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kristinanoel

favorite throwing gauge / tombo to recommend?

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Hi all, 

As I dive into the beauty of repetition, I find myself in need of a better way to quickly and accurately measure various dimensions while throwing and trimming. The only two tools I'm aware of are the single (or multi arm) throwing gauge and the tombo sticks, and I'm looking for your pro/con experiences with either of those, a source for purchase, or any other recommendations you might have. 

Thanks,

Kristina

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Learnt from Simon Leach. A blob of clay on the rim of the splash pan. Stick in your gauge which usually is a stick. I use a brush.  It’s still that point idea which give you both width and height at one point. Very accurate.  Basically a throwing gauge  

I still prefer the red dot pointer light but haven’t rigged it up yet.  

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Not to be a stick in the mud (very very bad pun, naughty boy, go to your room and don't come out until you have picked up all your toys...) but a concern with the stick (or whatever) in the blob of clay on the edge of the splash pan is that if you are going to do a long production run over a considerable length of time, the clay will begin to dry and shrink, and the pointer end of the stick will move. The movement will be imperceptible from piece to piece, but the size of the last piece of the day will not be the same as the first.

If you don't mind spending a bit more than a trip you your favorite coffee shop to snitch some extra stirring stick Hsin-Chuen Lin (of UBoob video fame) markets a metal adjustable tombo gauge with measured markings and an alternate configuration of the tool to measure the thickness of the bottom of your pot before you trim (so you know exactly who deep you can trim your footring).

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I like to use the cheap flexible straws stuck in a piece of clay when I don't have anything better for consistency. I use a pair of calipers for lids/mouths.

 

best,

Pres

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Isaac Button showing the value of a throwing gauge (about 20 seconds in):

 

 

Out of interest, I believe that Mr Button's (temporary) assistant here is Robert Fournier, who made the film. Founder of the Craft Potters Association, excellent potter, author (Building Electric Kilns, Dictionary of Pottery Form, Practical Pottery, British Pottery Marks, plus several novels), pacifist, film-maker (he made studio films of one of the Leachs - forget which one - and Rosemary Wren).

Edited by Sputty

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I use a 10" log from my pugmill wrapped in a piece of plastic held in place with rubber band. Shove long handled plastic brush in it and set to height/width. Heavy/doesn't move, doesn't dry out and shift size, easy to adjust/set, brush doesn't gouge pot rims if you get too big,  hang wire tool over brush, needle tool gets shoved in top of log. Use a pair of plain old calipers to measure your floor opening and keep your weight of balls consistent=uniform pot sizes. 

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sputty, thank you for reviving isaac button!  remember seeing the videos years ago and so appropriate today when "work" seems to be a word from the past.  someone must have asked him to remove the pipe so we could see his face.  i think the reason he kept it in his mouth is that there is nowhere to put it that it would not get covered with clay.:P

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33 minutes ago, oldlady said:

so appropriate today when "work" seems to be a word from the past.

When Button retired in the mid-60s, he had already spent nearly 20 years running the pottery on his own, unable to find anyone willing to become an apprentice. That neatly coincides with the end of the second World War, when returning servicemen were looking for 'better' things - I suppose - than slapping a ton of clay around every day for pennies. Before the war, there were a dozen or so working at Soil Hill, Button's workshop.

 

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Lovely throwing demo! Found myself holding my breath during the long first raising pass of the last big piece, then slow exhales on the shaping passes and big smile for the collar/shoulder mastery.

Note: the temporary plug on the freshly thrown form keeps air inside to hold its shape for moving. 

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54 minutes ago, Rae Reich said:

Lovely throwing demo!

Indeed!

I'm a great admirer of old country pottery and potters, particularly the British and the French. There's a few minutes of film of the old Verwood Pottery (Dorset, UK) somewhere, which is equally telling of both technique and characters. Fabulous stuff. And they all use pot gauges (desperately tries to pretend that this thread is still on topic...).

 

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1 hour ago, Callie Beller Diesel said:

The technique used for lifting what are probably 30 lb wet pots off the wheel is pretty cool too.

