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homemade trimming tools


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#1 fire and ike

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 08:42 AM

It seems like I wear out my trimming tools too fast. I saw a Tim See video and he briefly talked about making tools out of watch springs but I cannot find any more info on homemade trimming tools. Does anyone have any ideas?
Thanks.

#2 bciskepottery

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 09:27 AM

Simon Leach has done a couple of videos on making tools . . . he uses metal strapping to make trim tools and chattering tools. I seem to recall that Brad Sondahl also has info on his website about making some tools. Many of the basic pottery instruction books also discuss making various tools. Clay is especially abrasive on trimming tools and the cheaper ones wear out rather quickly. Dolan tools last longer than Kemper and other less expensive brands, in my experience. If money is no object, take a visit to the Bison Tools site; Phil makes wonderful, long-lasting tools. Yes, expensive . . . but if you buy 10 cheap trimming tools you've paid for one really good one that will last a lifetime (unless you drop it).

#3 Sojourner

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 06:50 PM

It seems like I wear out my trimming tools too fast. I saw a Tim See video and he briefly talked about making tools out of watch springs but I cannot find any more info on homemade trimming tools. Does anyone have any ideas?
Thanks.



Get yourself a $39 bench grinder from Harbor Freight (they even have one with a flex shaft) and make your own out of hacksaw blades like this:

Making your own Trimming Tools from Hacksaw Blades with Hsin-Chuen Lin


I really like that guy!

$80+ for a trim tool that will break if I drop it? Do you know how often I drop things? Meh! It's not that hard to sharpen a tool!

#4 buckeye

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 07:37 PM

HERE is a link that I just posted last week making some trimming tools with a few pieces of scrap stainless but my favorite ones were the old stainless butter knifes, they turned out great and do an awesome job.

#5 Guest_HerbNorriss_*

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 11:48 PM

Heavy metal strapping from crates, and hacksaw blades work great for making your own trimming tools as will any mild steel than can be easily sharpened. Cut 'em to the size and shape you like with tin snips, then get them nice and sharp with a $14 Nicholson double cut flat bastard file. Sharpen them before every use and during use, and there won't be anything you can't do with nice sharp tools!

In the old pottery video ...trim!, potter (now lighting designer) Derek Marshall shows you how to make japanese style trimming tools (kanna) using snips and a file. Fun. If you can find the three video series, center!, throw! ...trim! they are interesting and fun to watch. They are from 1998 though, so might be hard to find.

Woodturner Dave Ellsworth has a whole chapter on making your own tools from files, screwdrivers, hex keys, you name it, in his book Ellsworth on Woodturning. His emphasis is on turning tools, but there is alot that can be applied to pottery tools. As he says, homemade tools are ugly, but they work better than anything else out there.

After you make your own tools, you will never be satisfied with those chrome tool steel pearpitters again.
Go, go, go!

#6 fire and ike

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 09:27 AM

You guys are awesome! Thanks so much for the great ideas. I'm off to Harbor Freight to buy a grinder and some hacksaw blades.

#7 Sojourner

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 12:51 PM

You guys are awesome! Thanks so much for the great ideas. I'm off to Harbor Freight to buy a grinder and some hacksaw blades.


While you're at it, contemplate setting one of these up too...

I LOVE THAT GUY!

#8 ayjay

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 05:56 PM

Metal banding straps from crates works for me - I don't think they're that ugly. :)

Attached File  IMG_4530-c-r-f.jpg   191.91KB   68 downloads

#9 ThisIsMelissa

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 06:39 PM

I can't remember which video I saw this on, but one lady said she makes her tools from steel measuring tapes and puts them onto sticks with dental floss (I think).

#10 Guest_HerbNorriss_*

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 11:41 PM

That rang a bell, so I found the video that shows you how to make sgraffito tools from tapes, it could be used for trimming tools also. Thanks for the reminder!

http://ceramicartsda...graffito-tools/

#11 Pres

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 01:16 PM


You guys are awesome! Thanks so much for the great ideas. I'm off to Harbor Freight to buy a grinder and some hacksaw blades.


While you're at it, contemplate setting one of these up too...

I LOVE THAT GUY!


I buy silicon carbide self sticking pads for circular sanders at Harbor freight, put them on the wheel head. One pad cleaned up a kiln load of pottery. Peel it off and chuck it. 50 in a roll for under 20 bucks.

Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#12 Sojourner

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 05:52 PM



You guys are awesome! Thanks so much for the great ideas. I'm off to Harbor Freight to buy a grinder and some hacksaw blades.


While you're at it, contemplate setting one of these up too...

I LOVE THAT GUY!


I buy silicon carbide self sticking pads for circular sanders at Harbor freight, put them on the wheel head. One pad cleaned up a kiln load of pottery. Peel it off and chuck it. 50 in a roll for under 20 bucks.


OK, I will transfer some of my Gadget Love to you as well.

Not to fear. It is a Safe And Appropriate (Groovy) Kind of Love.

