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QothW: Is there some piece of equipment or tool that made such a huge difference to the quality of work, and quality of time, that you wished you had found out earlier?

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Liambesaw recently posted a question in the question pool:   Is there some piece of equipment or tool that made such a huge difference to the quality of work, and quality of time, that you wished you had found out earlier?  Nice question, that I am sure will generate some traffic here. I'll get my bite in first, with something of a listing, and let folks comment.

Listing away, I have found that much of my work depends on the Griffin Grip, for trimming, and throwing. I use the GG to throw handles on lids quite often, just by centering up a ball of clay on a lid held in the GG, and then throwing a hollow ball or flared bell for the handle. I also have found when working with the GG, that parts from plumbing supply/hardware store come in really handy as chucks for trimming. These allow me to trim, and assemble pieces like chalices and honey jars with spoons really quickly and efficiently. 

Next would be a good spray gun for applying glazes, a curved throwing stick I bought at a conference years ago as it works well for shaping my mugs, small jars and pitchers, magic water (not a tool, but so much better than slip), A good adjustable stool, a trimming bed I have made to fit over the Brent CXC that allows much more space for trimming scraps and controls the mess, kitchen tools (modified for ribs to throw bowls, trim/shape bases, and as straight edges), diamond sanding plate (attached to a bat that is used on the wheel) makes bottoms smooth as glass and nicer on table tops, diamond pads  also work well for foot rings as the pot may be held in the GG while grinding, and never forget the good heavy banding wheel with the 14" head. The list could go on and on, but I'll let the rest of you fill in the spaces.

 

best,

Pres

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For me its many things but one was my power slab roller-I knew about slab rollers but the speed my 30 inch power Baily puts out clat as well as makes any thginkness out of any firmness of clay is amazing really-just wished I got it a few decades earlier than 20 years ago

I think the extruder which I got after about 10 years really made for stronger and faster handles-after about 20 years I got another  one as well so I have two which saves lots of time messing with size dies.

Car kiln-well I built the 1st one in 79 and wish I had done it sooner-never looked back on that decision .To this day its saved my back loading its alight year ahead of a front loader and several light years ahead of any bend over electric kiln.

My fans-getting out of hauling pottery's to shows with a  truck vs a van -my knessa and back all where saved -this one tyhing I should have done decades earlier -I'm on my 20 year with vans now.Yes I still use two trucks, just not for finished pottery's hauling.

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Mine isn't powered but I am with Marc on the  Bailey slab roller and my extruder is second place.  I made my own extruder from directions in a Ceramics Monthly magazine.  It was only suppose to be temporary to see if I really needed a extruder.  I liked it so well I redesigned it to make it stronger and a made a bunch of dies for it,  Both pieces of equipment save me a lot of production time  and I am able to do projects that would be nearly impossible to do with out them.  Denice

 

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glaze software

I've only been mixing glazes for 10 years or so but the moment I downloaded my desktop copy of Insight my life changed.

I resisted the molar math because I could melt and see my way through most issues. Local materials also don't necessarily fit well into neat categories.

I still rely on results but my adjustments and forays are more precise and less wasteful.

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For me it was my mixer pugmill. It was a big chunk of money and in my mind I couldn't justify buying one for many years. Then I tore off the long head of my bicep in my right arm (turns out you shouldn't try and outdo your niece while tubing) and I fully realized how much wear and tear making pots for years can do on your body. My shoulder and arm healed up, bicep is as strong as ever but having a machine to do some of the grunt work is something I wish I'ld been able to buy much earlier on.

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6 minutes ago, Min said:

For me it was my mixer pugmill. It was a big chunk of money and in my mind I couldn't justify buying one for many years. Then I tore off the long head of my bicep in my right arm (turns out you shouldn't try and outdo your niece while tubing) and I fully realized how much wear and tear making pots for years can do on your body. My shoulder and arm healed up, bicep is as strong as ever but having a machine to do some of the grunt work is something I wish I'ld been able to buy much earlier on.

Waiting for a cheap or broken one to show up on craigslist haha, probably will never happen

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2 hours ago, liambesaw said:

Waiting for a cheap or broken one to show up on craigslist haha, probably will never happen

It does happen.  Mark C. found one, halfway across the country, not far from me.

 

I've actually seen a Walker or two come up for sale.  Jump on those!

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I”m also going to say pugmill. I like to recycle my clay trimmings and there’s no way I could wedge it all by hand. 

Even if I weren’t a recycler, spending 20 minutes at the beginning of a throwing day making sure all of your clay is soft, homogenous, de-aired, and in round pieces, means you don’t spend the next four hours fighting with uneven, bubbly, or hard clay. Makes the whole day much easier. 

@liambesaw I got mine second hand for $1200. Keep your eyes peeled!

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My pug /mixer is a 30 vpm Peter pugger

used and shipped was 1/2 price

i have seen a few come and go around the country since I got mine

it fits as I wish I had it decades earlier

i now only throw soft clay and recycle much of my scrap 

Edited by Mark C.

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Reclycling/wedging from dried clay is awful for me. I am saving up for the smallest cheapest pug mill I can find and Advancers (can't lift shelves so good anymore).  My favored equiptment is my tabletop Bailey slab roller, followed by the heavy Shimpo banding wheel.  I gave myself the gift of fully outfitting my studio from the git-go, upon retiring from my "day job", so there is nothing I wish I'd done sooner. Having my kiln right here is beyond awesome--there is no public-access kiln anwhere close by, plus the over-time, ongoing, expense and restrictions of having to use their clay/glaze/firing programs etc. would not suit me long term. So, I guess it is my L& L Easy-Fire that is really the winner! 

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