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#1 MMB

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 12:19 PM

Hope I posted this in the right area. So Im shopping for whats hopefully my last big buy for my studio. I live near Clay-King so Ive perused their selection of potters wheels. Im looking for one that will be good to start throwing again and be a lasting addition in my studio for some time. I only was only throwing small things when I was in college and I really dont think Ill be throwing anything particularly huge in the future, yet I want a broad spectrum of options. What seems to be the best bang for my buck is the Shimpo 1/2hp VL Whisper. I know Brents are of great quality and that theyre the main company to occupy classrooms, at least when I was in school.

So from those with more of experienced view am I in the right direction?

#2 neilestrick

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 03:49 PM

I will never buy anything but Thomas Stuart/Skutt wheels. I've got 11 of them, and they are great. They have the most torque, so you'll never overpower them. Their 1/3hp model can handle 75 pounds. The controller and pedal are smooth. The large splash pans will keep your studio a million times cleaner than models with small splash pans.

My biggest problem with the Shimp Whisper wheels is their lack of torque. You can grab the wheel head with your bare hands while it's turning and stop it. Not good. The lack of sound bothers me, too. I tend to adjust wheel speed by the hum of the wheel as much as anything else. Never realized that until I threw on a Whisper. Drove me nuts!

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#3 MMB

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 04:43 PM

That is very good to know. I was liking the shimpos price on that one lol oh well I guess if youre planning to spend 900 whats 1000. Im not too worried about the splash pan atm. I can understand what you mean, although Im still a messy one in the studio. I was looking at the 3 different options for their 1/3hp. I cant remember if I cared whether or I was able to use reverse in school, seems its a difference of 200 bucks.

#4 bciskepottery

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 05:27 PM

Couple years ago I bought a Shimpo Whisper; no regrets. Three things sold me over others: quietness, responsiveness of the foot pedal, and direct drive -- no belts.

#5 neilestrick

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 07:58 PM

Couple years ago I bought a Shimpo Whisper; no regrets. Three things sold me over others: quietness, responsiveness of the foot pedal, and direct drive -- no belts.


What is is about the direct drive that you prefer? I often hear that but I'm not clear what the benefit is.

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#6 bciskepottery

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 08:29 PM

Direct drive -- fewer parts, seems like a simpler design. One would think it could provide more torque, etc. but I don't throw so large that that aspect was a real consideration. I had been using a Shimpo RK style at the studio (with foot pedal instead of stick shift) and it felt better and smoother than the Brents. Had the local dealer sold Thomas Stuart wheels, I may have gone with one of those.

I also chose to buy local instead of ordering from an internet source -- even though it cost a little bit more -- in case I needed service and to support the local pottery store. Buying local is more than buying from the local potter; it is also supporting the local supplier. I try to keep a balance between buying on line and buying local.

#7 neilestrick

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 09:25 PM

Direct drive -- fewer parts, seems like a simpler design.


I have heard that argument, and I understand where you're coming from. That said, the belt drive systems don't ever break down. Even the belts usually last for 20 to 30 years. It's always the electronics that go first, followed by motors.

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#8 Mark C.

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 10:46 PM

I like Brents as I have owned 6 of them now paired it down to 4.I would buy a used Brent myself.The new ones are overpriced now-I will say they have last a lifetime.
The Thomas Stuart wheels are also very well made the older ones-I have a friend with one back before Skutt bought them out. I do not know now that Skutt bought them out how they are? They used to be very well made. I do not like the jumbo splash pan but thats really a personal issue on likes-they are powerfull and as with the Brents belts are a non issue.
I know all shimpos are made in china now-I do not know much else except I did not like the old cone drive ones. I do know they seem underpowered as I have been around a few of the newer ones.
I do not recommend Pacificas ethier.
My 2 cents


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#9 neilestrick

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 10:04 AM

As far as I can tell, Skutt hasn't changed anything on the TS wheels. One of my students just got one and it appears identical to mine. I have a friend who only buys Pacificas for his school, but I've always thought they were cheaply made.

