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GreyBird

Plaster for wedging table

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OK, I ordered the good stuff, Hydrocal, from Baileys. Next question... I am going to fill the top of this table I have with plaster. I'm wondering, if I mix it a bucket at a time will I be able to do it quick enough to fill the table before the bottom layer of plaster begins to set. I'm thinking that might make the plaster weak. Do I have to mix the entire amount to fill the tabletop at one time in order to get best results? The table top is 23" X 65" X 4". Is there a time frame I should shoot for if mixing in batches?

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I hope you have a VERY sturdy table.  If I pushed the right buttons on my calculator, your slab will contain 3.4 cubic feet of plaster - which the charts at sculpt.com, indicate will weigh nearly 375lbs wet (depending on mix ration), and over 300 lbs dry. 

Instead of pouring large, thin layers, you might want to consider doing it the way they pour concrete highways:  divide your table into sections that you can fill with a single 'batch', and pour each section full depth.  (Use a piece of plywood, or a 1x4, etc.).     Advantages of sections:  If an area gets damaged, you can replace just that section...  and, if you ever want/need to move the table, you can move it in pieces - like they do pool-tables - instead of trying to move one giant 300 pound chunk. 

 

 

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Well, I used to work in an art supply store years ago, until it went out of business. The owner gave me this awesome, super sturdy bench with slide out drawers and lots of cubbies for art supplies. I've been using the small 18" square of plaster to wedge on for quite a while and I've been pondering making a new one. Especially since for instance today I had a bunch of slab work I wanted to do but couldn't because I'm drying this river clay slurry on my small wedging block. 

I was researching how to make a wedging table and it mentioned using a formica countertop as a base and using wood for the four sides etc. Then I noticed that the top of my supply bench is formica and has a four inch border right, left and back. I just needed to screw a piece of woo across the front and. I'm ready to pour. I'd have a nice large functional top. 

I love the idea of doing it in sections. That will work well. I could in that case decide to only pour half the top but I think I'd still like to do the whole top.bI mean why not... more room!

 

 

 

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#1 pottery plaster is the best -not sure why the hyrodcal?

I have a huge table but its my living-its really two separate tables for white and brown clays-they are separate .

I would divide your table in at least two if not three sections with a 1x4 or 2x6 whatever fits best to be even with the top. Make your pours in those sections-get some help and mix a few buckets at the same time then pour a section. 

Just to remind you that table will be extremely heavy to move.Mine never moves-ever

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Thanks. I will never ever move the table :) Actually, the Bailey's website isn't working very well, They're working on a new one,  so they'll need to call me on Monday to straighten out the order which the website completely botched. I'll switch from Hydrocal to #1 Pottery Plaster. I had ordered Hydrocal just based on the product description that said it is harder and more durable. But if you say #1 is best, I believe you! Also I found a great source for figuring exactly how many bags I'll need: http://www.lakesidepottery.com/HTML Text/Tips/Making Wedging Table.htm But I can tackle all that tomorrow :) Thanks so much for all our help!

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I definitely will be using a lot of river clay so will need to be using it to dry that. I make it into a slurry then dry until workable on plaster. So yes, I use the plaster surface for more than wedging. I also like it for setting slabs.

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I think hydracal is tougher surface-but as Neil say it will work fine.

I agree about making it that large it will be really heavy .

My slabs of plaster are not wrapped in wood  anymore as I removed them so the slabs dry out better after absorbing wet clay. Something to consider in a tight table like that.

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OK, so after a good night sleep, I've decided to not fill the tabletop with plaster, but instead to make wood frames and pour individual 2'x2' slabs. This way I can move them around the studio or line them up on the table if I want and the edges will be open so they can expel moisture better as Mark makes a good point about the slabs drying better that way.

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looking at all that nice,horizontal surface you were planning to use for plaster made me think about the height of that table and how comfortable (or not) it would be for wedging.  i do not wedge often and use a lower tabletop for it so i can lean some weight into the spiral.   

i would consider using the underside of that big tray as a worktable.   that would depend on your height and what you might need to do to flip it over.  beautiful daylight through the window, it would make a marvelous place to assemble things, add handles, etc.  just about elbow height is very good for your posture if you stand to work.  you might think about it.  trying to work inside a trough would be limiting but the underside, yes, it might work well.

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I agree I think it is too high for a wedging table. It is 35" tall and add 2 to 4" of plaster and, well, too high. I just liked the idea of having that nice horizontal apace, as you mentioned, for work. I'm not sure what you are referring to when you mention the "underside of that bid tray"? I know my shot is cluttered with stuff because I had cleared off the top of the art supply cabinet in prep for my big plaster project so it can be hard to see exactly what's what but there is a big red worktable in the center and the art table against the back wall.

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your picture is fine, but where you see an Art table, i see a trough.  a place with sides that would interfere with putting my arm down on the horizontal surface.  the brown part of your art table.

it looks like a long tray as it stands now.  if you unscrew the brown part and flip it upside down, you might have a flat, horizontal tabletop.  maybe, i don't know what is underneath the board that is holding your fan, just screw holes or something else.    or, just put a piece of plywood across the whole thing for a top.

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Yea, it is part of a larger structure that I could not take apart. Keep in mind though I screwed the front piece of wood on thinking I would be filling it with plaster. This morning I took it back off as my plan changed. So the whole front is open to rest your arms on. In any case, I prefer to work at the red table because I can site at a chair and work where the supply bench I would have to stand. I am not fond of standing for long periods of time. LOL. See in pic.. I started moving stuff back as I use it as more of a bench for tools and such.

IMG-2773 2.jpg

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