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LoriSuzanne

Seeking advice about which wheel is good for a Newbie?

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Hello all,

I have always loved working with clay. There is nothing more relaxing than the feel of the clay in my hands. I have made the decision to purchase a pottery wheel and start throwing clay in my garage. I was looking for some input about wheels. What brand is better for a novice? For my first wheel I want to spend about $600-$800 dollars. I want to make a good choice and looking for some advice. I look forward to hearing everyone's input.

Lori

Edited by LoriSuzanne
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Picking up a nice used wheel will be great at that price point.  Some good brands are Brent, Skutt, soldner, shimpo.  If you want a new one at that price you can try a Pacifica, speedball, or a shimpo vl-lite.  Get the most wheel for your budget.

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Don't get a tabletop model, that's my advice.  I have an ancient shimpo rk-2, it's 50 years old and still a champ.  Any of those brands I mentioned above will be fine, just stay away from the tabletop kind, it's not fun to be fighting your equipment.

Do you know what wheel you've used in the past?  That might be a good choice, but to quote someone else in a recent thread, you will get used to whatever wheel you settle on.

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Not sure of the brand I used, it was a beginners class I took in the park last Spring. But I think it was a portable or tabletop model, it weighted about 30 pounds. So for long term use it would be better to purchase a workstation type model? I have seen some for about $700-$800. I appreciate your input. I will do some research on the models you suggested and figure out what will fit my needs best.

Lori

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Yeah the tabletop kind are fine if you're travelling around and doing demonstrations or something. But if you're wanting to learn and progress there's nothing more frustrating than fighting with equipment.  It's just another avenue for doubting yourself and a nice solid wheel will do you good on that front.  Good luck!

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welcome to the forum, lori.    this question has been asked by many people some very recently.   if you go to the section with the word "equipment", you may find lots of information about buying a wheel.  unfortunately, a lot of recent new people have just said "Help!" so looking by the title may not help you find what you want.   good luck.

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On 12/27/2018 at 8:46 PM, oldlady said:

unfortunately, a lot of recent new people have just said "Help!" so looking by the title may not help you find what you want.   good luck.

A very frustrating trend... 

Not to pick on Lori - there's a lot of folks doing this - but I almost didn't open this thread because the title doesn't indicate anything about the actual subject. 

Lori - if you go to your original post, and click the 'edit' button, you can make your title more descriptive of your question, and likely get a broader response...  For example:  Instead of just "Newbie", changing it to "Wheel recommendation for newbie" would tell everyone exactly what you're looking for.   (Like this recent post Which wheel for the rookie?)

As for which wheel -  if possible, try to test-drive different brands/models..  and definitely plug in and test any used wheel you're considering before you hand over any money.  You don't have to actually put clay on them - but if you sit at the wheel, turn it on at a medium speed, and press your hands against the edges of the wheel and/or press down on the surface of it (watch out for bat pins), you can get a good idea of whether the wheel is going to maintain speed when you're throwing.   Also test the speed-control - does the speed change smoothly as you move the pedal - or does it jump from slow to fast ? 

 

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Rockhopper,

Thank you so much for the advise and input. I will most definitely change the subject line. I have been wary about buying a used wheel. I knew to look at the power cord, the housing and around the bat pins for excessive rust and such,a but with the advise you gave I now have an idea how to do a test run on the wheel itself.

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With used wheels, if the wiring looks good, the pedal has good range of control, and the motor sounds normal, it's probably fine. Personally, I'd never pay more than $400 for a used wheel, and then only if it's in really good condition. Lots of people ask $700 for their used wheel, but at that price you might as well spend a couple hundred more and get a new one with a warranty. If you get a new wheel, don't think of it as a wheel for a novice. It will last you 20+ years, and you will only be a novice for a little while. Most any wheel in the $1000+ range is a good wheel, so it might be worth it to you to save a couple hundred more dollars. If it's just not in you to throw big (center 12+ pounds), then you don't need to worry too much about horsepower. Do look at the size of the splash pan, as the big pans on Skutt and Bailey wheels hold a lot more trimmings and will keep your studio cleaner.

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As I did not want to pay over $1000, I could not buy a new Brent, which would have been my preference based on my classroom throwing experience.

I bought a Pacifica and am happy with it. I will never throw anything really heavy. I throw standing and bought the legs to make that possible.

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You might try the $600 Speedball wheel and save some dough for the other things that you will want for your new studio. Its used in a lot of classroom situations and I used it for 6 months on loan and thought it was just fine.   

http://www.clay-king.com/pottery_wheels/speedball_pottery_wheels/speedball_clay_boss_pottery_wheel.html

Edited by Stephen

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My used wheel (barely, a few drops of clay and lingering smell of cheap perfume...) was still on warrantee; manufacturer support rep looked up th' serial and confirmed time remaining and transfers to new owner. That said, many/most used listings are too much $$ with hard miles and time outside inna rain.

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One more thing to consider:  There are plenty of places you can buy on-line, but if there's a 'local pottery supply' anywhere close to you, be sure to at-least see what they have available.  You may pay a little more, but you'll be buying from someone that can, in most cases, provide service and repair if needed.  (They may also be able to connect you with someone that's got a good deal on a used wheel.)

Unless you're buying a ton (literally) at a time direct from the manufacturer, that's probably where you're going to buy your clay - and maybe your glazes too.   This forum is great - but having that relationship with someone that is using the same clays & glazes on a regular basis can be very helpful in figuring out things like "why did this blue glaze come out charcoal gray", or "hmm, that fancy wooden tool with all the different notches in it looks cool - but will it really be useful for the pots I'm making ?"

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