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shawnhar

Centering 50lbs on a VL Whisper?

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The Whisper models are very low torque, so they'll have a problem if you try to do too much at once. There are ways of dealing with larger amounts of clay, though, without tackling it all at once. Your arms will appreciate that as well.

D.M.Ernst likes this

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Thanks Neil, I definitely would not be manhandling that much clay, even the 10lbs was rough since I'm so inexperienced, but I can't imagine someone trying to center 25lbs on that thing without some special technique requiring lots of experience.

 I'm thinking about future wheel purchase and the whisper is starting to look very attractive because of the low noise, but, wondering if I would regret it if I tried to throw some giant 30/40lb planters or even more just to see how big I could go. Not that it's my goal or anything but I will want to see what my limits are at some point, pretty sure I will try 25lbs within the next 6 weeks or so once I have enough recycled material. 

It would just be too cool if the studio owner told me "We don't have a kiln big enough for that" - :D

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21 minutes ago, shawnhar said:

It would just be too cool if the studio owner told me "We don't have a kiln big enough for that" - :D

First thing you EVER do when working in a new studio is measure the kilns 

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When I make big 40-50 pound planters, I throw 12-13 pound sections, then assemble them wet, give a couple pulls and shape them. I can make pots larger and thinner with less clay by working that way. Same goes for big jars. If I do two 8 pound sections I can make a larger thinner pot than doing it all in one 16 pound piece. And my wrists really appreciate it.

D.M.Ernst, Benzine, terrim8 and 1 other like this

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A sectional is on my target list but smaller forms to start practice. Gotta get a little torch or a heat gun 1st since I have to rush pieces. Hard to get then dry enough when you only have 3 hours.

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Thanks Mark, I'm starting to get the idea these wheel manufacturers are just throwing numbers out there. The Shimpo VL Whisper says it can center 100lbs but there are a lot of comments on this forum from folks saying it doesn't have the torque to do it. Guess I'm leaning back to the Skutt Revolution

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Most wheels will advertise the ability to center 50-100#, but you may be there all day doing it. I have thrown larger pots up to 40# on my CXC years ago, but it took two 20# balls to get there, and the opening up was done with fist pounding motion, and I used wooden rib/hand brace tools to move the clay. These were made to brace into the arm. You get the pulls started with these, after first opening, shuck them later and finish throwing.

 

best,

Pres

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It also depends on how soft the clay is, and how hard you're squeezing it. You can move a lot of clay on a weak wheel, you just can't do it very quickly. The horsepower rating of the wheel doesn't really matter, it's how they use the power. A 1/3hp Skutt can do as much as a 1hp Brent. If you look at the hp of Soldner wheels they're very small, but they're super powerful because of the pedal controller.

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I did some throwing last month at an art center on a whisper. They are great for classroom situations as they are so quiet but just do not have the torque to work on larger pieces.

There are many wheels that will do that work all day long for most of ones life.

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I know you are here to learn (cause you said so!) so I will be brutally honest (you explicitly asked for that!) and tell you that only a beginner would ask such a question. 

The very seasoned and experienced throwers you have just heard from here are telling you that they mostly do NOT sit around throwing 50  pound pots every day.  And when you have more experience you will understand why, and what techniques (namely composite and coil and throw) are in fact typically used to throw large vessels.  

Not that you CAN’T put some whopping big amount of clay on the wheel and get a pot out of it, just that the more you know the less likely you are to do this (unless that particular process has some inherent value for you, eg, like the guy that used to demo for Speedball, but that is another matter ).  And make no mistake that ANY wheel head can be stopped dead if you put enough reverse torque on it.   But that is hardly what we spend our days dreaming of doing, or?...

Why does this matter?  Because you would be well advised not to make your decision on what wheel to buy on this basis.  There are many other factors which are almost certainly more important, including design, functionality, configuration, reputation, price, after-purchase support, warranty, etc, etc, most of which have been discussed at length in many threads on these forums.  

