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homemade trimming tools


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#21 Guest_The Unknown Craftsman_*

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 05:17 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."

It's not about the money, exactly. It's also about getting a better tool, and doing for yourself, instead of buying a pearpitter that winds up in the landfill. In fifteen minutes, I can cut, bend, and sharpen some strap steel that will be sharper than any tool you can buy. When it gets dull, I can easily resharpen it in one minute. The hacksaw blade method doesn't take too much longer. These tools will last for years. They will perform better than the cheap trimming tools that are too common in studios, especially art centers. This is because people might not know better, they never get exposed to good tools like Dolan, Bison, etc.
You must be a fast thrower, Neil!

#22 phill

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Posted 22 June 2014 - 08:43 PM

Bump.

 

I have made the hacksaw blade trimmers that Hsin-chuen famously highlighted along with the metal strap trimmers. Both are more of a let down to me than just buying a dolan tool. I understand the whole make your own tools idea, but I also can't get over how cheap and wonderful a Dolan tool is. I use 3 or 4 dolan shapes and they last me a LONG time, even without sharpening them. And then once you sharpen them, they last even longer. $10 is so cheap for such wonderfulness. Dolan is fantastic. 



#23 CarlCravens

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 09:38 AM

I have made the hacksaw blade trimmers that Hsin-chuen famously highlighted along with the metal strap trimmers. Both are more of a let down to me than just buying a dolan tool.

 

Phill, I did the same thing... I'm very DIY, but the fiddliness involved in getting tools just the right shape, sharpening them, etc is too much.  I want to make pots, not make trim tools.

 

I wonder how much time Hsin-chuen spends getting his tools just right.  Watching him make pots, he's clearly not in a hurry... meticulous and patient.  I expect he puts similar time into making his tools.


Carl (Wichita, KS)

#24 JBaymore

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 09:59 AM

One of the things that I share with students.................

 

If you are trying to make you work "your own"........ to have a visual and tactile identity that is personal,........... then you make things harder for yourself when you use generic clay bodies, generic glazes, and generic tools.

 

Aside from the uniqueness of your own particular set of hands touching the clay, the tools that you use to form and alter the clay DO have a huge impact on the way the clay is formed. 

 

Most tools have a distinct way they "like" to be manipulated.  As you use them, you find this aspect in them, and then tend to repeat it becasue it just seems to "work best" that way.  Many others will find the same brand / model of tool works the same way for them too.  So you all start finding "solutions" that look like each other's.

 

Make your own tools whenever you can.  Develop your own clay bodies and glazes.  At the least, realize the potential that this is happening.

 

If you don't want to make stuff......... at least try to find ones that not 'everyone' is usiing. 

 

If you are worried about the time involved.... charge more for your work.  It is likely you are underpricing your work already.

 

best,

 

....................john


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#25 alabama

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 12:48 PM

Hey,

    Years ago a friend of mine saw someone using a bent, pointy, trimming tool made from a stainless steel butter knife.  I went to the thrift store and bought

four knives.  Two USA made knives and two Japan made knives.  When I put them in a vise to bend the ends the Japan knives bent 90 degrees, the USA

knives snapped and snapped all the way to the handle.  Once bent, the ends are gound on the grinder until sharp.  I think she had planned to trim the excess from the bottom.

     Wheel grinder - I use the wheel grinder for wood working.  It actually burns thru the wood, but I use it to shape ribs.  I make "ribs on a stick" by buying

wooden spoons and grinding off one side to "bell out" the inside of pitchers and mugs.  Make sure the correct side is ground off.

    Loop tools - I've made some loop tools and they worked ok.  But when I did, I took a disposible razor blade apart and had two strips of metal and placed the strips of metal into the hollow end of bamboo and sealed it with the epoxy putty found at auto parts stores.  Its the kind you slice and mix the epoxy outer

cover with the core.  It sets up 5 minutes.

     To sharpen the store bought loop tools, I keep on hand some wet/dry sandpaper (from the auto parts store) and drag the blades across in a 45 degree

angle, both ways (front and back).  Its easier to sharpen tools before they get too dull.  A few swipes across the sandpaper a week keeps the blade's edge

manageable.

     There is a brass wire wheel on one side of my grinder that I use to smooth off the bottom of the stoneware vessels.  I also use the wire wheel to feather

the sharpe edges left from the coarse wheel.

Hope this sheds alittle knowledge.

Alabama



#26 ChenowethArts

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 02:43 PM

I am a big fan of making trim tools from hacksaw blades...they also do a great job of chattering!
trim-tool-small.jpg

 

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#27 Pres

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 05:27 PM

Hmmm today I was trimming some canisters. I wanted a multiple bead on the sides 3 or 4 deep. There did not seem to be a tool that fit the job in all of my different tools-and I've got a lot. So one of the wooden tools that was a duplicate came out, the dremel came out, and in a few minutes the dremel was away, and I was trimming in the beads on the pots. I have always believed that my making or modifying my tools made my work more mine.

