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Did I get ripped off?


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#1 myrmaedluvr

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 07:43 PM

Although its a bit late to cry over spilled milk, I wanted some expert opinions anyway. I just bought a Brent cxc wheel (my first wheel!) for $700. I found it used on Craigslist. They were asking $800 but I got it down to $700. It seems in decent condition, everything working but the wheel is over 12 years old. It looks gently used and the man I bought from said he'd thrown on it only a handful of times. It doesn't reverse direction but I don't really need it to. It did come with a splash pan and a large box of potters tools of every sort that I haven't gone thru yet. So I'll ask again...did I get ripped off or does this sound ok?

#2 yedrow

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 08:19 PM

Probably not. I personally don't care for Brent wheels but I'm a professional potter. At worst you may have gotten more wheel than you need with the 1hp motor. It you caught one on sale, for a little more, you could have gotten a brand new VL Whisper; a better wheel IMO. All in all though, unless the pedal is bad or something like that, you did perty good.

#3 Raku

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 09:57 PM

Although its a bit late to cry over spilled milk, I wanted some expert opinions anyway. I just bought a Brent cxc wheel (my first wheel!) for $700. I found it used on Craigslist. They were asking $800 but I got it down to $700. It seems in decent condition, everything working but the wheel is over 12 years old. It looks gently used and the man I bought from said he'd thrown on it only a handful of times. It doesn't reverse direction but I don't really need it to. It did come with a splash pan and a large box of potters tools of every sort that I haven't gone thru yet. So I'll ask again...did I get ripped off or does this sound ok?


If it does what you want to do, then be happy, Theres no milage in looking over your shoulder.

#4 myrmaedluvr

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 09:59 PM

Probably not. I personally don't care for Brent wheels but I'm a professional potter. At worst you may have gotten more wheel than you need with the 1hp motor. It you caught one on sale, for a little more, you could have gotten a brand new VL Whisper; a better wheel IMO. All in all though, unless the pedal is bad or something like that, you did perty good.

Well that's a relief!

#5 Pres

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 08:34 AM


Probably not. I personally don't care for Brent wheels but I'm a professional potter. At worst you may have gotten more wheel than you need with the 1hp motor. It you caught one on sale, for a little more, you could have gotten a brand new VL Whisper; a better wheel IMO. All in all though, unless the pedal is bad or something like that, you did perty good.

Well that's a relief!


Heck I paid over 900 several years ago for a new one. I have used it ever since, and been able to throw 45# jars and bowls with it years ago. It will probably outlast me, my kids, and their kids. Still haven't changed a belt and it runs smooth if noisy. Have fun.

Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#6 clay lover

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 02:52 PM

A real workhorse, I had one for my first wheel. They last forever. It can always be resold and maybe for more than you paid. You did good. I would rather buy more wheel than I need now that less than I want later . You may end up throwing big pieces and the Brent will take it. FWIW, some guy at a local school had gone through 3 VL whispers in 8 years.

#7 myrmaedluvr

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 03:13 PM

A real workhorse, I had one for my first wheel. They last forever. It can always be resold and maybe for more than you paid. You did good. I would rather buy more wheel than I need now that less than I want later . You may end up throwing big pieces and the Brent will take it. FWIW, some guy at a local school had gone through 3 VL whispers in 8 years.

Thanks those were my thoughts exactly; wanted something to grow into. I threw on it last night...works really well! I'm happy :)

#8 OffCenter

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 05:23 PM



Probably not. I personally don't care for Brent wheels but I'm a professional potter. At worst you may have gotten more wheel than you need with the 1hp motor. It you caught one on sale, for a little more, you could have gotten a brand new VL Whisper; a better wheel IMO. All in all though, unless the pedal is bad or something like that, you did perty good.

Well that's a relief!


Heck I paid over 900 several years ago for a new one. I have used it ever since, and been able to throw 45# jars and bowls with it years ago. It will probably outlast me, my kids, and their kids. Still haven't changed a belt and it runs smooth if noisy. Have fun.


Pres... can you still center 45 pounds? How hard is the clay? Just asking because even with my Brent 1.5 hp wheel I can't center 45 pounds anymore. I use fairly hard clay.

Jim
E pur si muove.

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#9 Pres

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 07:04 PM




Probably not. I personally don't care for Brent wheels but I'm a professional potter. At worst you may have gotten more wheel than you need with the 1hp motor. It you caught one on sale, for a little more, you could have gotten a brand new VL Whisper; a better wheel IMO. All in all though, unless the pedal is bad or something like that, you did perty good.

