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kraythe

Plaster Bats? Need Advice.

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I am a hobbyist thrower on the wheel and I tried the Hydrostone bats but I had a couple of problems with them .First of all they wiggle on my pins over time and chatter which makes things harder. However more seriously I have problems throwing on them because they suck in so much water that I cant keep the bottom of my hands lubricated. I am constantly dragging against the dry stone and the grog in my clay acts like sandpaper on my hands. Furthermore when I am throwing the bottom half inch of my clay gets deprived of water in seconds and I cant push in on the base without a lot of force and even then the clay doesn't want to move. Finally, the fact that the bat is 3/4 of an inch higher than the wheel head sort of messes with this hobbyist. On the other hand I am sick of Masonite bats (which warp in 2 days), Plastic bats (which don't hold the clay to the wheel head well) and so on. So some questions. 

1. Can you give me tips on throwing on plaster so that I don't feel like my hands are on my orbital sander and even forgetting the sand, so I can maintain some kind of lubrication and it doesn't suck all the water out of the bottom of my clay in 2 seconds. 

2. Has anyone ever used a bat system that allows me to use something like versa-bat but with plaster bats or should i just get the versa bat square and cast some plaster bats to fit?  If I cast my own the thickness of the versa bat is there any kind of reinforcement I should put in the bat fro strength? 

Thanks. 

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Heres my advice

Throw a 1# ball of clay on wheel head. Center and lay this down as a flat slab on head as your are at high speed-now you have a flat slab of clay on top of wheel head. Use a fork or wood tool to put some groves into this clay pad as it spins (I'll call it a clay pad from now on)

slightly wet this pad and stick the plaster bat on top of this pad (forget the pins and remove them from wheel head before any of this)Pins and plaster are no good but the clay pad solves all this.

I throw on the clay pads for 40 Plus years with all sizes of plaster bats.No pins

when done for the day use a piece of plastic to cover the wet clay pad for the next time you need it-keep it wet or throw another if it dries out.

 

Learn to throw on any level-this is another skill but its not as hard as the others like centering. Use a wide screwdriver or knife to remove bats after throwing the pot.

You should be able to throw a pot on a any level on wheel head.Do not drag your hands or fingers on bats.

The grog is the issue it sounds -use a sponge under your fingers or use another smoother clay

 

Once you have master the clay pad and plaster combo you will never need a versa bat or any bought system.

You may wonder how to master throwing on unloved surfaces-well try to make your pad crooked(unloved) and then master throwing on uneven (unlevel surfaces. Its really not hard to center on any thing no matter the height or levelness.

You do not need to be pro to master any of this-just takes a bit of practice .

 

as to some of your issues softer clay will help you and it sounds like you are using to much water

(Finally, the fact that the bat is 3/4 of an inch higher than the wheel head sort of messes with this hobbyist.)

This should not matter-just practice

 

Edited by Mark C.

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5 hours ago, kraythe said:

First of all they wiggle on my pins over time and chatter which makes things harder.

So don't use pins. Clay pad like Mark uses or BatMate or chamois don't need pins for plaster batts.

 

5 hours ago, kraythe said:

Furthermore when I am throwing the bottom half inch of my clay gets deprived of water in seconds and I cant push in on the base without a lot of force and even then the clay doesn't want to move.

If the batts are too porous then dip them in water first, won't be so porous.

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I myself have never had a too dry bat Plaster or otherwise). Only a too wet bat ,which the clay does not stick to. This is also true of wood or plastic. bats. Dry is good as clay is wet and sticks to the dry surface.

Edited by Mark C.

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57 minutes ago, Mark C. said:

I myself have never had a to dry bat Plaster or otherwise). Only a to wet bats ,which the clay does not stick to. This is also true of wood or plastic. bats. Dry is good as clay is wet and sticks to the dry surface.

Me neither Mark, but if Kraythe feels his plaster is too dry for the way he works it might be worth a try.

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I wanted to try plaster bats as well; I'm liking them! ...some adjustments:

  My clay pad is on a bat, hence I can switch to non-plaster bats without ruining the pad. I also didn't like the reaction between red clay and the aluminum wheel head.

  To stick a bone dry plaster bat to the clay pad, looks like re-moistening the clay pad is required every time, and swipe or two with a damp (not wet) sponge on the bottom of the plaster. At each second or third bat change, I'm re-grooving and ribbing the clay pad as well.