Neil Estrick
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#10 JBaymore

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 01:15 PM

My biggest problem with the Shimp Whisper wheels is their lack of torque. You can grab the wheel head with your bare hands while it's turning and stop it.


I have a Brent CXC that is pretty darn ancient... and has been in professional use all that time. LOVE that beast. It is the model just after they dropped the dierct-drive right angle gear drive connection for the motor to the wheel head. So instead of a gazillion pounds the wheel unit only weighs half a gazillion pounds Posted Image . In 35 to almost 40 years of use I have replaced a single rectifier in the original power supply once. Using the same belts today. My main complaint about it now.... it is loud. And the sound of the main wheelhead bearings has changed a slight bit.... so I think they are finally just starting to go. My next electric wheel will likely be my last one.....not getting any younger.

Personally I LOVE the silence of the Shimpo Whispers. We have a buch of them in the classrooms at the college where I teach. In a teaching setting they are a godsend when a dozen or more wheels are running all at once and you are trying to speak to the class. But just like Neil says above, they have NO torque. When I demo throwing large stuff (30-35 pounds and up in one piece), I have to shift to the Brents we also have in the studio. Or "baby" the Whisper through it...it certainly CAN be done.

I was actually going to buy a new Whisper based mainly on that wonderful lack of sound....... until I discovered the matching lack of torque. I talked to Shimpo directly about production of higher power/torque wheel in the US, but as of yet... no solutions apparently are in the offing. (Also note that Shimpo produces numerous pieces of very nice equipment in Japan that they do not import to the USA....the price points of those items are too high for the US market.)

As to the impact of splash pans.... I don't use any, ever. Personally I throw pretty dry, and use slurry for lubricant. And I tend to teach that technique to my students. For trimming, scraps simply go onto the wheel-deck or floor and then get cleaned up while still wet. So splash pans become less and less useful. I find that splash pans on every wheel I have ever used nop matter what the brand (and that is a lot of them) tend to limit free and full access to the wheel head area when throwing/trimming.

I always hated the older Shimpo RK wheels with the ring-cone drive system where the foot pedal physically moved the motor asseembly. Why move all theat weight around? Plus, when you'd drop the wheel into free-wheeling "neutral" it always seemed like there was this "thunk" that shook everything....... and could cause issues with a delicate piece. Other than that, they were real work horses. You couldn't kill them.

In the various schools that I have taught at over the many years we've had many different brands of wheels used. The typical ones in volume numbers have been Brent model Cs or CXCs and Shimpo RKs or Whispers. With a smattering of Randall kickwheels and Lockerbie kickwheels (LOVE those wheels!!!!!) The Brents seem to be the workhorses.... standing up well to "student abuse". As did the older RKs,..... built like battleships.

In my own studio I have a Brent CXC that is "my" production wheel, and then also some Randall kickwheels, a Brent kickwheel, a Lockerbie kickwheel (yes!,) and an Estrin kickwheel. The kickwheels are mainly for workshop use when I run the summer woodfire workshop here....... but the Estrin I do often use for trimming. The Estrin has a smaller lighter flywheel than most western wheels, and I use it by pulling with the left foot like I do on the Korean/Japanese style wood kickwheels. (I'm hoping to import a nice high quality wooden kickwheel from S. Korea shortly too.)

best,

.................john
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#11 Darla

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 02:30 PM

I will never buy anything but Thomas Stuart/Skutt wheels. I've got 11 of them, and they are great. They have the most torque, so you'll never overpower them. Their 1/3hp model can handle 75 pounds. The controller and pedal are smooth. The large splash pans will keep your studio a million times cleaner than models with small splash pans.

My biggest problem with the Shimp Whisper wheels is their lack of torque. You can grab the wheel head with your bare hands while it's turning and stop it. Not good. The lack of sound bothers me, too. I tend to adjust wheel speed by the hum of the wheel as much as anything else. Never realized that until I threw on a Whisper. Drove me nuts!




