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Can’t remember the last time we had a tips or techniques thread and there have been a few really good ones posted lately so thought it would be a good time to start another thread. Anybody have anything, simple, complicated, unusual or ? that they would like to share? My offerings below, nothing spectacular but things I use often. 

Staple remover with the points filed down makes a pair of mini tongs for tiny pots, tiles, lids etc. 

Neoprene disc that sticks to the wheel head with water, dampen the top of it with a sponge and pots stick to it without having to use wads of clay to hold pots down. (I don’t use a Giffin grip)  Also in that picture is the elbow part of a wire coat hanger that I use for callipers.

Cheese slicer with the bar removed to quickly trim off the bulk of the clay up to the outer edge of where the foot will be trimmed.

X3.jpg.41e8d7efefc286be1700ebf1531f28f1.jpg

Edited by Min

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I've also used flooring tiles, and I like travertine like the ones shown in the bottom left. I'd like to add if you flip the flooring tiles over not only do they often have very unique geometric patterns for making impressions that don't stick to the clay, but they create a raised grid to help things dry a little faster underneath if that's what you want, or slowly if the glazed side is turned up.  I had to leave all my nice 12" flooring tiles behind when I moved recently, but I have a large wire shelf unit and kept two of it's shelves covered with the tiles. Handy and you can rearrange them as desired. 

For work boards I'm slowly building a collection of, not sure what their official name is, things that go under houseplants sold at Walmart. They cost about $4.99 for big ones here, and $1-2 for the medium and small ones. They are the exact same masonite used in most bats I see except they don't have a rounded edge and there is a thin layer of cork on one side -so they don't slip. Since I hand build and don't throw I haven't drilled holes in them but I think they'd probably make pretty good bats for throwing that way. They don't slide around on my work table and make it easy to carry projects around. Below are all houseplant 'bats' with the exception of the largest on the bottom which is a regular standard bat for comparison. The smallest ones on top are pressed cork coasters, also from walmart. 

I use a flat stiff little plastic brush for...hair dye I think... to score and slip larger areas, it's angled and flat and easy to control, and it doesn't tear up really wet clay.  I use a simple wooden handled wire brush (middle) used for soldering? welding? not sure exactly, for leather hard slip scoring. The tool on the right I found with the toothbrushes at the Dollar store. I find a lot of weird stuff at the Dollar store, things that I'm sure just don't make the cut at regular stores. The mirrored end lets me look inside and under touchy projects with the help of a flashlight.

 

tools_ceramics.jpg

Edited by yappystudent
brevity
D.M.Ernst, Rae Reich, Min and 2 others like this

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Have a small studio where everything has to do double duty? The heavy duty wire racks for kitchens that are strong enough to hold a lot of cans are good for ware racks, and a whole 6’ shelf covered in a sheet can be used for reclaiming a 5 gallon bucket of slip. I got the idea from chicken wire based reclaim beds.

(I’ll try and add a photo in a day or so).

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Yeah, my little garage has a lot of double duty stuff. Drop down plywood covers wedging table to wedge white clays without contamination. Tool rack for Mechanical/wood tools on one side, drawers beneath for clay tools. 

I have built a few tools on my own, I make wiggle wires using a drill and a small rod. I have a trimming chuck made out of plumbing parts for trimming chalices that works well with the griffin grip. All in all just need more space. Guess replacing both of the kilns with one with a controller would be the biggest help.

 

best,

Pres

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both my studios are full of things that came from dollar stores, kitchen wares at thrift shops and other non-pottery supply sources.  yard sales yield many useful items which will serve a different purpose than their maker intended.  when you think of what you want the clay to do, it is easy to imagine using a non-traditional tool to do it.  storing them efficently matters in a small studio.  tools that are not in plain sight are rarely used, the hard part is giving up on that wonderful "wonder what this will do" tool that has been sitting there unused since i got it.  

strictly technique includes those things that help form slabs into pots.  could not be without my thick foam rubber sofa cushion and its thinner brethren.   plain, unvarnished wood in many shapes gives variety and a thin nylon stocking or old pantyhose, provides enough separation to press forms into clay without sticking.  cover a hollow metal or plastic form in a stocking and firmly press clay into it.  no sticking with a stocking.

now you have my secret.

