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Is a “ Giffin Grip “ worth it’s weight in gold

As yes I have trouble centering and trimming without my piece flying off the wheel quiet often.

Thank you

Ps forgot to add have a sticky pad ( diamond core)Hasn't helped me  

Edited by Nicky S

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Its best to learn how to trim  pots with wet clay blobs and tap centering.

Its a skill that takes practice.

I feel that a giffen is a tool for production potters like myself

I can tap center and use clay to hold any pot down

its a skill like throwing-learn it as you did throwing.

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Yes! I love my giffin grip.

Next to the wheel itself, it's probably my favorite tool. 

I find that it saves an incredible amount of time and clay (the clay you use to hold a pot with lugs dries out quickly, then has to be recycled) and I wouldn't want to face trimming without it. Makes it incredibly easy to pick up a piece and check your trimming. It works beautifully for my process, but of course ymmv, and since it is kind of pricey see if you can borrow one to try before you buy.

I will say that it doesn't help me for small pieces, like ring dishes, or flat things like plates, but otherwise, it's a fantastic tool. The other issue I have is that it does get 'out of center' every 7-10 pieces, I solve this by rotating the grips to a different location. Does anyone else that uses and likes the giffin grip have this issue? How do you solve it?

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never had this issue (Does anyone else that uses and likes the giffin grip have this issue? How do you solve it?)

How can it get out of center?The sliders can only go equally to center?Is you taps that hold it to wheel head set up right?

I use 2 of them every week

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Honestly, I'm not sure how it happens, but when I feel like it's off I'll put a round plastic jar with lid on it and use a pencil to test, and sure enough, it'll be way off.  The sliders do have a little bit of a give as the move equally to center, wonder if that's the cause? Since you've never had the issue, I wonder if I have a dud? I'm probably past warranty, but for the price, I'll give them a call to see if this is a known issue. 

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@Nicky S The giffin grip will not prevent your pot from flying off the wheel any better than clay wads. They both work just as well for that function.

The benefit of the giffin grip is that it saves time when getting your pot on and off the wheel for trimming. If you are producing low volumes of pots, then it is not worth the price. If you are producing high volumes, it is well worth the price.

@kristinanoel, I’ve never had my giffin grip holders go out of center either. 

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If your pot is flying off the wheel, there are a few things that could be happening. 

1) did you dampen the wheel head, and push the pot down gently once it’s centred  so that the piece vacuums down a bit before you put the clay wads in place?

2) is the pot a little on the dry side? They’re easier to knock loose if  the rim of the piece is a bit beyond leather hard. If the pot is pretty dry,  it can also suck enough moisture out of the clay wads and make them shift.

3) is your tool dull, leading you to push too hard on the piece, or are you trying to take off too much at once? A sharp tool with a light touch is easier on your work and on your body. 

4) are you keeping your off hand on top of the pot and applying downward pressure while supporting your dominant hand holding the trimming tool? This trick prevents a lot of high speed pot launches. Proper bracing is just as important during trimming as it is during centering.

As others have mentioned, trimming is yet another skill to practice and master when learning to make pots. It definitely makes that Giffen grip look really tempting, but the price point is definitely a factor. My job is my pottery, but I’m not at the point where I’m doing Mea or Mark’s level of volume, and I don’t own a GG yet. I trimmed 50 pots on Saturday just tap centering. It took me  about 4 hours, including stretch breaks. Full disclosure: I did borrow a friend’s GG to try, and I found I I don’t like using one.

Your struggles are normal, and we’ve all been there. Keep at it!

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I love my Giffen Grip.  I know how to tap center, and can do so, but it does save time, when I'm doing quite a few pieces (No where near Mark C.'s version of "Quite a few", but still...)

The other reason I like mine, is for applying glaze and underglaze in even lines. 

It is also an invaluable tool, in my classroom.  I just don't have time to teach 20-30 kids how to tap center.  If I'm lucky, they get "OK" at centering.

 

I can't really say I've had the pads get off-center/ uneven.  As the track gets filled with trimmings, they don't slide as well, but that shouldn't be able to stop one pad from moving the same amount, in relation to the rest. 

Usually, if mine seems off-center, it is because I put it on the wheel head in a way, where it is hitting my bat pins funny.  So it's actually wobbling. 

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I have been using a Griffin Grip for over 25 years now, and even though I can center anything in almost any way imaginable from inside and outside thrown chucks to tap centering, the GG is my tool of choice these days. I have found ways to use it for centering chalice stems, jar lids and other things that makes production work quicker and less painful. I also use it to assemble pots like chalices and stem spoons on honey jars, as I can center as I join.

I really think you are best off if not producing a lot of pieces to learn to tap, and  use chucks so that  when you get a GG you will understand the way use it creatively.

 

best,

Pres

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we each have a favorite tool, i guess i love my GIFFIN GRIP.    i only use the low sliders.  i have made it much more useful by doing two things.   marking my wheel with the location of the feet that hold it onto the wheelhead so it goes on without the possibility of hitting the bat pins and winding up tilted.   and using a sharpie to mark the divisions that come from running a line across the top from each of the 3 slots.  gives me 3 which i divided again into 6.   the sharpie also puts  concentric lines about a half inch apart so i can easily tell where to put the pot down inside the sliders.  so i guess that is 3 improvements.

unfortunately, unless you can do the tiny lines adjustment,  it needs to be used on the exact size wheelhead every time.  it will not fit on my florida wheel, a clay boss since it was set for my pacifica and i cannot see the tiny lines to adjust it.    so i have a bailey quick trim, the very large one because i can use it anywhere because it fits on bat pins.  and makes a nice tabletop to allow more space in the tiny studio.

it is also a "forever" tool, i cannot imagine it wearing out before i do so the original cost many, many years ago has been a bargain.