:P (sorry, they have no ebil grins in the emoticons - how can you have emoticons without an ebil grin???)

#13 fire and ike

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 02:23 PM

That rang a bell, so I found the video that shows you how to make sgraffito tools from tapes, it could be used for trimming tools also. Thanks for the reminder!

http://ceramicartsda...graffito-tools/


Thanks so much for the idea and the video. I'm definitely going to try to make her style of tools. Super easy!

#14 fire and ike

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 02:25 PM

Metal banding straps from crates works for me - I don't think they're that ugly. :)

Attached File  IMG_4530-c-r-f.jpg   191.91KB   68 downloads


They look great! I've already made some and they work very nicely.
Thanks.

#15 grayfree

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 05:24 PM

Pres I love the sanding idea.....had my hubby pick up some sanding disc and they work beautiful. Thanks so much

#16 Mark C.

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 03:15 PM

Simon Leach has done a couple of videos on making tools . . . he uses metal strapping to make trim tools and chattering tools. I seem to recall that Brad Sondahl also has info on his website about making some tools. Many of the basic pottery instruction books also discuss making various tools. Clay is especially abrasive on trimming tools and the cheaper ones wear out rather quickly. Dolan tools last longer than Kemper and other less expensive brands, in my experience. If money is no object, take a visit to the Bison Tools site; Phil makes wonderful, long-lasting tools. Yes, expensive . . . but if you buy 10 cheap trimming tools you've paid for one really good one that will last a lifetime (unless you drop it).


I recommend bison tools-Mine lasts for about 3 years trimming 8-10 tons of porcelain a year.
if you are hobbyist then use any of the lesser brands you like.
Phil made mine just for me as i had specific need on double ender(two sides)
oh yea they will break if you drop them-I have used a few for many years(7-9) without breaking
one-I keep it in plastic tube next to trim wheel-its out only when its trimming in my hand-I used to go thru many grosses of 6 inch kemper R2s over the years now I get about 3-4 years as then its time to resharpened or get new tip-this tool has saved me big money-
Its not for the hobbyist as I noted
Mark
Mark Cortright
www.liscomhillpottery.com

#17 Gordon Ward

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 01:13 PM


It seems like I wear out my trimming tools too fast. I saw a Tim See video and he briefly talked about making tools out of watch springs but I cannot find any more info on homemade trimming tools. Does anyone have any ideas?
Thanks.



Get yourself a $39 bench grinder from Harbor Freight (they even have one with a flex shaft) and make your own out of hacksaw blades like this:

Making your own Trimming Tools from Hacksaw Blades with Hsin-Chuen Lin


I really like that guy!

$80+ for a trim tool that will break if I drop it? Do you know how often I drop things? Meh! It's not that hard to sharpen a tool!



#18 Gordon Ward

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 01:25 PM

You can make "loop tools" out of hack saw blades as well. First, get the best quality hack saw blade. Then put it in a vise and snap it in half. These high quality blades will not bend unless heated. Before bending the loop, grind the teeth off and sharpen both sides. One end will have a hole, which will be used to attach that side to a wooden handle. On the other end grind a few notches on either side of the blade. Using a torch, heat the place where a bend is required, and using pliers, make the bend while still red hot. Design the shape so that the ends end up parallel and a handle can be attached. One side is screwed to the handle and the other side is whipped with some wire using the notches. If it doesn't look too neat, then you can wrap the whole attachment area with some duct tape. These trim tools stay sharp a long time. You need a ribbon sander/grinder to do a good job. I found a 1" ribbon sander at a garage sale for $35 and it worked great for many many years. The thing about the high quality hack saw blades is that they are harder than a file, so filing doesn't work for sharpening.

#19 neilestrick

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 06:04 PM

Not to be the 'downer' of the forum, but....Trimming tools are cheap. In the time it would take me to make one, I could throw enough pots to buy a couple dozen. If you've got the time and want to explore the craft of making tools, then go for it. It can be a lot of fun. But if it's really about the money, it's just not worth it.
Neil Estrick
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Owner, Neil Estrick Gallery, LLC
www.neilestrickgallery.com

neil@neilestrickgallery.com

#20 Pres

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 08:05 PM

Not to be the 'downer' of the forum, but....Trimming tools are cheap. In the time it would take me to make one, I could throw enough pots to buy a couple dozen. If you've got the time and want to explore the craft of making tools, then go for it. It can be a lot of fun. But if it's really about the money, it's just not worth it.. .. .


pres replies
. . . . unless of course you have a need for a special shaped tool that you can't or couldn't find out in the markets. In the 80's I made a series of ribbon end tools to make cut handles out of a block of clay. It was a new thing that I saw in a magazine, and after looking for the tools and not finding them-I made my own. Of course as I was a HS teacher on the same floor as the wood and metal shops I had access to a great amount of tools. I had also fostered a great friendship with the shop teachers over the years. It also helped that I had been a class A parts fabricator for an aircraft factory in my younger years.


Edited by Pres, 24 January 2012 - 05:49 PM.

Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/





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