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Pres

QothW: What studio tool under $100 was your best purchase?

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Hi folks, 

There have not been any new questions in the question pool of late, and I believe I have gone through everyone of them. So tonight I will pose my own question.

What studio tool under $100 was your best purchase?  I have to look at a series of tools that cost less than $100 dollars to purchase, my triple beam balance, my really nice banding wheel, my regular scale for weighing clay, the hand blender, and my Griffin Grip. I use most of these quite a bit, and would be lost without most of them. I can not go without using the balance and scales. I can work around having the banding wheel as I have a potters wheel. The hand blender can be replaced with a whisk and a lot of work. I can trim everything with chucks, tap centering and clay chocks or damp wheel head, but I really have gotten attached to my GG. So for me it is the GG. I purchased this way back in the 70's maybe a year after they appeared. Over the years I have trimmed a lot of pots on it, used it to band decoration and recenter rims of cheese hard forms, used the 3 divider lines to facet rims, and cut foot rings,  set up at rimming chuck to trim chalice on, and use it to final sign all of my pots. Yeah my GG was my best purchase.

 

best,

Pres

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Guest JBaymore

A large SHIMPO banding wheel.  The Lamborghini of banding wheels.  About $75 in the Trade Show hall at NCECA.  Priceless.

Nothing else compares.

best,

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

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My best tool for under a hundred is probably my A loop bison trimming tool. I use it on everything and I have never had to even pick up a file to sharpen it. It trims bone dry, bisque, leather hard, greenware, or anything else I need to trim with it. It is by far worth the investment. 

I can't think of any tool I use more.

I wish I had a nice banding wheel @JBaymore, that is definitely in my future now that have started to do a lot of hand trimming with a wooden knife on my work.

Edited by Joseph F

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Guest JBaymore
28 minutes ago, Joseph F said:

I wish I had a nice banding wheel @JBaymore, that is definitely in my future now that have started to do a lot of hand trimming with a wooden knife on my work.

I use the banding wheel a lot of making Chawan. (and also wooden trimming tools for the kodau -feet-)

best,

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

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I think I have the Shimpo also, well worth the price and serves many purposes in my studio especially when spray glazeing. . . outside, when assembling slab or combination pieces, and when hand trimming some smaller items.

 

best,

Pres

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Well, as only one item cost more than £100.....

I'm torn between two, my slab-rollers (one is hand-made and lives at home, the other is an old mangle and lives at the centre) and my large harp.

The rollers allow me to produce flat slabs without the stress on my shoulders and neck, and the harp aids with cut-slam-wedging.

If I had to give up one, I'd let the harp go, as I could always use a cut-off wire - less convenient but still do-able.

 

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This is a tough choice. When I bought my giffin grip it was over $100, so it's out of contention. I love my Shimpo banding wheel too. But I've decided that the one thing I would be the most heartbroken over, if I lost it and it couldn't be replaced, is a simple mouth-blown glaze sprayer.

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34 minutes ago, Benzine said:

My Mudtools "Do All Trim Tool".  

After using loops to trim for years,  just love the versatility of the Do All.  It's comfortable to use, and it's all I use to trim now... Unless I'm in my classroom, and have to use the loops, because that's all we have there...

 I liked the Do It All Tool. I found it incredibly difficult to sharpen. I tried round files, flat files etc. I got tired of sharpening it all the time. I wish they would make a version using the same metal that Bison tools uses. I would easily pay 100+ for it.

@GEP Which mouth blown atomizer do you use? I have several and I don't like any of them.

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I'll be buying another one of the Mudtools Do all, but might even spring for a Bison. Easy to get what I want at NCECA. This year in my back yard practically in PIttsburgh. Saving silver!

 

 

best,

Pres

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Just now, Pres said:

I'll be buying another one of the Mudtools Do all, but might even spring for a Bison. Easy to get what I want at NCECA. This year in my back yard practically in PIttsburgh. Saving silver!

I have two bison's. They are both worth it. Although I use the A loop the most. I wish he made a shovel shape like is on the do it all. I asked him if he made any like that and he said the closest was one of the flat blades, but it just doesn't work the same. That shovel shape on the do it all is fantastic.

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48 minutes ago, Joseph F said:

Which mouth blown atomizer do you use? I have several and I don't like any of them.

I bought mine from Chinese Clay Art more than 15 years ago. (https://chineseclayart.com/Store/ProductVariant?pf_id=200) The one they sell now is not quite as good, but still better than the more widely available Van Gilder model. The Chinese Clay Art model is better because the tube that extends down into the glaze is wider. The tube on the Van Gilder model is too thin, it requires too much breath power to use it. 

The 15 yr old one is on the left. The current version is on the right. Notice how the top tube is now attached with straps rather than being welded on. Lots of my students bought these, but sometimes the ends of the two tubes did not align correct. So we attacked the straps with small pliers and other small tools until the tubes lines up correctly. The current version also doesn't include the plastic extender tube for the mouth end. This tube makes the sprayer a lot more comfortable, because you don't have to hold your face so close to the pot. I think it would be easy enough to buy and length of plastic tube and add it on yourself (aquarium store?)