128441342_Studio023.JPG.4ffcfa5a6909902bf2ccab7085614c5d.JPG

Edited by oldlady
add

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Okay! I'll admit that in 40 years of pots I never was able to tap center. I tried and tried. I figure it's one of those things like catching a thrown ball that requires you to not think about it, just do it. So, I'm an over-thinker. 

I centered visually, using the guidelines on the wheelhead, and clay lumps. I also learned to approach the piece gently and firmly, at low or moderate speed, keeping a finger or two of the hand not holding the tool resting on the top (bottom). Too slow will create drag, though, so I learned from experience.

A too-dry pot will always be problematic because it will resist the tool. Then you press too hard and off it goes !

I also made a lot of pieces without trimmed feet, learning to leave less clay in the base and also I love the look of that seashell mark left by a twisted wire. Those I just wipe round the edge with a finger or chamois, then tap gently in their bases to recess the center slightly. 

I got myself a Griffin Grip as soon as I could afford it. I don't use it for everything, see above, but for quantities of trimming it can't be equaled. You still have to approach the pot without aggression :) 

I never had it go off-center except when clay clogged the channel. Then, readjustment was as described.

 

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rae, i guess we all work differently, i have never clogged the channel, the fast moving trimmings fly off, hit the band of aluminum and fall to the tabletop.   i cannot really tap into the center either.  nor can i reliably use a wire to cut off the pot.  i just leave them on the batt to dry sufficiently to remove.  by then, the clay is just perfect for cutting long, thin curls that i sometimes have to stop and remove because they surround the pot.    remember when you tried to remove the skin from an orange in one piece?  when i make empty bowls in a series, they sit and wait.  some get drier than that perfect point, a sponge returns them to almost perfect.  the photo shows trims that were done when the pot was almost dry.

no pot it too dry to trim.   just use a sponge with enough water not to drip down the outside wall to the base.    if that happens, the water sits there eating at the rim and wrecks it all.  as you remove a layer,  wet the next layer and just continue until done.

just try the water treatment i have suggested so often.  dry a piece of clay totally.  dip it in clean water  quickly.  use a knife or scraping tool and see how much water is actually absorbed.  do it again and again until you have finally gotten it soggy.     dip  it slowly to see if it gets too wet too fast.   you might be surprised.

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I borrowed a GG from a friend who had taken a respite from throwing for a couple of months and said I could use it as long as she wasn't. I liked it so much that I bought my own. I did have a problem with it when trimming because the deck of the GG was higher than the splash pan on my CI wheel and the trimmings from the first pot wound up all over the place. So I fabricated a catch pan from a plastic trash bucket which fit inside the splash pan and solved the problem. I can spin that puppy as fast as I want and the trimmings will be contained without a problem.1089965987_CIwheelwithPanGiffenGripRisersm.jpg.6f8120002dcbd0756d0cd93a561e16e9.jpg

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Ya know I was really attached to my GG but then kind of moved away from it. I didn't see anyone complain about it but I found that sometimes the pressure from the GG would make my round openings slightly off, not in a big way but off. Took me a while to nail it down and it ruined a number of pots if the opening was not a perfect circle. I do realize it was user error but became pretty gun shy about using it much.

Figured it was bad throwing initially. I used to mostly trim to shape and to a certain extent weight and I trimmed ALOT, with trimming often taking longer than throwing and way too much handling at leather hard, Now I really try to keep trimming to just a quick once over to clean up a bit and try to throw to weight and shape. This has meant my supper large foam bat became my go to. I used a black felt marker and made a bunch of rings from outside to center and it works really nice for light trimming and sharp tools and light pressure holds it in place.

...and the opening to my pots stopped having any issues so I really think it was the way I was using the GG.

Edited by Stephen

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Update: Giffin Grip customer service is 

I wrote yesterday to ask if my off-centering grip is a known issue and whether there was a fix, and they responded this morning, asking for my address so they could send out a replacement. WOW - you don't see that kind of support every day. 

Now I love the tool AND the company! 

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@kristinanoel, that's great!

@oldlady, I agree that a dry pot cannot be trimmed as nicely as if it is wetted. Your technique with the sponge works very well and, as you say, adding moisture slowly will save the rims. Soggy rims are even worse when they are held down with clay lumps. 

Edited by Rae Reich

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Yeah it's well worth the cost if you plan on staying with pot making. It's not the old school approach, but man I wish I had one when I started.

Good for decorating too.

It does need to be cleaned and maintained periodically to stay accurate.

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Honestly not sure - I'm going to run a few tests between the new and old one and see what could have been the issue. I'll try some comparisons with each of the sliders (I usually use the narrow ones). Both old and new are set to identical numbers, so maybe the old one has some kind of manufacturing defect? If I can identify the problem I'll post! 

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I have never used a griffin grip I trim everything from mugs to 20” vases and bowl to bottles. Usually I just use a little water on the wheel head or nothing at all. I think it’s an essential skill to learn how to trim well without the griffin grip. Tap centering and  balance till get you anywhere you need to go in terms of trimming. I can’t think of anything else you should need aside from a couple good bisque fired chucks for bottles and such. 

*from mugs to 27" vases, 

IMG_0634.jpeg

Edited by Mullins Pottery
needed to add a bit

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