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Gabby

Advice on purchase of a wheel

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I have used a wheel only in pottery classes and am interested in buying one for use at home.

In class I have always used the Brent CXC, which is wonderful, but I know it is expensive. 

One local shop suggested the Shimpo VL Lite wheel, and another local shop the Pacifica GT400. 

I am a small person in my 60s, a hobbyist. I will never want to center large amounts of clay at once. I would likely use it no more than two or three hours in a day and a few days a week.

Whatever I get, I will raise so that I can throw standing.

What advice would you give me?

 

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gabby, a used wheel will probably do more than you ask of it.  try looking locally at craigslist and online at ebay.  many of them are inherited by people who  know nothing about what they have and price them as though they are new.  you can educate yourself on the differences and then bargain the price down.    also check ads for kilns, some folks list all of the studio equipment including wheels and other items because they do not know what they have.  

i have used a pacifica since 1972, replaced the 4 huge rubber belts that run it and had to get a new pedal when lightning struck 20 feet from my house and fried everything that was plugged in.  i like the silence of the pacifica, brents are so noisy they are annoying.  there is a studio nearby with the shimpo whispers but i do not like their round table and one of them needs something done with the pedal, it needs to be forced to go down and then pulled back up.  that is one individual one, though.

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If you like the Brent, the CXC is definitely overkill for a hobbyist. I do production on a C, which is the next step down, and I learned on a B, which would be totally fine for what you're wanting. They're all the same shape, just the motors are different. They are indeed louder than the Pacifica, but I'm not bothered by the hum. I actually found the silence a bit eerie when I tried a Pacifica a couple of weeks ago.  I'm a person that works with background music, and that usually covers the wheel noise from my Brent.  

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Thank you, oldlady, Callie, and Pres, for your advice.

I read the thread you linked, Pres, which I found informative. The original questioner decided against the Pacifica largely because of its having a two rather than five year warranty, but Pacifica now has the 5 year warranty. And oldlady's experience is promising.

Oldlady, I started looking on ebay. I am doubtful I would get sufficient understanding to be able to tell the issues with a used wheel. My husband a couple of years ago got cheated on an old Subaru even though he knows Subarus pretty well. I did see a used kick-wheel for something like $50, but I think I am pretty senior to try that route. Otherwise, as you predict, I see "new" prices. But I will look further.

Callie, thank you for your information on the Brents. I had this impression too from their website, that a more economical version of the Brent would serve me just as well if I could find an affordable one. As I have only worked on the Brent, and that in a studio with other also-noisy wheels, I don't think the noise is a big issue for me, though quieter may be better for the ears, for all I know.

Again, I appreciate your advice, everyone.

 

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Partner and I both have the Shimpo VL whispers and love them and I would have to say the low noise is mostly what sets them apart to me. She's had hers for over 10 years and I have had mine for 5 or 6 I guess. Also had a Brent which was fine but loud and started out with an inexpensive Clay Boss for 5-6 months which was also just fine.

I would highly recommend them. Unless I missed it I didn't see anything on budget. New VL's, Brents and the like are  twice as much as say a new Clay Boss and really the Clay Boss is just fine and might leave you room for other things you will likely want to add to your home studio. Just a thought. 

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I have been using a Speedball Artista for almost two years in my home studio and I love it. It's portable, sturdy and almost silent. I paid about $400 for it new.  I started out as a hobbyist and it quickly turned into a part-time job. So far, the wheel has kept up with me.

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Any mid priced wheel is going to work fine for you. Get what you can afford. They all last a really long time, and do what they're supposed to do. No wheel requires a lot of maintenance, so it's really all about price if you don't need to move large amounts of clay.

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14 hours ago, Gabby said:

I read the thread you linked, Pres, which I found informative. The original questioner decided against the Pacifica largely because of its having a two rather than five year warranty, but Pacifica now has the 5 year warranty. And oldlady's experience is promising.

I'll throw my 2 cents in for Pacifica as well, I've had my GT 400 for 13 years, no issues, bought it used then.  It's been very reliable, transported it several times for use in workshops and demos.    You can buy the leg extensions or build your own, but for the cost i'd just buy the ready made ones.