  Before placing the clay on the plaster bat (I'm not slamming much o' anything, given the condition of my thumbs these days!), a wipe with a damp (not wet) sponge is working better for me; the clay still adheres like a starving tick. I'm putting the clay ball where I want it, no more, for the clay touching plaster turns to tar, arr.

  From there, minimal water and I'm using the wood knife to clean any skim of clay off the plaster bat, hence a sharp transition where the plaster meets the work - little or no clay under my  hands.

We scraped the bats level and smooth whilst the plaster was still wet, however, I'm throwing on the bottom side, which turned out very smooth from the molds (pie and cake pans from thrift stores, for the boss said "No" to any kitchen borrowing).

It's a different feel, as the clay is tarry where it's touching the bat. Just above the tarry layer, seems the same to me.

If starting over, perhaps I'd have gone with a system, however, the clay pad works, the concept is useful for other things, like trimming jugs, and now I'm used to it. Ha, "used to it" - I'm just starting out here, been throwing almost seven months!

I'm curious, is hydrostone more absorbent that USG No. 1 Pottery plaster?

 

Hey Mark, stopped in at Harmony Pottery yesterday, John says "Hey." He pointed out some of your work, very nice! He started that shop in '73, wow.

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(Hey Mark, stopped in at Harmony Pottery yesterday, John says "Hey." He pointed out some of your work, very nice! He started that shop in '73, wow.)

I'm sending a large order down to Harmony very soon. John is a great guy-the best business person I have dealt with. He carries a huge selection of potters there. I have never actually met him face to face or been there. But I've been sending work there for a while now.

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"He carries a huge selection of potters there."

John said about a hundred!

I'll be goin' back, to get a better look at all the pots (didn't have my inside and close up glasses with).

If you ever get 'roun' these parts, give me a shout.

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I do use more water when throwing on plaster to keep my hands from sticking or "catching" on the bat. I never noticed it until I threw on plastic bats and  compressed wood bats where you need far less water. It's just an adjustment in water usage :) My plaster bats have plastic lined holes for bat pins.. I thought I would always prefer plaster, but now I actually prefer the cheaper, lighter, bats that don't require so much water to keep things running smoothly.

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"Just look for the huge Green Guy? Or the people running away like Godzilla?"

Pretty close, yuuup.  :mellow: (I'll IM you my #)

Pop grew up by Little River, lil' town o' Crannell; we don't get up that way very often now, e'body gone, 'cept Mad Dog Murphy, my cousin, who's retired up thar in Salyer.

I haven't been throwing very long, hence "how I do" moves around quite a bit; generally, however, water usage is trending downward. A few drops might whizz off the edge of the bat, but not much. If I was faster, perhaps I could sling more water - sluicing the whole work, washing off all the slip - but I'm not very fast, takes me more that two or three pulls to get the form in shape.

I'm definitely keeping fingernails away from the bat (they don't grow back fast enough), and I'm keeping the bats clean at the base of the work - meaty edge of the thumb on plastic and particle board bats, wood knife on plaster bats.

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If you are a hobbyist potter why do you even need bats? For a rare thing here or there maybe.  But generally one does not really need bats.  I use bats for really large stuff       , but never for little stuff. In fact I even learnt to not use a bat for plates. 

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12 hours ago, preeta said:

If you are a hobbyist potter why do you even need bats? For a rare thing here or there maybe.  But generally one does not really need bats.  I use bats for really large stuff       , but never for little stuff. In fact I even learnt to not use a bat for plates. 

Bats make it easier for me to remove my pots and bowls from the wheelhead without distorting them. In my case it's because I made a custom splash pan for my CI wheel which is a just little higher than usual and it is difficult to easily slide my pieces onto a ware board. The bats that I use are non-porous, so I just cut the piece loose, lift the bat off the wheelhead, and slide the pot off the bat onto the ware board without distortion. If I use a plaster bat, I can cut the piece loose and set the bat aside and let the piece dry a little before moving it to a ware board...

JohnnyK

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I use bats a lot, not plaster, but wood or plastic. I use them for plates, for bowls  and other things. I can throw a pieces directly off the wheel head, and move them to ware boards, but lots of time I find it easier to use a bat. . . carry the piece outside on the bat, and then bring it back in later to expand the piece even more. This especially useful on large jars, some bowls, and teapots.  Bats like anything else are just another tool in the box, to be used when needed.