Well that's a relief!


Heck I paid over 900 several years ago for a new one. I have used it ever since, and been able to throw 45# jars and bowls with it years ago. It will probably outlast me, my kids, and their kids. Still haven't changed a belt and it runs smooth if noisy. Have fun.


Pres... can you still center 45 pounds? How hard is the clay? Just asking because even with my Brent 1.5 hp wheel I can't center 45 pounds anymore. I use fairly hard clay.

Jim


I can still center 45#, at least last year of teaching. At the same time though I will probably center a 25# and then a 20# on top, next time I don't know. Little side here I am T2 diabetic, no meds. I exercise religiously doing 50 push ups every other night, and 30 pull ups, chin ups and neutrals on the other nights-add to that side plank dips, front planks, and total gym 3 times a week with the treadmill or walking 5 times a week. When I center that much I use the right fist on top at and angle, and elbow on the wheel head with the arm pushing in-Left hand goes up and down until it is in. I usually center the top first and move down. Open up using the fist pound technique, and then pull.

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#10 yedrow

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:35 PM

For the record, :) I throw on a 1/2 hp Soldner wheel. I know two production potters who have VL Whispers and they rave about them. Interestingly they both threw on Soldners at one time and switched. The Soldner is noisy but it's a production wheel. Not to lurch into a dichotomy but I think there are two types of potters; those who throw with large amounts of clay and those who throw lots of things. I'm the latter type. I need a precision pedal that truly goes from 0% to 100%. Brent doesn't provide that, at least not the 1 hp machine I used to use. It is better than the Clay Boss I first threw on, but it isn't, in my humble opinion, a very good production wheel. I also throw on a brand new Pacifica wheel and its pedal is quite weak (we've used it 3 months and have had to replace the pedal already, and it lurches on the start bad). I can throw on an old RK but I don't like fixed pedals since I use the pedal with my left foot. I threw for years on a Brent combination kick/electric and I have three of them in my personal studio at present. I really like those wheels but they will wear you out if you are going to throw for a couple of hours at a sitting, especially throwing mugs (I lose about 5 mugs an hour on the kick).

I think everyone has their expectations in wheels. I suspect much of that revolves around what they started with. However, if you are going to throw and flute 20 pie plates in a sitting, the Brent KJ kick/electric is tops, then the Soldner. If you're cranking out 30 1 pound mugs an hour the Soldner is best. If you're trimming, the Soldner wins too. It is, in my limited experience, the closest you can get to a kick in an electric wheel. All of the others I've worked on just have bad pedals, and Brent charges out the wazoo for their pedal/controller; about the same as a Soldner pedal that needs no controller and uses a variable transformer (much more durable in a production setting).

In fact, I'm building my own Soldner style pedal!!! I wonder if I can put the two videos I've made on this site. I have the components together I just need to build the pedal and the enclosure. Next I plan on building my own wheel. I feel like Luke Skywalker!

Oh yea, all said, I want to emphasize that I think it was a great deal on a wheel. I doubt my preferences apply to very many potters at all.

#11 Pres

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 08:31 AM

For the record, :) I throw on a 1/2 hp Soldner wheel. I know two production potters who have VL Whispers and they rave about them. Interestingly they both threw on Soldners at one time and switched. The Soldner is noisy but it's a production wheel. Not to lurch into a dichotomy but I think there are two types of potters; those who throw with large amounts of clay and those who throw lots of things. I'm the latter type. I need a precision pedal that truly goes from 0% to 100%. Brent doesn't provide that, at least not the 1 hp machine I used to use. It is better than the Clay Boss I first threw on, but it isn't, in my humble opinion, a very good production wheel. I also throw on a brand new Pacifica wheel and its pedal is quite weak (we've used it 3 months and have had to replace the pedal already, and it lurches on the start bad). I can throw on an old RK but I don't like fixed pedals since I use the pedal with my left foot. I threw for years on a Brent combination kick/electric and I have three of them in my personal studio at present. I really like those wheels but they will wear you out if you are going to throw for a couple of hours at a sitting, especially throwing mugs (I lose about 5 mugs an hour on the kick).

I think everyone has their expectations in wheels. I suspect much of that revolves around what they started with. However, if you are going to throw and flute 20 pie plates in a sitting, the Brent KJ kick/electric is tops, then the Soldner. If you're cranking out 30 1 pound mugs an hour the Soldner is best. If you're trimming, the Soldner wins too. It is, in my limited experience, the closest you can get to a kick in an electric wheel. All of the others I've worked on just have bad pedals, and Brent charges out the wazoo for their pedal/controller; about the same as a Soldner pedal that needs no controller and uses a variable transformer (much more durable in a production setting).

