Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

My first Slab roller


  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 Isculpt

Isculpt

    Inexperienced but eager

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 429 posts
  • LocationSouth Carolina

Posted 05 May 2012 - 03:40 PM

I have a few questions about slab rollers. It's time to buy one, and I'm confused even though I bought "From a Slab of CLay" by Daryl Baird, recommended by Ceramics Arts Daily as a must-have book for slab workers. He describes three American-made slab rollers: North Star Equipment, Bailey Pottery Equipment Corp, and Amoco/Brent.

1) He writes that on the North Star "the height of the top roll is adjusted with a knob on each end of the roller assembly" and on the Bailey,"the gap between the rolls is adjusted on one side of the machine and an inch scale is provided for measurement". So I'm undersanding that it takes one adjustment to set the Baily and two adjustments to set the Northstar. Correct? He writes about the Brent: "The Brent SR-20 is a mid-sized floor model that can produce up to 20x52-inch slabs. They include one 1/4" canvas covered shim and one 1/8" plain shim, and can produce a slab up to 1 1/2 inches thick." What is he saying here??? It makes no sense to me. Is he saying that there is no adjustment, just shims???

2) I'm thinking of mounting a 30"x72" slab roller atop a pair of heavy side-by-side free-standing 36" cabinets. I haven't seen it done, so I'm wondering if there is a reason it won't work? I know that I would probably have to add a 4-6" top rail to the cabinets to accomodate the depth of the bottom roller, and I'd have to put the slabroller handle or wheel at the backside of the cabinets so as not to interfere with the drawer operation at the front of the cabinets...

3) He writes that there is virtually no maintenance on the North Star because of the simplicity of the design. I'm all for no maintenance, since I am utterly without mechanical repair abilities. Does this mean that the other two have more maintenance issues?

One more questions (at the moment): I have a limited output, but I do want to have the potential to make large slabs. Am I shooting for too large a slab roller?? Any suggestions? Any favorites?

#2 Mark C.

Mark C.

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,147 posts
  • LocationNear Arcata Ca-redwood rain forest

Posted 05 May 2012 - 04:22 PM

I have used North star-Brent and Baileys over the past 35 years and after 30 years with clay I bought a Bailey-its a 30 inch power model but his hand operated ones are great as well-super east to change thickness something the Brent is not as quick or easy with as well as all Brents with a cable design will need work over time as the cable stretches.
The bailey has one lever/knob for height adjustments and the twin texture rollers grip great-it just works well and long without any maintenance. I ordered the long table with my roller and its offset a bit lower on the outfeed-super strong and its a keeper as well.You can build one if like -Baileys has a plastic smooth easy to clean surface and we use it heavily on glaze day and it sponges clean .
The north stars are on the low end for me. Bailey made his name with slab rollers long ago and after many hard use years with his its never needed a thing. I cannot tell you how many times I worked on Brents. I love brent wheels and other Brent products-I just have some issues with shim boards and cables.My 2 cents
Mark
Mark Cortright
www.liscomhillpottery.com

#3 Seasoned Warrior

Seasoned Warrior

    Businessman - Potter

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 298 posts

Posted 05 May 2012 - 11:13 PM

I use a Brent. I like mine but it is a bit of hassel to change the shims though it is just something one has to get used to. Thee shims don't get out of adjustment. The cables can stretch but there is adjustment ot take up the slack with. The local Junior Collegge has the same model Brent I do and it is constantly our of adjustment but then the students tend to spin the wheel and let it bump against the ends which is very hard on the cables and causes the roller to get skewed which really makes it a pain to operate. I've lokked at the adjustment mechanisms and the screw adjustments seem to be robust on the Baily and I agree with Mark that North Star rollers ae on the low end. I don't how tricky it is to keep the adjustment screws properly adjusted so that you get a slab of consistent thickness perpendicular to the rolling direction. I like my brent just fine and have no plans of changing it.

Regards,
Charles

#4 Denice

Denice

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 716 posts
  • LocationWichita, Kansas

Posted 05 May 2012 - 11:15 PM

I have had a Bailey slab roller for 20 years and have never had any problems with it no maintenance. It has one knob in inch scale for adjusting, my husband mounted my slab roller on a solid wood core door that had a melamine coating, they make particle board that way now. The section of table that you feed is mounted lower than the receiver part of the table , so you'll have a wood frame around the top for the bi-level set up. I'm not sure about the file cabinets, how big are they, are they wood or metal, how tall are you? My table top is 34 inches high and I am 5'8 and the height is great for me. Adding in the frame your table top will probably be around 39 inches high. We built ours from the plans that Bailey sent with the roller unit, you will need a circular saw and a drill to make it with. I don't know any thing about the North Star and I dislike the slab rollers with shims. Bailey might have changed their bi level set up in the last 20 years, I would give them a call and ask them about building a table. Denice

#5 Marcia Selsor

Marcia Selsor

    Professor Emerita, Montana State University-Billings

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 4,155 posts
  • Locationwhere Texas, Matamoros, Rio Grande and Gulf of Mexico come together.

Posted 06 May 2012 - 07:36 AM

I had a Brent where I taught and now where I am teaching. The cables underneath the table can fray and need replacing. They need to be greased regularly. Student abuse is always a consideration in College studios. We had a North Star in the college also. The two side adjustments can easily get out of adjustment with students.


