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Portable Slab Roller Purchase

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Any advice on purchasing a portable slab roller?  My space is extremely limited.  What do I need to be aware of or watch out for?   I'm a newbie and really don't know what I should be aware of - I'm just really sick of my rolling pin!  I'm a senior person so not especially strong.  I haven't invested very much time yet in the research but, both of the following strike me as interesting and within my budget:

 

http://www.clay-king.com/clay_slab_rollers/shimpo_mini_slab_roller.html

https://www.etsy.com/listing/449252632/clay-slab-roller-pottery-tool-heavy-duty?

 

This forum is SO helpful.  Thank you, in advance, for anyone's time!

 

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I think it purely depends on what you need it for. If you do primarily slab work, are either of these large enough?

I use my slab roller for large slabs. It helps make good ones that don't warp.

So really, your needs are the determining factor.

 

Marcia

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Thank you!  I don't need particularly large.  I am seeking other factors that might come into play.  I feel unsure about things I might not know enough to be considering.  At this point - until someone else suggests other considerations - I am looking for

EASE OF USE (establishing thickness, hard to crank? what else - I don't know),

reliability,

what does "no shim slab roller" mean and how important is that?

people's experience with brands, 

is there a possible issue with the roller not being heavy enough and you end up fighting machine movement while you're rolling?

etc

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Shims are masonite boards the same size as the roller bed that you insert to set the thickness of the slab, by adding more or taking some away. I have a Bailey table top, whch has 4 boards, and I love it (I am 70 and have many "structural" issues wth forearm strength, wrists,spine etc. and the slab roller does help compared to the rolling pin. Having read the description of the one commented on by Sallieg T, I have to say that being able to adjust thickness without shims sounds lovely, and the price is essentially the same.  

 

post-63409-0-89599700-1496455257_thumb.jpg

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When I use the North Star, often the clay seems to get stuck under the main roller, and the canvas and clay start to go down onto the lower roller, and get stuck in there. It is a real pain. I flip my clay every increment, so it isnt stuck to the canvas. I don't know what it is.

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I have the Bailey too and to get around the 1/8" increments I also use a 1/16" sheet of chipboard that I place between the masonite boards.There is material available for 1/32" increments bet we haven't found a need for that yet. We don't use it a lot but it comes in handy when we need it.

 

And yes, adjusting thickness without shims might be better if you want to go the extra $200 for the Shimpo

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Thank you!  I don't need particularly large.  I am seeking other factors that might come into play.  I feel unsure about things I might not know enough to be considering.  At this point - until someone else suggests other considerations - I am looking for

EASE OF USE (establishing thickness, hard to crank? what else - I don't know),

reliability,

what does "no shim slab roller" mean and how important is that?

people's experience with brands, 

is there a possible issue with the roller not being heavy enough and you end up fighting machine movement while you're rolling?

etc

shims are used to adjust the thickness and roll through the slab roller. This is used where the rollers themselves do not adjust for the thickness. I prefer dual rollers that can be adjusted. I like Bailey equipment. My 36" wide is adjustable and gear driven. Brent slab rollers had cables which frayed and needed to be replaced regularly in my classroom. The older Northstar had plastic gears which when abused by students could break. They have improved.

Marcia

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where are you?  what kind of slab roller have you actually seen?  it is really hard to start out on your own without any frame of reference.  there are so many choices these days that it is scary.  what do you plan to do with the slabs you make?

 

with more info from you, the answers you get may be more useful.

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Brent rollers with the cables had to be taken care of meticulously, heavy spray greasing every Summer and monthly checking/adjusting  of the cables for tension. Love them or hate them, they worked well, but were problematic.

 

 

best,

Pres

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When I use the North Star, often the clay seems to get stuck under the main roller, and the canvas and clay start to go down onto the lower roller, and get stuck in there. It is a real pain. I flip my clay every increment, so it isnt stuck to the canvas. I don't know what it is.

