clear it up ... the Skinner process takes a lot longer with only one roller and the results are not nearly as good.

Might have a closer look at the North Star which appears to have two rollers contacting the clay.

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chris, if the tabletop NORTHSTAR  version works the same way as the freestanding one, both rollers work.  in fact, because it does a very poor job of reducing the thickness of the clay that is going into the rollers, sometimes the bottom printers blanket will continue through the rollers while the top one is stuck.  i try very hard to compensate for this shortcoming by reducing the size of the piece of clay I FEED INTO THE NORTHSTAR but it is so annoyingly inadequate compared to my bailey or any other bailey i have ever used.

 

so, if your input is almost the thickness of what you want, go ahead and get the northstar.

 

before you do, ask pugaboo about her brand.  she has a freestanding one that looks very like the northstar but is not.  maybe they make a tabletop version.  i suggest this because she is also in the southeast and it is made fairly local to her home.

Edited by oldlady

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chris, if the tabletop version works the same way as the freestanding one, both rollers work.  in fact, because it does a very poor job of reducing the thickness of the clay that is going into the rollers, sometimes the bottom printers blanket will continue through the rollers while the top one is stuck.  i try very hard to compensate for this shortcoming by reducing the size of the piece of clay but it is so annoyingly inadequate compared to my bailey or any other bailey i have ever used.

With the tabletop Bailey, yes both rollers work. But they are not an adjustable distance apart. To vary the thickness of the slab, one must use a masonite shim board. The shim board rests on the bottom roller, which pushes the shim board through while the top roller squishes the clay flat against the shim board as it passes underneath the roller. This is unlike the standalone big Bailey, which has two rollers with variable distance between them, and the clay is compressed between the two rollers.

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THANKS to all for their input ... I think the Northstar is the one I need and I think I have used it before but not sure.

Thinking of selling my big Bailey floor model and switching ... but it is so hard to give up an old friend I have had forever.

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Hi Chris

When you were here for a workshop we had three slab rollers, all Northstar. Two were table top models, they worked well.

I'm thinking of selling my large slab roller and replacing it with a tabletop model. The two table top models were sold to students in the class, they are still using them and are very pleased with them.

Annabelle

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In my classroom we have a Northstar. What I like about it is the tables on either side remove very easily, they even have handles, so you have access to that work surface space when the slab roller is not in use. It's not heavy, so you can just slide it over out of the way. What's irritating is the two tables add an extra 80 dollars or so to the price, a lot for two chunks of wood with formica on top. And if you want their heavy canvas, it's another $30ish I think. Once again, a load of money for two chunks of canvas. I don't know why heavy canvas is so expensive and so hard to find. It is a really useful item around the studio.

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Which slab roller did you end up going with? I am looking for a good one in the $400-500 price range. I am embarking on a new journey and I have a real need for a lot of slabs and precision in the things I am going to be doing and working on. 

I haven't decided which to get. I think a slab roller that is a complete table is going to be out of my price range unless I could find a used one, and I looked and couldn't in my area. 

I don't want to fool with shims or any other randomness. I would like a good product that is reliable and that can make a decent sized slab. I don't need anything huge. 16-18 inches will be plenty wide. 

The best option that I have found seems to be the http://www.clay-king.com/clay_slab_rollers/northstar_portaroller.html

It is in the price range I was talking about and that is shipped. Is that the one you ended up going with @Chris Campbell? 

What are slab mats? Is there any thing else I need to get to go with it? 

 

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joseph, hope you enjoy your slab roller but may i suggest that you find a single long piece of canvas, bailey sells it, or use two printers blankets.  they are heavier and will allow you more flexibility in placement.  the long canvas gets folded and the fold is fed into the rollers each time it is used.  you might even try to make a drive board with canvas attached like the big bailey table styles.  

check out as many videos showing various slab rollers as they are being used so you can see how they all work.  a pm with a phone number might be of benefit.

maybe chris is ready to sell her bailey, she hasn't answered yet.

Edited by oldlady
add sentence.
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I am up for any recommendations. I don't need really large slabs. But I dont want a hunk of junk either. Using shims and stuff just sounds so bleh. That is why the Northstar model was so appealing because it's affordable and seems well built. I will look into the slab mat things anything to make the overall process easier. I have never used a slab roller before so I have no idea what I am buying really. So any and all advice is welcome.

I will look into all of the different brands today.

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