Traditionally a cow's rib was used, although Button seems to have gone all modern here.

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14 hours ago, Sputty said:

When Button retired in the mid-60s, he had already spent nearly 20 years running the pottery on his own, unable to find anyone willing to become an apprentice. That neatly coincides with the end of the second World War, when returning servicemen were looking for 'better' things - I suppose - than slapping a ton of clay around every day for pennies. Before the war, there were a dozen or so working at Soil Hill, Button's workshop.

 

That was true of George Orr too. He died a mechanic, not a potter. And his burnt babies sat in a box for 50 years in a museum before they were discovered. I think by accident. 

I forget the historical east coast family that could not even hold on to their property and had to sell it in 2015/16 I believe.  

Locally I have watched a local pottery factory get smaller and smaller. It makes me sad for the history we are losing...

I feel it’s similar to farming. Old farmers are dying without passing on their knowledge.  Yet I see new farmers come up who have to learn from scratch.  

I hear young potters in the age of 3D printers say why learn the wheel.  Yet ceramic programs in Asian universities are growing.  

Its all changing and evolving!!!

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I hope, and have believed that much of what we value as a society defines the society. It seems money is the largest factor of late, even though some folks do things for the love of doing them. There are those that have their hobbies, woodworking, ceramics, jewelry or bead craft, or even sewing. However, is going by the wayside as Preeta says. Does it take another revival as we went through in the 50-80's, for much of the interest in "hand crafted/made returns? Seems like there will be a time when time at hand is more available, as more and more of actual production becomes so automated. Will this stimulate a return to valuing things that are once again made by hand with skill and taste. Will the only folks that will appreciate this be the ones with money?

I hope this is not just a dream, but know that I will not see it happen.

 

best,

Pres

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4 minutes ago, Pres said:

I hope, and have believed that much of what we value as a society defines the society. It seems money is the largest factor of late, even though some folks do things for the love of doing them. There are those that have their hobbies, woodworking, ceramics, jewelry or bead craft, or even sewing. However, is going by the wayside as Preeta says. Does it take another revival as we went through in the 50-80's, for much of the interest in "hand crafted/made returns? Seems like there will be a time when time at hand is more available, as more and more of actual production becomes so automated. Will this stimulate a return to valuing things that are once again made by hand with skill and taste. Will the only folks that will appreciate this be the ones with money?

I hope this is not just a dream, but know that I will not see it happen.

 

best,

Pres

Quite.

Robert Fournier, who I referenced above, always said he became involved in pottery as a way of showing his profound distaste for an ever more commercialised existence. I was thrilled to discover this; my own entry into the field was led by much the same (small 'p') politics, although in a different (back to the earth, hippy-ish) era. I've always considered pottery (and other crafts) a socio-political exercise, with spiritual undertones, if that doesn't sound way too pompous (<-- I hope it doesn't - it's a way of reflecting the potential value of an activity, not necessarily the intrinsic value of the individual pursuing it.)

Somewhere on another thread, I'm having difficulty articulating my belief that the superficial and the showy has taken precedence over the deeply-felt. It's all part of the same examination, I think.

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this is an interesting conversation here. 

one of the things i am discovering as my 15 shares her world history thoughts with me is that there is no 'one' society.  As we talked about suffragette i suddenly realized that is the history of one part of society, not all of it.  that privilege for some others still had to wait 50 years.

yes one part of society is valued by money. but that makes sense doesnt it?  when we have such an elitist society.  perhaps if we had  more of an egalitarian society money wouldnt be such a big thing.  

i think the world is full of non Robert Fourners, but there are always a few Robert Fourner's who do question and survive.  while maybe the majority values dont match the minority value, but there are people who ARE choosing family over a better paying job. the minority does have a voice and it does exist. 

bottom line is we have to choose which way to go.  what we want to do. there is still a choice.  its these teenagers who have helped me see that. they are not falling into the buy in. even though they realize they are biased  by the ads they are struggling and suffering to be  true to their own beliefs. 

i mean today we still have handmade embroidery. we really shouldnt have since the sewing machine came out over 200 years ago. 

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