I will close by saying that everyone has their own slant.  At the moment i am throwing larger bottles using the aforementioned techniques, and sometimes end up with 40 or 50 lbs of clay on the wheel, but at the end, never at the beginning.    I deliberately bought a VL Whisper last year to do this (sectional) and many other kinds of throwing, and have not been disappointed.  It performs comprehensively well.  Not saying you should get one - just saying I wouldn’t rule it out on the basis suggested by the title of this thread.

 

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I guess I just don't approach any of the limits of the Whisper VL model so I think it's a great wheel.  I chose the VL whisper because of it being both highly rated AND quiet. I have a hearing problem so that was important to me. Some people on the other hand love the sound of the wheel when they throw.  I threw with a cheap BOSS and Brent IE for a half a year as well and I thought they were fine as well.

Ya know I only really chimed in because I've been there with making these decisions and outfitting a small studio and I think the best thing you can do is match the equipment to the need, not just the biggest or most expensive. A pro who moves through a ton of clay a month might need a large pug mill to handle scrap where a low volume potter like me does just fine with a 25lb Peter Pugger.

The main take away from the approach is you will end up getting more bang for your buck. That might mean expanding your budget to include a nice slab roller with advanced features, a de-airing pug mill/mixer and/or recirculating sink. Certainly if you have the bucks and just go outfit your studio with the most expensive everything you will have a great studio but if dollars are important then you might not want to pay for features and deeps specs that are not going to be taken advantage of and as a result have to forgo something else that you would use.   

 

Edited by Stephen
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pardon me for the interruption.  i just cannot imagine needing to throw 50 pounds of clay and firing it in a normal kiln more than once in a career.  why the emphasis on size in your decision?  maybe you have a business that sells huge planters like the guys in england on youtube.  if so, you would also have the space and means to store huge amounts of clay, move wet pots and store them while drying, plus load a huge kiln on a regular basis.  if that is your aim, great.   otherwise, it seems pointless.  am i missing something?

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Your'e not missing anything, your response is actually spot on. I did see the guys in England making huge planters, and Guy Wolff, and huge bottles by Ben Owen.  Maybe that would be something only done once, maybe I'd hire a kid to help and build a giant kiln in the back yard. I don't know what I don't know yet and curious if buying that wheel would rule out trying to throw massive pots. Not my goal, but neither is making mugs. I don't have a goal yet for any shape/size but I wouldn't want the quiet wheel if it severely limits the size you can make.

I'm a newb  and male, so of course I want to try it. I don't have the experience and wisdom to know most people don't do that, they stack sections, which is perfect. That means I could start with this wheel and still try my hand at some giant pieces when the time comes.

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If making a living at ceramics is a goal just keep in mind the small stuff is what sells best and pays the bills. Large work sell occasionally but its not  what will pay the bills.

Small affordable items is what people want to buy every day.Things like spoon rests,sponge holders and of course mugs-Mugs outsell all other forms-they always will. Everyone uses them everyday.

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Thanks Mark, Iv'e read that many times and take it to be true.

Forming a business model in my head that contains "mug math", where survival means 30 mugs a day, or whatever sells. Big bottle or other things I want to try don't become an option until quota is met.

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On 11/04/2018 at 12:16 AM, shawnhar said:

It would just be too cool if the studio owner told me "We don't have a kiln big enough for that" - :D

This SOUNDS cool until the moment that you actually have to cut the top off a large vessel which you have spent hours throwing into just the shape you wanted.  Then cool is not the word you will using.... speaking from experience on this one...

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When I was at grad school. . . Penn State, never a problem as the kilns were taller than my height with 12" more in some cases. However, my little L&l only has 5 sections, and one of the grad dsys pieces would have taken up most of the kiln, a few pieces random packed around the sides. I would build the kiln around the jars back then, and that took a little whooffing for on person to do also without chipping the pot, or bricks. In the long run most of the large pieces these days are only 15-18#. but larger pieces are usually slab/thrown assemblies. I get too tired pulling marge masses anymore.

 

best,

Pres

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