 

 

best,

Pres

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Lifting pots bare-handed with minimal distortion is a good potter skill to have. However....

Bats are handy when moving fresh pots decorated with slip, you can move them without touching any part of the surface. I use pot-lifters a lot for smaller pieces that I'm moving to a board. 

In a classroom situation, leaving even a cut-off piece on a large bat in the drying area or on a shelf can protect it from encroachments from others' pots.

I throw on a bat all the time. Often the same bat, cutting off and lifting any and all that I can. But when I want to leave a pot untouched for a while, or maybe come back and do some more later, a bat already on the wheel is nice to have so I can move it away and return it later and it's still on center. 

I still prefer my ancient Masonite bats. I always lean wet bats on edge to dry, never stacking. They do sometimes acquire a "cupping" when wet pots are left to dry on them. If the bat wobbles, that's probably why, just turn it over. When I have some with worn out bat pin holes, I drill a new set a few inches around. 

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Thanks for the advice. I tried the wonderbat and had the same problems I often have with the wooden bats. I was wondering if anyone has tried to cast plaster inserts for the wonderbat system? Would it be too thin? I have debated getting two of the adapters and epoxying them togetether if the batt was too thin. 

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All my throwing is on Hydrocal bats.  Hydrocal (hydrostone?) is much less absorbent than pottery plaster.  The 2 smallest size bats ride on the adapter plate pins without any fuss, but the larger sizes wobble on the pins of the wheelhead.  I just take a little slip from the throwing bucket and make 2 little piles opposite the pins on the wheel head.  Then I just slowing revolve the bat and whack it with my fist to even it out.  It's now stuck so well I have a special tool to release it.  Easily center 25 lbs.

Here's one of my favorite movie drops... 
The Matrix

Keymaster says "Always another way".

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I use 14” speedball bats. Love them. Back when C.I. Owned the company i bought my first bats from them and bought more maybe 5 years ago, both the original and the new ones are still going strong. The originals ones went thru a hurricane...literally they were blown around in 2004 during that awful hurricane season...the house had to be taken down to studs but the bats other than a bite taken out of one are still useable and flat with no pinhole wiggle and i still throw with the one with the bite out of it. I have never had my clay fly off tho they do make a bit of noise when you smack your clay in the middle of them...more so than just the wheelhead. 

I do suggest you learn how to remove your work by hand as that save you from needing too many bats. Some clays and forms take to the hand removal process better than others. But i always feel like i am giving my bowl a vulcan mind meld touch when i take it off the wheel by hand.

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Liambesaw,

I used to throw 20#-25# jars on the wheel head, would throw the cylinder up to arms, length fingertips to armpit without a shirt. Then let it set for a while, before shaping. After shaping, I would let it set overnight, and remove the next day. . . by hand. Always threw these at the end of the day. More of a challenge, than practical, but then when you are young. . .  Now days throw more in the 8-15# range for larger pieces. Throw with very little water after centering and opening up.

 

 

 

best,

Pres

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7 minutes ago, Pres said:

Liambesaw,

I used to throw 20#-25# jars on the wheel head, would throw the cylinder up to arms, length fingertips to armpit without a shirt. Then let it set for a while, before shaping. After shaping, I would let it set overnight, and remove the next day. . . by hand. Always threw these at the end of the day. More of a challenge, than practical, but then when you are young. . .  Now days throw more in the 8-15# range for larger pieces. Throw with very little water after centering and opening up.

 

 

 

best,

Pres

Well yeah letting it firm up overnight isn't much of an option :p

This larger one on the left was so top heavy I almost collapsed it just from moving it from my wheel to the wedging table!  And I came home from work today to find it past leather hard already.  I'm not used to these 90 degree days!

 

PhotoPictureResizer_190805_203616346_crop_3225x2419-1290x968.jpg

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4 minutes ago, CactusPots said:

I'm 90 degree days from June to September.  Love it.  Throw in the morning, trim in the afternoon.  Work in my studio, no shirt, no shoes, HF fan blasting.

Cactus Pots.

Lol yeah, I'm sure I'd love it if it happened more than two days a year!  This has been the most pitiful summer we have had in a long time.  We had a rockin May, and then June and July were just cold wet turds.  The 80 degree days better last into November is all I have to say haha.

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