I personally have a Bailey. My first 20 inch Bailey was good for about 15 years. Then I wanted a bigger one. I had one made by a retired mechanic. Very cool but very heavy to move. I picked up a Bailey at Bailey's while in the East. It is a 30" wide model. I love it. I have had it for 10 years. The single knob to adjust the thickness is the ideal situation for me.
I'd recommend getting the stand for it rather than putting a slab roller on two cabinets unless you have a perfect fit. as to the size for you, that is your decision. Get one that fits your needs and production. If you don't plan to be making huge pieces, then you don't need one that big. Is your kiln big enough for huge pieces?
Things you need to think about.

The Brent shims are the method of adjusting the thickness of the slab. It is a lot of lifting.

Marcia

#6 teardrop

teardrop

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 211 posts
  • LocationColorado

Posted 06 May 2012 - 07:51 AM

the Brent we used @ the college was a pain. I knew I didn't want shims/boards and to have to use >whatever< else was around to roll through so you could make some\thing other than masonite-thick "adjustments" to the thickness. (always too thick or too thin). What a hassle...not to mention the unit itself is massive/hard to move.

I saw a used Northstar but didn't like the double height adjustment feature and the chances of uneven slabs.....so I went with a Bailey DRD/II...24" wide model w/a 6 ft table

so far....so good.
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. Dr. Seuss US author & illustrator (1904 - 1991)

#7 DAY

DAY

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 160 posts

Posted 06 May 2012 - 08:54 AM

I run a ton of clay a month thru my 30" Bailey DRD (dual roller drive). Both rollers are powered via a chain, so the clay is squeezed top and bottom- no warping! Bought it about 15 years ago, and don't regret it. BUT: I use it as a production tool; it is the first piece of equipment that all my clay goes thru. If you are not sure how much slab work you will be doing, start with two sticks and a rolling pin. . .

#8 Peter

Peter

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 34 posts
  • LocationBC. Canada

Posted 06 May 2012 - 10:45 AM

I, personally, have the 30" Bailey. Features that sold me are the table size, the single adjustment point on the same side as the cranking wheel, the ability to roll out a 3-4" loaf of clay without having to use graduated reductions in thickness and the fact that it is steel gear driven, not nylon or plastic.

Price was also better although I'm not sure what they are today.
Our guild uses the 24" North Star which is situated lengthwise against a wall. Adjustments have to be made in steps and are often not parallel because of the awkward positions of both the adjustment knobs and the scales.
Keep in mind that the Bailey can only roll the slab in one direction where the North Star can roll in both...

My 2 cents...

#9 Matt Oz

Matt Oz

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 280 posts
  • LocationMichigan

Posted 06 May 2012 - 11:44 AM

One thing that might make your decision easier, is that baily slab rollers are on sale right now, with free freight.
http://www.baileypot...salecompare.htm


Sadly this is not a paid advertisement :(

#10 Isculpt

Isculpt

    Inexperienced but eager

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 429 posts
  • LocationSouth Carolina

Posted 06 May 2012 - 06:10 PM

Thanks to all of you. I looks like it's a Bailey for me! I decided against using the two 36" standard cabinets because of their 34" height, which would end up even higher once the split tabletop and roller assembly was added to the top. Instead I bought a nice 30" high, 40" long drawer cabinet on locking wheels from Costco. It has 6 - 4" high drawers, perfect for storing flat texture mats right where I'll be using them. I'll add bracket supports to each end of the cabinet so that I can put a 6' long table on it, then tuck a stool under the long end of the workspace. Thanks again!!

#11 TJR

TJR

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,319 posts
  • LocationCanada

Posted 06 May 2012 - 08:56 PM

I was just talking to my buddy Steve yesterday, where I fire my pots, Bailey has let their patent go. You can buy a Bailey clone for $750.00. Worth it. I have used the Brent in art school. I hated storing the masonite pieces for the table. Go with Bailey.
TJR,

#12 Isculpt

Isculpt

    Inexperienced but eager

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 429 posts
  • LocationSouth Carolina

Posted 06 May 2012 - 10:56 PM

Well, thanks to all of the kind respondents, I've settled on the Bailey, but I'm confused as to WHICH Bailey! The DDR, the original, the basic.....!! Sheesh! I don't plan to buy another slab roller in my lifetime, so I want to buy something that works really well. I noticed that the "Basic" is half the price of the DDR, but the "Basic" info also calls for very plastic easily wedged clay where the DDR seems to make the point that you can put anything through the roller and come out with the slab you want. I don't wedge my clay, so this notation about "very plastic, easily wedged clay" concerns me. Am I taking this caveat too seriously? Does anyone have the Bailey Basic? Any issues with it? Oh, and to the kind person who suggested two sticks and rolling pin. Been there, done that. I want/need to be able to produce larger slabs than my 20" rolling pin can produce.

#13 Mark C.

Mark C.

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,147 posts
  • LocationNear Arcata Ca-redwood rain forest

Posted 06 May 2012 - 11:50 PM

If your are just playing around with clay it may not matter.
That said the DRD11 is a professional machine which works great-If your going for one of those I would spend the extra on a round wheel handle.As the 4 blade handle will poke you sooner or later.
These DRD have been around long enough to earn high marks in the clay world.

I have no info on the basic.
I do have the electric DRD 30 inch with a long table and I can say I have never had a bad day with it-it just works.
Maybe you can PM TRJ as to a brand name clone? on the Baileys
Mark
Mark Cortright
www.liscomhillpottery.com




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users