IMG-1238.JPG.d3174a7eedada061a1eac338a493b0cc.JPG

Edit to add: I don't glaze entire pots with the sprayer. I do most of my glazing by dipping and pouring, then apply accents of glaze with the sprayer. It's about 30 minutes of work out of a 5 hour glazing session. If I wanted to spray glaze entire pots, I would get a compressor-driven spray gun.

Edited by GEP
Benzine, Rae Reich, Joseph F and 1 other like this

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I used to use atomizers also, had the van gilder's hard to use well. So I went to a sprayer with multiple bottles, and I just spray parts of pots with glaze. Works well, but then I glaze outside as I don't have booth yet.

 

Might get some of these though, will work easier. Mea, do you use stains over glaze. . . .I used to.

 

best,

Pres

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I've never used straight stains over glaze, but that sounds like a good approach for adding depth. I have only 5 glazes total in my stuido, and some are just slight variations of others. So really only three base recipes. I find that a small amount of layering and soft edges make a huge difference in terms of depth. That's why I'd be so sad if I lost my sprayer! 

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None of my tools cost over $100...grrr. Although I've sung it's praises before here's the link again: 

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Signature-Development-72-in-Fold-Out-Wood-Workbench-WKBNCH72X22/203083493

Note the 400+ reviews on this thing also at the website. Up sides: cheap and durable, looks fancier than it is even as raw wood,  clay doesn't stick to the thick masonite top. For hand building it's a good height and has lots of room to work on (the photo makes it look small but note the measurements) also it doesn't look bad sitting in my dining area, just like a countertop extension when it's not covered with art materials. I put whatever project I have going on there. It was fairly cheap for what it is, and was indeed easy to put together and fold up again when I moved (I designed an entire trip in the hatchback around it from Idaho to the coast).  I love it enough I'd like to get another one or two/three even and make an L-shape or put one out in my sun room for a potting bench, living room for my aquariums with books under, etc. 

Drawbacks: wobbles a fair amount unless it's braced against a wall. Only a minor annoyance for me when wedging large amounts of clay. Otherwise it doesn't wobble unless you really push on it. Storing something heavy (clay blocks) on the shelf underneath almost solves the issue entirely. 

 

Edited by yappystudent
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Hmmm. I think the only two things I spent MORE than $100 on were my wheel and kiln.  So much of our craft is skill, and many of our tools are super low-tech. 

That do all trimming tool is totally where it's at: I think I went through 3 of them this year, even after sharpening them with a chainsaw file. I wore them down pretty good. 

I picked up a banding wheel and a mug tree from a potter who retired 3 years ago, and those were pretty good deals.  I didn't think I'd use the banding wheel as much as I do. 

That little red rib from Sherril is also pretty cool. It gets used to finish a lot of pots after trimming, and the smooth feet are such a nice detail. Also, no sanding sharp bits off the bottom of pots, which is always good. 

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2 hours ago, Joseph F said:

 I liked the Do It All Tool. I found it incredibly difficult to sharpen. I tried round files, flat files etc. I got tired of sharpening it all the time. I wish they would make a version using the same metal that Bison tools uses. I would easily pay 100+ for it.

@GEP Which mouth blown atomizer do you use? I have several and I don't like any of them.

Yeah, I can't comment on that, as I've never tried to sharpen them.  The clay body I use, goes pretty easy on the "blade", so sharpness hasn't proven to be an issue yet.  I've been watching a lot of "Forged in Fire" lately, so when I do go to sharpen, I'll go all out and heat the blade, then quench it... I'm joking... Or am I...

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2 hours ago, GEP said:

 

Edit to add: I don't glaze entire pots with the sprayer. I do most of my glazing by dipping and pouring, then apply accents of glaze with the sprayer. It's about 30 minutes of work out of a 5 hour glazing session. If I wanted to spray glaze entire pots, I would get a compressor-driven spray gun.

I really do like the effects that a spray applied layer creates, over top of a glaze.  My Dad made a couple really nice pieces, in College, using this method.  One is a "Bird Bath" form, with a nice gradient created by the spray.  Unfortunately some of his dang kids cracked the ware, when they were younger...

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@GEP

Thanks for the detailed response. I have the van gilder one, I have to blow like I am blowing a balloon up to get the thing to put out any constant stream. It is really annoying. I use it all the time still though to add subtle effects to my pots. I might get one of those that you linked in the future. Thanks for explaining everything.

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If you only have a bit that needs a spray these things work okay. (or if you don't like huffing and puffing) I used one before I got my spraybooth set up, used outside. Wouldn't use them to cover entire pots with glaze but for highlights they are good and very simple to use.

For the question of the week I would have to go with my waterfall spray booth. Got a  brand new fiberglass shower stall for free when we had our yearly "throw out anything you don't need" day and we went scrounging and found it. Used pump, some mesh that we had to buy plus a few plumbing bits and pieces, came in well under a 100-

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Large turntables made with Formica sink cut outs and a Lazy Susan hardware kit.  I bought one 25 years ago for $25 dollars,  I like it so much I made two more sizes low profile and much bigger diameter.     Great for large heavy sculptures.   Denice

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For me its was my Giffen grip which was under $100 so many decades ago. My second tool is my bison custom made double end trim tool which back then was less than $100 but now its more as I have 3 of them -3 giffens as well-each is set up differently. I had 4 but gave one to an art center.

an honorable mention is my mud cutter from mud tools. I use both types a lot .

Edited by Mark C.
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