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my florida wheel is a clay boss.  it is just fine for all the reasons above except for one.  because my giffin grip is set for a Pacifica sized wheelhead, i cannot use it here on the clay boss because it has a 14 inch head.  not important if you do not plan to transport a giffin grip but just another tiny factor.  yes, i know i could re-set it twice a year but it is so hard to see those tiny lines even with my 20-15 vision.  

actually, i could make a wooden bat tall enough to let the grip clear the wheelhead, or get bailey's quick trim which goes on bat pins.    hmmmm..........

Edited by oldlady
replaced word

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A small point, but I had to return a Brent wheel because I was using it on a wooden floor and the wheel would shake the room.  There are videos here of what happened.   Shouldn't be a problem if the wheel is on concrete.

 

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2 hours ago, hantremmer said:

A small point, but I had to return a Brent wheel because I was using it on a wooden floor and the wheel would shake the room.  There are videos here of what happened.   Shouldn't be a problem if the wheel is on concrete.

 

I operate 4 Brent wheels on wooden floors with no vibration issues-my guess is that wheel had something wrong with it.My wheels are a model CXC ,B,C and and A

one floor is plywood with 3 wheels the other area is 12 x2 inch plank redwood floor with one wheel-zero vibration issues .

Edited by Mark C.

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37 minutes ago, Mark C. said:

I operate 4 Brent wheels on wooden floors with no vibration issues-my guess is that wheel had something wrong with it.My wheels are a model CXC ,B,C and and A

one floor is plywood with 3 wheels the other area is 12 x2 inch plank redwood floor with one wheel-zero vibration issues .

The shop tested their other wheels - on a concrete floor - and noticed a similar vibration from their wheels as I did with mine, though it didn't travel as far.   My wooden floors are suspended, which might have affected it.

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My main wheel is a Bailey similar to the later Pro model, but I have an Arista and a Shimpo Aspire. I love the Arista for demos on the road. I use the Aspire as a grinding wheel and also for throwing different clay bodies in a pinch. Both are table top wheels with foot pedals.  I guess it depends on what you need to do. The Aspire has a brilliant design on removing the splash pan for changing clay bodies. I can go from porcelain to a black clay without a worry. Easy to clean. I can center 5 pounds on it without a problem. If you need to go bigger than that, you would need a bigger wheel.

Marcia.

 

 

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I didn't have a good experience with my Aspire.  It wouldn't run properly at slow speeds.  Also, I found I outgrew it reasonably quickly, since mine wasn't comfortable doing much more than 2kg.  Shimpo sent me a new control board, but that didn't fix the issue.  It was a grey market wheel, so I don't know if there was some electrical issue.

I got a big discount on the Shimpo saving about £2-300 - so I'd have been even more annoyed if I'd paid full price.  I had it for a year when I decided to get a bigger model.

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On 1/27/2018 at 11:56 AM, hantremmer said:

. . . . . . . .  Also, I found I outgrew it reasonably quickly, since mine wasn't comfortable doing much more than 2kg.  ... . . . . . . . .I had it for a year when I decided to get a bigger model.

Hantremmer does have a point that may not be important in your case, but may be relevant to others.  If you are beginning to work on the wheel, but are dedicated to working in Ceramics,  you might consider something a little more than what you presently need. Cheap wheels are cheap, but usually for a reason, but they do fit specific needs for people that can target a need such as Marcia and others. However, considering a mid line wheel from Brent, Shimpo, Bailey, or others makes a lot of sense. 

In my own searches years ago, I ended with a higher end wheel because I liked to throw larger pots, and needed something I could not over torque/slow down. I ended with a CXC that has worked for many years. I have also used a variety of wheels, CI MPs and HPs, Bailey Pro models, Brent B, C CX and CXC. Always slowed the lower model wheels when centering. . . .  guess I was too aggressive. I am older now, but still will use #20-30# for hump and for pots when throwing, so am happy I ended the search with the CXC.

best,

Pres

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...hate to be the naysayer, but I'll naysay it again, I would NOT recommend the Pacifica wheels. They are very electronically fragile in design.

Best find a used shimpo or Brent.

Just My2Sense

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