 

That said, there are a pile of great tool makers out there, and many of them are getting the message about more variety in shapes other than the small and large loop, spade or flat. I like variety, and if a manufactured tool is something I don't have that I like, I usually have it once I see it.


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#28 oldlady

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 08:55 PM

one of my favorite tools is one made by Amaco.  it is purple.  I bought it in the 70s or early 80s when I was in Indianapolis.  there were 3 of them left in a clearance sale.  I bought all 3.  the working part of the tool is just like the pen insert made by speedball and used to scratch through color on a scratchboard but the handle is more comfortable.  there is a tight wire loop at the other end.

 

my last one is getting older, I asked Amaco if they had it anymore.  I even gave them their own NUMBER printed on the tool.  never heard of it, I must be wrong, no there is no such thing.  it reads AMOCO/REWARD T8.  but it no longer exists.

 

it is a wonderful tool for carving lines through slip and any other carving of a line.   if any of you have one sitting unused in a corner, I would be happy to buy it.


"putting you down does not raise me up."

#29 Stellaria

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 10:59 PM

Search for sgraffito tools. You probably won't find both ends on one tool, but I'm fairly certain you'll find them separately.

#30 oldlady

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 08:37 AM

thanks, but I have done that.


"putting you down does not raise me up."

#31 phill

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 09:45 PM

One of the things that I share with students.................

 

If you are trying to make you work "your own"........ to have a visual and tactile identity that is personal,........... then you make things harder for yourself when you use generic clay bodies, generic glazes, and generic tools.

 

Aside from the uniqueness of your own particular set of hands touching the clay, the tools that you use to form and alter the clay DO have a huge impact on the way the clay is formed. 

 

Most tools have a distinct way they "like" to be manipulated.  As you use them, you find this aspect in them, and then tend to repeat it becasue it just seems to "work best" that way.  Many others will find the same brand / model of tool works the same way for them too.  So you all start finding "solutions" that look like each other's.

 

Make your own tools whenever you can.  Develop your own clay bodies and glazes.  At the least, realize the potential that this is happening.

 

If you don't want to make stuff......... at least try to find ones that not 'everyone' is usiing. 

 

If you are worried about the time involved.... charge more for your work.  It is likely you are underpricing your work already.

 

best,

 

....................john

I know, I get the idea. I love making my own tools. If I had the time right now, I would be experimenting with different things I have around me to trim. Time, where have you gone?



#32 TwinRocks

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 09:05 AM

one of my favorite tools is one made by Amaco.  it is purple.  I bought it in the 70s or early 80s when I was in Indianapolis.  there were 3 of them left in a clearance sale.  I bought all 3.  the working part of the tool is just like the pen insert made by speedball and used to scratch through color on a scratchboard but the handle is more comfortable.  there is a tight wire loop at the other end.
 
my last one is getting older, I asked Amaco if they had it anymore.  I even gave them their own NUMBER printed on the tool.  never heard of it, I must be wrong, no there is no such thing.  it reads AMOCO/REWARD T8.  but it no longer exists.
 
it is a wonderful tool for carving lines through slip and any other carving of a line.   if any of you have one sitting unused in a corner, I would be happy to buy it.


It's never fun when something like that happens. If it was the 70s or 80s, I would expect in the 90s or early 2000s they more than likely switched from paper record keeping to digital and they'd have little reason to transfer records about products they had already long discontinued. Just speculating on that obviously. It would be hard to find something like that on EBay too, since most people bundle old tools or just toss them. Hope you find it or a happy substitute (a sub might be better, something you can get more of readily!)

I had realized while trimming that my tools where extremely dull. Can Kemper loop tools be resharpened? What is the best way of doing it (sand paper, sharpening stone, something else?).

I had seen some of those angled tools on YouTube, I thought they might have been self made but I hadn't realized they where saw blades. It seems like tool making is a pretty common practice in ceramics.

I recently realized I could make a cutting wire that was shorter, finer and more flexible for cutting pieces off the wheel head. I need to make it shorter than my first try, the extra slack and stiffness of a standard wire gets in my way.

#33 g-bus

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 11:00 AM

Credit cards. And I don't mean buying stuff with your Amex. Can be bent and cut/shaped however you want. Just won't work great on the dryer stuff, but cheap as dirt (I get probably a dozen or so per month in the mail).



#34 Benzine

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 11:03 AM

Credit cards. And I don't mean buying stuff with your Amex. Can be bent and cut/shaped however you want. Just won't work great on the dryer stuff, but cheap as dirt (I get probably a dozen or so per month in the mail).

 

Activate a few and send them to me...


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