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Trimming and Firing Cake Stands


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#1 MelJM

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 09:00 AM

Hi there,

I recently made a cake stand for the first time on the wheel. I made them upside down as one piece. I'm fairly new at working on the wheel and need help on how I would go about trimming the piece so that they won't collapse or crack (I need to flip it over onto the base and trim the top to make it flat).

Also, given the larger top surface, are there any tips on how to fire the clay so that the top doesn't warp?

Thanks for your help!

#2 Chris Campbell

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 08:02 PM

If you cut if off the wheel carefully the top should stay pretty flat and once it stiffens up, you should be able to trim it by turning it over and making sure it is well attached to the wheel head with coils of clay. Go slowly is the best advice.
Your pedestal base should be even if you pulled it and trimmed it off with a needle tool.
I would glaze the body of it but not the cake surface or the bottom and fire it upside down to high temp ... then glaze the top with a low fire glaze and low fire it.
This is a most ambitious project ... Good Luck!

Chris Campbell
Contemporary Fine Colored Porcelain
http://www.ccpottery.com/

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#3 WholeBean

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 08:20 PM

To make the cake stand in one piece does seem a bit ambitious. My suggestion would be to try and throw the plate and stand separately. However, if you are determined to make this approach work you might try making a trimming chuck that will support the outer edge of the plate. I have found this to be helpful when making a chip and dip platter (which, if you think about it, is basically an inverted cake platter).

#4 bciskepottery

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 08:49 PM

For your next cake stand, throw it on a plaster bat. The plaster bat will release the cake stand without the need for wiring it off.

#5 GEP

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 10:54 PM

I have assigned one-piece cake stands to my pottery classes a few times, here are some of the things I've learned:

The proportions are really important, i.e. the width of the pedestal and the width of the plate need to make sense. If you are making one large enough for a full-size 9 inch cake, the pedestal must be wide too, in order to support the plate while trimming and firing. Yes you can fire the cake plate with the flat part up if it is properly constructed.

If you want your cake stand to "look" like it has a skinny pedestal, you can shape your pedestal with a skinny waistline, but flare it out wider where it meets the plate.

Many of my students choose to fire their cake plate with the flat part down anyways, just to avoid any warping while firing. I tell them to do a careful job of trimming and smoothing the broad flat surface, so it will look handsome even though it's unglazed. But hey even if that surface isn't perfect, it's going to be covered by cake, no one will mind.

Keep the plate part as evenly thick as possible, and a little on the thick side. Too thin and it will warp.

Adding a lip to the edge of the plate really helps to keep it flat. I don't have an explanation for why, but it works. The lip can point up or down, it works either way.

Mea
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#6 MelJM

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 08:10 AM

I have assigned one-piece cake stands to my pottery classes a few times, here are some of the things I've learned:

The proportions are really important, i.e. the width of the pedestal and the width of the plate need to make sense. If you are making one large enough for a full-size 9 inch cake, the pedestal must be wide too, in order to support the plate while trimming and firing. Yes you can fire the cake plate with the flat part up if it is properly constructed.

If you want your cake stand to "look" like it has a skinny pedestal, you can shape your pedestal with a skinny waistline, but flare it out wider where it meets the plate.

Many of my students choose to fire their cake plate with the flat part down anyways, just to avoid any warping while firing. I tell them to do a careful job of trimming and smoothing the broad flat surface, so it will look handsome even though it's unglazed. But hey even if that surface isn't perfect, it's going to be covered by cake, no one will mind.

Keep the plate part as evenly thick as possible, and a little on the thick side. Too thin and it will warp.

Adding a lip to the edge of the plate really helps to keep it flat. I don't have an explanation for why, but it works. The lip can point up or down, it works either way.

Mea



Thanks very much for the tips. Is unglazed porcelain food safe and will it stain if I leave the surface unglazed?

#7 MelJM

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 08:11 AM

If you cut if off the wheel carefully the top should stay pretty flat and once it stiffens up, you should be able to trim it by turning it over and making sure it is well attached to the wheel head with coils of clay. Go slowly is the best advice.
Your pedestal base should be even if you pulled it and trimmed it off with a needle tool.
I would glaze the body of it but not the cake surface or the bottom and fire it upside down to high temp ... then glaze the top with a low fire glaze and low fire it.
This is a most ambitious project ... Good Luck!



Thanks for the advice!

#8 Chris Campbell

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 09:25 AM

I would definitely glaze the food surface.

Chris Campbell
Contemporary Fine Colored Porcelain
http://www.ccpottery.com/

https://www.facebook...88317932?ref=hl

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#9 GEP

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 10:06 AM

I would definitely glaze the food surface.


I respectfully disagree with this ... probably there are lots of differents opinions about this, similar to "the crazing debate" ... but I think as long as the porcelain is fully vitrified, it is safe for food unglazed. As for staining, I don't use any white clays so I probably don't have the best answer, I suspect that because porcelain is so white it will show even the slightest stains. However, if you find it is EASILY stained, then it wasn't fully vitrified. Fire it to the highest temp in its firing range.

Mea
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#10 ratdog

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 08:56 PM

i stuck a round sand paper to my bat and use it as a lapping wheel:rolleyes:

u could to and then slowly sand the top flat in bisc or bone dry

#11 Rachel Bakker

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 01:42 PM

These are excellent tips, thank you. Warping is my big issue, so next time I'm going to do as you say - make the platter portion thicker and add a rim.




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