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Pres

Studio tips: Keeping tools clean when working

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Hi folks, I was working this last week on some teapots with standard set up, fettling knife, hole cutter, magic water,  rounded wooden rib for smoothing/stretching and adding details to handles, and my sponge. I was thinking though how much I use the sponge when handle making as I am always rubbing tools on it to clean them, wiping my fingers on it to dampen them, and using it to clean up the mess without having to go anywhere. So here is a pic of my sponge for keeping tools and my hands clean and damp when handle attaching.

SpongeforCleanup.JPG.1f260d65f525bb385c371b5bb18d082c.JPG 

What working tips do you have that will help to keep work areas cleaner?

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Good tip Pres.  It doesn't just save time, and prevent dried clay crumbs from getting everywhere, but it extends the life of the tools.  I have plenty of my own tools, plus a classroom full of them, that have some pretty extensive oxidation.  The tools can be labeled "Stainless Steel" all they want, but they still rust all the same, when you give them to kids!

I am NOT the most organized person, which means that all my cleaning usually happens, once I'm done with a project.  I will say though, that I've started to keep a lot of scrap pieces of cloth around, to periodically wipe my hands on.  As I wear a lot of button ups, and plain white undershirts with them, I just started to keep some of the older ones, and cut them into pieces.  So I'll keep some near, where I'm working to remove some of the clay from my hands, before doing something less messy, or to pat them dry, after rinsing them in my water bucket.  It does save a bit of time, as I don't have to make frequent trips to the sink.

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Benz,

Ya gotta remember it's Stain-less Steel, not Stainless Steel. big difference.

But I'm with you guys, that IS a great tip pres.

I have a strip of pipe insolation around the edge of my splash pan, I stick my needle tools in it to keep them handy and to save my fingers from getting stuck when I'm feeling around for a needle tool. Less blood to clean up!

graybeard

 

Edited by graybeard
my bad

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I keep a kitchen towel clipped to a hook on the front of my work bench for wiping my hands on, but the sponge thing is a good idea. Also I have a box of rags made of cut up men's shirts (thrift store here has a universal $2 on clothing, awesome deal) I'll wash or toss depending on how gross they get. Buckets of about a gallon in the sink, the water gets poured out the next day, the sludge either goes into another bucket or if still cloudy into one of about five clear plastic jugs formerly containing drinking water and allowed to settle further, same with glaze, mixes of clay and glaze. Generally I use a ton of weeny tools while I'm working and out of frustration I tend to just put them into open jars with clay still on them, and clean up before I change clay colors. Yes, bad studio maintenance and I really need to reduce the clay colors I work with, inching closer to that. 

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on the topic of keeping cleaner as you work, I throw with slip more than water.  When I want a tool, I always end up reaching for it with clay covered hands and spreading the slip all over the tools in my storage jar, looking for the one I want.  I'm thinking I need a 2nd small bucket of CLEAN water for hands before I reach for a the tools.  I am trying to redefine what 'clean ' means in my studio..

recently I got a sheet of that thin board from Lowes that you might use for lining cheap shower stalls, slick, WHITE and water resistant.  I covered my main work table that the wheel sit beside and where I put the blls of clay I will be throwing, used tools , towels etc.  Now, I can't pretend I have cleaned up, the white surface screams 'No, you didn't"  no excuses now, 

 

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pres, meant to thank you for the sponge tip last time you mentioned it.   i keep my slab roller surface very clean so i can use it as a work surface.  it is higher than a table and the 2 inch high pile of carpet pad and rubber mat in front of it takes the pressure off my feet.  tiny bits of clay get slid into two plastic boxes attached to the table by screws so they do not move.  and old kitchen towels are on nails at each end.

but i never thought of keeping a wet sponge handy since i work very dry.  wiping clay off the wallpaper smoothing  tools is about as wet as i get but then i have to wipe the fingers full of clay.  your suggestion made me put a wet sponge, the same as yours, into a flat dish located just behind me so i can turn around and wipe fingers and tools.  2 rubber bands hold the sponge still on the heavy dish so it does not slide around in use.

so, officially,   THANK YOU, PRESTON!:D

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41 minutes ago, oldlady said:

 

so, officially,   THANK YOU, PRESTON!:D

Gee, You are quite welcome, but for me it is a pleasure to be of help. This is after all the place to find good advice and tips to working in the studio.  Have to love the forum for all the help it has given to me over the years, now and then it is nice to PAY BACK.

 

best,

Pres

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On 8/12/2018 at 11:48 PM, clay lover said:

on the topic of keeping cleaner as you work, I throw with slip more than water.  When I want a tool, I always end up reaching for it with clay covered hands and spreading the slip all over the tools in my storage jar, looking for the one I want.  I'm thinking I need a 2nd small bucket of CLEAN water for hands before I reach for a the tools.  I am trying to redefine what 'clean ' means in my studio..

 

I threw myself a water bowl which has a deliberately sharp edge on the inside of the rim. I swipe each hand across the rim which leaves them clean and dry enough to handle tools or lift a pot off the wheelhead. Quick and simple action.  The excess slip flows back into the throwing water, or sometimes accumulates in a ball just inside the rim and then I can occasionally sweep that out into my recycling bucket.

gallery_72039_1285_111413.jpg

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I always have a damp towel on me.  

I basically throw with slip too. I also collect the slip to slip my pots. So I transform a liquid laundry container so I can have the sharp edges.  

To reach for my tools I swipe my hands on the sharp rim, then I wipe my hands on the damp towel. But by the end of the day my regular throwing tools get muddy.  The container that holds my throwing tools is a plastic basket. I let it soak in the water at the sink then submerge again and run my hands thru so I don’t clean each tool. Nor do I lose any.  

I really like my damp towel and the kaftan/dress I wear to throw. Rinse them out at the end of the day and they are dry when I come in next day.  

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