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I teach basic wheel throwing to adults at a senior community program.  We only have 15 wheels because of lack of space in the studio.  We do have lots of sturdy wooden worktables because this space is also used as a multi-purpose studio.  I was thinking of having the management purchase some table top wheels .  These wheels would be set up on the worktables and offered as an option for those adults  that can't sit for long periods of time, have a bad back and /or maybe obese to where sitting at the wheel presents some physical challenges.  I figure most beginners start off using a pound or two for centering and throwing small cylinders to start, then progress to making tumblers. tea bowls, cups and rice bowls.  Or use the table top wheels for trimming.  

Having this option could increase the enrollment and relieve some of the challenges and stress a beginner might encounter sitting at the wheel.

Comments and/or recommendations are welcome,

 

 

 

 

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I have not used a table top wheel, but know of many that have them especially to supplement their work load. One who comes to mind is Marcia Selsor as I was around when she bought one at NCECA a few years back. She says she loves it for some things, and I think she also trims on it. Maybe she will catch this thread and horn in.

 

 

best,

Pres 

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I think that would be a great decision.  Anything you can do to increase enrollment and work within that confines of what you have, in regards to facilities is a win!

A lot of potters, seem to be raising their wheels to a standing position anyway, for back saving reasons.

You won't be able to center 100 lbs. of clay, and make 4 ft. tall vases on them, but for what you mentioned you'll be doing, I imagine they'll work great.

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I bought a Shimpo Aspire last year, something small for transport for demos.  I really like it.  The only downside is the bat pins are not in the same place as on a regular wheel head, so you can't change out bats with every pot.  But you can get more bats or just remove your work and place on a wareboard or drill holes in a different place....lots of options.  

Roberta

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I debated starting a new thread, but I think Scottiebie might also benefit from these questions...

Besides the obvious pros of tabletop wheels, what are the big drawbacks? Why don't people recommend them more often? When discussing buying a wheel, most people recommend just going straight to a freestanding wheel. It seems to me like 25lbs of clay is a LOT of clay for a hobbyist. Are there common features in a freestanding wheel that are often missing with tabletops?

What, specifically, should someone like me (looking to throw mostly culinary-sized pieces) look for if considering a tabletop wheel? Torque? Weight? Foot pedal? 

Recommendations are much appreciated!

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45 minutes ago, OttPott said:

I debated starting a new thread, but I think Scottiebie might also benefit from these questions...

Besides the obvious pros of tabletop wheels, what are the big drawbacks? Why don't people recommend them more often? When discussing buying a wheel, most people recommend just going straight to a freestanding wheel. It seems to me like 25lbs of clay is a LOT of clay for a hobbyist. Are there common features in a freestanding wheel that are often missing with tabletops?

What, specifically, should someone like me (looking to throw mostly culinary-sized pieces) look for if considering a tabletop wheel? Torque? Weight? Foot pedal? 

Recommendations are much appreciated!

Tabletop wheels do not have nearly as much torque, so even though you might not be throwing 25 pounds, they can slow down on smaller stuff, too. The motors are smaller, so they have to work harder and won't last as long. They don't come standard with a pedal (they have a hand dial), and on some brands the optional pedal is not good. Their design limits how wide a piece you can throw. They don't use standard size bats.

So there are several limitations. But that doesn't mean they're not good. You just have to know what you're getting into and be willing to deal with those limitations. As a travel wheel, or in a school situation with limited space they are perfect. For a serious potter, no. If you can afford the $450 for a table top, and you have space for a standard wheel, it's only another $300 for a standard wheel that will work very well and won't have the limitations.

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Brent makes a solid table top Model IE that is a table top and you can use with legs as a regular wheel-great foot pedal. Of course its not a cheap one -but it does both functions and has a real foot pedal .

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I had a lot of problems with my Shimpo Aspire, but despite Shimpo's help we weren't abel to fix it.  It might have been because it was a grey import rather than an official one.

I know they have them at the Leach Pottery, albeit in a classroom that, I think, is used for school visits and maybe evening classes and things like that.

Edited by hantremmer

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I have a Speedball Artista  wheel and I like it, (the foot pedal isn't worth a d@&n though) but I have no problem

using the speed knob. The Artista DOES use standard bats. No, it isn't as powerful as my AMACO model b,

and yes, you can slow it down while centering, but it's a good less costly option.

stay safe

graybeard

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