 

I use Slabmats (one on top; one on bottom); I place the clay on the mat back far enough so that I can feed the front couple inches through the rollers to start.  I do not canvass in the studio as it collects/retains dust.

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Pres, how do you know if the tension needs to be adjusted on the Brent? I have one I bought used and have only ended up using it a few times. The wires seem *very* tight! After reading your post, I think I definitely need to grease them. Turning the is harder crank is harder than it seems like it should be. Is WD 40 a good option for this?

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I like my North Star portable.  Old Lady converted me to printer's blankets, so that is what I use.  However I use the canvas for one specific thing where I want the canvas texture.  Slab mats are great also.  I have an 16 inch wide and wish I had have gotten the wider one.  I had no idea at the time I would use the slab roller as much as I have.  the only time I have an issue with the clay going down to the rollers or getting caught is when I try to go too thin too quickly, or if my blankets have started getting damp, making things stick. 

Roberta

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Pres, how do you know if the tension needs to be adjusted on the Brent? I have one I bought used and have only ended up using it a few times. The wires seem *very* tight! After reading your post, I think I definitely need to grease them. Turning the is harder crank is harder than it seems like it should be. Is WD 40 a good option for this?

TB,

I am now retired, so this is from memory. However, the tightness was a twang if played like a guitar string that was low pitch, kind of a twungggggg not a twang or a twing. . . . make sense? At the same time there is a spray cable grease available that is needed  for the pray. This is thicker than WD-40, dark, and I recommend you put newspaper on the floor underneath, with all of the canvas and shims set far away. you can spray from the top, and angle side to side to get most of it covered evenly, then roll the rollers up and down to check for an even coat. Then clean up excess that may have gotten on rails or on the pulleys, as this will cause it to slip if not right.

Also check the adjustments on the cable pulleys as well.  Good luck with it, we used it for over 30 years and had lots of use out of it. It was the on with the optional legs SF-14 I think.

 

 

best,

Pres 

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to anyone using a slab roller.  it is much easier to use a single v e r y l o n g piece of canvas with a fold in the middle.  using two pieces just invites the rollers to grab the bottom piece and chew it up.  bailey sells them in 8 foot lengths, do not know width except mine, 24 and the big one, 36.

 

roberta, you are not supposed to get the fabric wet. <_<  and, going thin too quickly says it is not a bailey.  though i do not know anything about portable slab rollers.

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The Brent cables need grease

You can buy it in a spray can or get the d fashion kind and use a gloves hand

The cables should be tight as they stretch

They are a pain in the neck as I have worked on many of them

My electric bailey has gears no cables it's a joy

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The one on Etsy is chain driven, so no cables to fray or grease.  The gear is steel, so nothing to wear out.  There is also a video posted on the item on Etsy.

 

What happened to the link you posted? Do you or your husband make / sell these? I noticed in a review a comment about "Sallie" answering questions.

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Pres, how do you know if the tension needs to be adjusted on the Brent? I have one I bought used and have only ended up using it a few times. The wires seem *very* tight! After reading your post, I think I definitely need to grease them. Turning the is harder crank is harder than it seems like it should be. Is WD 40 a good option for this?

when I adjusted them, I plucked them like tuning a guitar. When they all matched , I was satisfied.

Personally, I have a Bailey and I love mine too. I use slab matts. I have enough to rotate to dry ones after rolling out large slabs. I do not like canvas texture on my slabs.

 

Marcia

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Pres, how do you know if the tension needs to be adjusted on the Brent? I have one I bought used and have only ended up using it a few times. The wires seem *very* tight! After reading your post, I think I definitely need to grease them. Turning the is harder crank is harder than it seems like it should be. Is WD 40 a good option for this?

when I adjusted them, I plucked them like tuning a guitar. When they all matched , I was satisfied.

Personally, I have a Bailey and I love mine too.

 

Marcia

 

 

Yes, they should be a G below middle C

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