In fact, I'm building my own Soldner style pedal!!! I wonder if I can put the two videos I've made on this site. I have the components together I just need to build the pedal and the enclosure. Next I plan on building my own wheel. I feel like Luke Skywalker!

Oh yea, all said, I want to emphasize that I think it was a great deal on a wheel. I doubt my preferences apply to very many potters at all.


How to build a pedal! what a great idea. You could always post on utube and put a link here. I just built myself a new computer-with all of the modular components out there, it seems like a controller could be pretty easy-just find the right parts.

Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#12 neilestrick

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 10:13 AM

Probably not. I personally don't care for Brent wheels but I'm a professional potter. At worst you may have gotten more wheel than you need with the 1hp motor. It you caught one on sale, for a little more, you could have gotten a brand new VL Whisper; a better wheel IMO. All in all though, unless the pedal is bad or something like that, you did perty good.


The only thing a Shimpo Whisper is better for is being quiet, IMO. They have little torque compared to all the 'noisy' wheels. I personally think $700 is a bit high for a used wheel unless it is barely used. If it's in like new condition, then you got a good deal.
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#13 MadMudder

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 11:17 AM

My Brent CXC is 25 years old. When I use it I use it a lot. It has been the best wheel ever. I had a Shimpo, ICK, had a "Pacifica Glide Torque" the wheelhead was off centered. After calling Pacifica and being informed that if I wanted a straight shaft I had to pay an extra 200 bucks... As if.
The Brent has been the best.
People selling used pottery equipment seem to be insane with their pricing. I think you did very well and you have a great wheel.
Enjoy it kiddo!!!
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#14 OffCenter

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 11:38 AM

I have the Brent EX and love it except that the pedal doesn't have as much graduation at low speeds as my old Shimpo had. I read somewhere (maybe here but I can't find it) that there were a couple of years that Brent tried a different pedal that wasn't as good as earlier or later pedals. Is that true. What years?

Jim
E pur si muove.

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#15 neilestrick

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 02:43 PM

I have the Brent EX and love it except that the pedal doesn't have as much graduation at low speeds as my old Shimpo had. I read somewhere (maybe here but I can't find it) that there were a couple of years that Brent tried a different pedal that wasn't as good as earlier or later pedals. Is that true. What years?

Jim


Brent has made several changes over the years, most of which were failures. Now they are back to their old system. The newest models are the 'Classic' line. Kind of like when Coke tried something new, then had to switch back....
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#16 yedrow

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 05:52 PM

Our Brent sits right beside the Soldner. My old wheel was the Brent, I now use the Soldner. We replaced the pedal last year and it is okay, comme ci, comme ca. It is flaky and occasionally needs adjusting and isn't as responsive as I like. That being said, it isn't as bad as the Pacifica. It's somewhere in between. For a personal shop the Brent is a good wheel. In the production shop the master potter and I (senior craftsman) get the Soldners. The junior craftsman gets the Brent. One of the potters I know who uses the VL doesn't like his Soldner, but he uses it to trim. He loves the VL and makes his living exclusively as a potter. The other VL owner made her living as a potter up until two years ago when she got a real job.

It really depends on what you do. I need a precision workhorse. I really don't mean to quibble with anyone. In my experience the Brent electric wheels are middle of the road wheels. I am most put off by their over-charging for the replacement pedals/controllers. If they were better made that wouldn't bother me. And, I love the Brent combination kick/electric, for pie plates and such. But, not for mugs or trimming. I have different wheels for different jobs. I also know that a wheel is an extension of one's body and people get personal about them. To me, it's a tool, nothing more, nothing less. I like my Ridged sliding compound miter saw, I like my Porter Cable 3 1/4hp router, but, I don't like my DeWalt 18v drills (auuggggg!!!!). Perhaps it's a yellow thing, hmmmm.

I'm convinced that in a production sense it is all about the pedal. The pedals I've seen these days are parted out from other countries and aren't very good. When I get my own pedal made, it will be better than any of the controller pedals you can buy (unless I mess it up, heh).

