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cavoletto

Shimpo wheels, advice needed

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cavoletto    0

Hi everyone, 

I recently relocated to Rome, Italy, and since I couldn't find a community studio I decided on getting a wheel of my own so I could work in my garage in addition to take classes. As far as firings go, I'll rent a kiln in a nearby studio, until I'll feel comfortable enough to get my own. 

 I'd really love to get some advice as far as the wheel purchase goes. Haven't seen any used wheels on eBay and most shops here in Italy only sell Shimpo, so it looks like I get to choose between the RK3E (1.400 euro, looks like the whisper to me), the RK 55 (800 euros, looks like the whisper Lite) and the -Whisper T-2 that looks intermediate (1.120 euros, I'l attach a pic). I was looking around for reviews but couldn't find this last model anywhere online: I'd like to hear what users have to say about it! 

As for me, I am mainly interested in throwing small pieces of tableware, I never throw big quantities of clay, however I'm not sure how comfortable I'd feel with a wheel that has a belt, also the Lite just seems a bit light to me. However, I'm not a pro and I'm not a production potter so while I've heard great things about it, I think the actual Shimpo Whisper is just too much for me. I feel like I should start smaller, hence the intermediate solution. Does anyone knows if this wheel is actually any good?

Many Thanks!!

whispet t2.jpeg

Edited by cavoletto

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oly    13

I've got a whisper T (design has changed a little since I got mine). It is great wheel but I primarily bought it because it is very shallow back to front and so fitted by arrow utility room/studio. It works perfectly and is extremely quiet (like virtually silent) and powerful. It has a modest amount of space for water bowls/tools. The legs on mine are adjustable height, but I still have had to pack it with wooden blocks to get it to the height I prefer (I am 6' + unlike average Japanese thrower). It is surprisingly heavy to move (a good thing mostly). The legs can  be removed to turn it into a sort of bench-top wheel which I guess could useful in a teaching situation. I do know of a potter who allowed so much slip to build up regularly in the splashpan that it seeped down the drive shaft and ruined the electronics (it was mended). Like most of the Jap wheels it has silly little buttons but they work okay.

The RK55, when I looked at it, did not have adjustable legs, but if like me you need to pack it up any wheel with wood or bricks then that doesn't really matter. It is lighter and easier to move and hence transport. I think it is a little bit deeper so not so good in a confined space like my studio. Yes it is belt drive but so are very many wheels (indeed before modern electronics I think most wheels used some sort of belt or pulley). I actually think this can be an advantage because it means the motor is separated from the main drive shaft. It is a quiet wheel, a little bit more noise than the Whisper but by no means a problem (even teaching I don't think it would be a problem). If I was choosing again I wouldn't hesitate to get the cute little RK55 and poss the only reason apart from space not to get it would be if you wanted to throw massive pots or needed the strongest wheel for professional use.

I do find an adjustable height seat useful, to save my back.

I'd also consider looking at makes Rohde and Roderveld which are both made in Europe, Germany or nearby countries I think. 

Keramik Kraft gave me a good deal on a kiln and very easy to deal with (they speak English etc) prob worth a look for comparing prices.

 

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hantremmer    1
1 hour ago, oly said:

I'd also consider looking at makes Rohde and Roderveld which are both made in Europe, Germany or nearby countries I think. 

I think Rodervelds used to be made in Holland, but now production is in the UK.  Two different retailers told me that the quality was affected in the move.   I was going to buy one, but decided not to after that.    The wheel's manufacturer told me they were working on the issues, so I hope they get sorted.

I've just bought an RK3E.  I've only used it for about ten minutes.  It's a  very quiet wheel   It is also heavy, more so with the legs attached.  The RK3E can also be used without the legs, but it would have to be on a very sturdy table.

The pedal seems responsive.    Main issue so far is that the removable splash man slides as you're throwing.  Maybe that's how I'm sitting at the wheel or something I'll get used to, but the pan was turning and shifting as I was centreing and pulling up. 

Also, when I wiped down the wheel after my first throw,  the sponge was covered in black, sooty, particles.  Very odd.  I think I've read somewhere it might be grog rubbing off the surface oils or something, but I don't know.

Does anyone have any ideas?

EDIT

Various people here say that Shimpos don't have enough torque to handle larger amounts of clay. I know you say you'll be mainly throwing tableware, but have a think about whether you might want to experiment with larger pieces.  

Edited by hantremmer

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When my wheel was brand new (a lot of years ago) the aluminum wheelhead shed that black stuff for a long time.  I think it's just some form of oxidation.  It didn't affect my clay at all, and at the time I was working with a clay that I would have noticed something like that. 

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cavoletto    0
On 9/14/2017 at 2:11 PM, oly said:

 Thank you so much for your interesting insight! I just checked Keramik Kraft and saw one Rhode wheel plus the usual Shimpos. I'll probably just go with Shimpo as I feel it will be easier to deal with an Italy based reseller. Don't really have space issues so no structural need for the T, the absence of a belt instead is rather reassuring to me, as I'm not a mechanics nerd, feels like one less thing that could break but I understand that's a somewhat silly approach. Still need to make up my mind but I'm slightly leaning towards the RK3E: it's probably more then I need right now but it's only a few hundreds difference so maybe it does make sense getting it. If anyone else wants to weigh in please do! Again many thanks!!

 

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hantremmer    1

Cavoletto,

I think you might have quoted Oly's post, but then deleted his text and added yours.  

I've thrown a bit more with the RK3E, only around 2KG (4.5lb).  Best thing apart from the quietness is how good the pedal is.   The splash pan still moves, but that's lessened by tucking in so one's thighs are tight against it.  Still annoying for an expensive product, but not insurmountable in daily use.

 

 

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