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I was loading my test kiln and was having trouble with my posts being the right height, I was trying to fire 6 tiles.   I  just finished a outdoor mural using 1 inch porcelain tiles, I had a box of them sitting in my studio.   I only fire to C 6 so I thought I would give them a try,   I put one on top of each post and that gave me the clearance I was wanting without having to go to a much taller post.  Denice

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16 hours ago, Sheryl Leigh said:

I can't take credit for it, but using a piece of thin plastic - candy wrapper, saran wrap, etc. - works just as well as a chamois for finishing off a rim of a pot.

Sometimes the simplest things are the most useful aren't they? I use a microfiber cleaning cloth that is meant for eyeglasses, really don't like the slimy feel of a chamois.

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On 11/9/2017 at 3:42 PM, yappystudent said:

"I've also used flooring tiles, and I like travertine like the ones shown in the bottom left. I'd like to add if you flip the flooring tiles over not only do they often have very unique geometric patterns for making impressions that don't stick to the clay, but they create a raised grid to help things dry a little faster underneath if that's what you want, or slowly if the glazed side is turned up."

could you post a pic of the type of flooring tiles?. 

Thanks

 

 

 

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BTW I buy these at building supply thrift stores, but you can get them new for about $1-$3 for 12" squares. They vary in size from 4" square to I think about 20". I like the narrow trimmings shown below because they do double duty lining my windowsills as houseplant protection.  Sorry about the small pictures, I was having some trouble uploading and had to shrink them really small for some reason before they would stick. 

 

 

Tiles_Back.jpg

Same tiles right side up.jpg

Edited by yappystudent
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I am kind of a brush addict and my brush holder I bought in college was stuffed and over flowing.  We installed a new dishwasher this weekend and I was throwing the silverware baskets away when it hit me it might make a good brush holder.   Worked great for most of the brushes, the smaller brushes I  left in the old holder.   Denice

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Speaking of brush holders, I inherited a collection of flower frogs, the kind that are basically a form with holes in it that sits in the bottom of a vase and keeps flower stems anchored (haven't tried it with the pin-cushion kind), most of which have by now been recruited into brush holder service. There are many styles and sizes and keep the brushes nicely separated. They might turn up in yard sales and thrift stores. 

From the kitchen, the dark green scrubbies are the very best for sanding down carvings, edges of feet and signatures on bone dry pots. The more "broken in" they are, the better for delicate work, though I have to be careful that the threads don't catch on those inside-the-curve raggedy edges of through-carvings by making sure that I sand in the direction of the raggedness. I like that my finger tips are still able to feel the work so I feel I have more control. 

Edited by Rae Reich
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6 hours ago, Denice said:

I am kind of a brush addict and my brush holder I bought in college was stuffed and over flowing.  We installed a new dishwasher this weekend and I was throwing the silverware baskets away when it hit me it might make a good brush holder.   Worked great for most of the brushes, the smaller brushes I  left in the old holder.   Denice

The old racks from the dishwasher make good holders for wood or plaster batts too.

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Those racks would have worked great for that but I was replacing my dishwasher because they had rusted away.  The dishwasher worked great no place to put the dishes.    Denice

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more of a tip than technique - upside down plastic containers make excellent damp boxes/buckets

I had to leave vases with slip i was playing with. Two days later the slip(with darvan 7) was still shiny.

I now have a collection of containers that fit nicely over individual pots for future consideration.

Sheryl Leigh and Min like this

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The trimming chuck I use for chalices use a Pipe flange, piece of 3" pipe, a pipe hub donut donut and a soft rubber inner donut. The soft donut leaves very little marking on the chalice stem. Pretty much self centering, as long as you keep the base level.

 

best,

Pres

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On 11/15/2017 at 3:29 PM, Joy pots said:

I use kids thin craft foam for drying mugs upside down to protect the rims.  I also use that foam for templates for hand built forms.  I have so many self made tools that there are 2 many to mention.

joy

That's a great idea!! I have some of that somewhere around. I love the idea of them for templates, too. I am just starting handbuilding (and LOVE it!) and I am using tarpaper, which is really a pain to cut. Thanks!

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On 11/20/2017 at 4:18 PM, Min said:

The old racks from the dishwasher make good holders for wood or plaster batts too.

Great idea!!! And I Love the idea that it is being recycled, too!!! 

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