#17 neilestrick

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 01:00 PM

I've always compared Brent wheels to Cadillac cars. They were the best out there for a long time, and as competition came into the market they got by on their name for many years, without really making improvements to the products. Brent is making good wheels again, but I don't think they're worth the money. There are better wheels out there for less money. I'm a big fan of Thomas Stuart/ Skutt. They have the most torque of any wheels on the market today, excellent pedals, controllers with 5 separate adjustments, and are priced pretty reasonably. Best of all, they have HUGE splash pans. I've got 11 TS wheels in my studio, and the floor around the wheels only needs mopping every couple of weeks.
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#18 yedrow

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 09:30 PM

I'll admit, there is a lot to be said for a good splash pan! That is where the Soldner falls short. A Master potter I know bought a Bailey recently and he seems to like it, though he isn't doing production on it. I've never been close to one so I don't know.

Unfortunately the people who supply potters don't seem to be very interested in what potters actually do (except Dolan :) ). I recently got clay from a national supplier and their response to my telling them that 75% of the mugs I made with it cracked, was to tell me that it was my fault. And that is after I told them that none of the other clays I use at present crack in any noticeable number.

Thanks for the tip on the Thomas Stuart, I'll check it out!

#19 neilestrick

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 09:42 AM

Unfortunately the people who supply potters don't seem to be very interested in what potters actually do (except Dolan :) ). I recently got clay from a national supplier and their response to my telling them that 75% of the mugs I made with it cracked, was to tell me that it was my fault. And that is after I told them that none of the other clays I use at present crack in any noticeable number.


Interesting thoughts. I do agree that many suppliers are out of touch with potters. Most of the larger businesses have few potters on staff that are making pots on a regular basis, so they don't have the in-house experience that they should. I think the online-only retailers are the worst culprits. They have no tech help at all. That said, the manufacturers do get constant feedback from customers, especially if something goes wrong. I used to be the tech for one of the big clay suppliers here in the Chicago area, and I was the only one on staff who knew anything about clay. So everything fell on me. Of course, you can't expect potters to be manufacturing the clay and glazes. It's back-breaking, minimum wage work. The people who build kilns and tools are machinists, not potters. The skills required for making our tools and materials are not the same as the skills needed for using the tools and materials. Bankers do not build banks...

Regarding your cracking mug situation, I'm going to play the bad guy here and say that it wasn't necessarily a clay problem. But it wasn't your fault, either. It was a bad partnership. Different clays work well for some people and poorly for others. For whatever reason, that clay body was not good for your way of working. There are probably a lot of people out there who have the same problems you had, and a lot of people who rave about how great the clay is. Some clays are definitely not great, and tend to have more problems, but if enough people didn't love it and buy it, they wouldn't keep it in their catalog.

When I was a tech I had a customer buy a bunch of our groggy cone 6 Buff to use for a big tile commission. She was not one of our regular customers, but came to us since her supplier was out of the clay she normally used. I spent the next month trying to figure out why her tiles were cracking. I made dozens of tiles in my studio from the same batch of clay and abused them every way I could think of, and still couldn't get them to crack- fast drying, porr compression, fast firing, uneven drying, etc. She ended up having to give up the commission because they kept cracking. She was livid, to say the least. She kept yelling that the Buff she normally used never cracked. Well, there's a thousand ways to make a Buff. It was just a bad partnership, and honestly not smart of her to start a huge commission with a clay body she'd never used.
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#20 yedrow

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 11:47 PM

[code=auto:0]

I'm going to play the bad guy here and say that it wasn't necessarily a clay problem.

[/code]

No bad guy. You may well be right, and right is right. We've been testing clay recipes and our big problem is cracking. The stable clays we use don't crack often. The most stable clays hardly crack at all. But, what is stable? Pottery is all about eutectics in the weirdest ways. One potter and one glaze can equal brilliant success. Another potter (or another glaze) and dismal failure. I can see it being the same with clays.

The stinging sensation I get though is from a blistering issue on a B mix knock-off from my local potter. They don't get the blistering in their kiln, but it seems that everyone else I know does, and that is about 5 or 6 potters. Now they don't use that supplier. I'm having bloating issues with their ^6 at home. I don't feel like approaching them about it since when I was buying 40k# a year they weren't willing to admit there was a problem. What will they do with my 2k a year start-up.

The potters I speak with, and myself included, like to grouse about how we aren't respected as purchasers of products. But, the fact is that schools keep the pottery business going, not potters; at least not studio/soft production potters like me.

The email I sent to the company was a FYI. I realized the clay wouldn't work for me, pretty much as you noted. I was willing to consider another of their clays. But so far I've been told it was my fault and recommended to buy a book on ceramic flaws. I responded politely and haven't received a follow up. I don't expect any smooching, just some return in kind. So, out comes the Cushing book and I'm going to see if I can make my own darned clay!!!




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