Love love love my Thomas Stuart. Really love it. I have a whole drilled, and the slop just drains into a bucket - never have to fiddle with a two part splash pan that no longer fits well. I can throw all day and be as messy as I want without ever having to empty anything other than the bucket. At the end of a long day, I use a rubber rib to clean up chunks, and pour a half gallon of clean water around the pan, and let it drain. The wheel head is secure, but pops right off when you need it to. There is a wheel extension, so you can throw on really large bats if you want that option. It's like 13 or 14 years old with no issues, ever. Would recommend the Thomas Stuart highly.

#12 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 05:13 PM

I am happy with my Bailey wheel. It is relatively slow compared to Brent's and shrimps. I like the slower wheel.
just my speed, I guess.
Marcia

#13 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 05:14 PM

I am happy with my Bailey wheel. It is relatively slow compared to Brent's and shrimps. I like the slower wheel.
just my speed, I guess.
Marcia

#14 yedrow

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 09:16 PM

I do not recommend a Pacifica, we have one that is just a few months old and already we've had to replace the pedal and it feels like the bearings are going out. I don't like Brent for production use, but I think it would be a great studio wheel, and I like their kick/electrics. I know two production potters who love their VL Whispers, I personally don't like the RKs. I know one master potter who is pleased with his Bailey. I like the Soldner type of wheel, but they're a bit pricey for the average potter. Creative Industries makes cheap wheels, nuff said.

I strongly recommend trying the pedal first. Lots of people talk about power, but if you have a weak pedal you are much more limited than if you can't throw a 50# block of clay. I know a 110# woman who can center a 6# chunk of clay as well as I can, and I'm a stout guy. Precision trumps power IMO. However, if you are planning on centering 15 or 20 pounds, you may want to go for a stronger wheel. If on the other hand you are planning on turning out coffee mugs and pie plates, a responsive pedal is top of the list. I can throw on anything, but a touchy pedal, well, it just makes pottery not fun.

#15 Craig

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 01:40 PM

I know I'm coming to this thread late but wanted to add my two cents worth based on recent experience.  I'm a potter going on 50 yrs.  I've thrown on nearly every wheel out there including many kick and treadle wheels.  I bought a Skutt/Thomas Stuart wheel in 2005 based on reviews as well as throwing with one at the store.  I liked the splash pan, easily removed wheel head, wheel head extension height, and power/torque.  

However, within 3 yrs the Stuart became the noisiest wheel I've ever thrown on.  I have tinitus (constant ringing in the ears).  The noise from the Stuart is a high pitched whine that gets louder with increasing speed thus exacerbating my tinitus.  After spending 2+ hours on it, I'm nearly deaf.  And forget listening to music in the studio when using the Stuart because you can't hear anything but the wheel.  

I contacted Skutt tech about the noise and was told that it was due to the motor's brush wear (so they were obviously aware of the problem).  They told me to reverse the motor and let the wheel run at full speed overnight in order to equalize the wear on the brushes.  I followed their instructions and it worked for a couple weeks but the noise eventually came back.  It got to the point that I began to dread working at the wheel.  So I broke down last week and bought a Shimpo Whisper VL.  

I'm well aware of the lack of torque described above regarding the Shimpo but since I'm past the age or need to throw macho big pots, the lack of torque isn't an issue for me.  Most of my production ware rarely exceeds 5-10 pounds.  Now my time at the wheel is serene.  I can listen to music as well as concentrate on the task at hand without distraction.  I'm building a large plexiglass splash/trimmings pan to replace the awful splash pan that comes with it but I would have done that anyway.  It did take some getting used to since I sometimes gauge the wheel speed by the sound but it didn't take long to get used to the sounds of silence and adjust accordingly.  

 



#16 Biglou13

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 04:53 PM

I am happy with my Bailey wheel. It is relatively slow compared to Brent's and shrimps. I like the slower wheel.
just my speed, I guess.
Marcia


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#17 Joy pots

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 12:05 PM

I have both the VL whisper & just bought the Thomas Stuart. I've thrown on kick wheels for years & am unhappy with the Whisper, no torque, no sound (for rythum) & crappy leaky splash pan, plus the Giffin grip doesn't fit well.
I love the Skutt/Thomas Stuart, I have the Prestige model.
I believe the price was comparable.
Check out all the suppliers on line & find the best price. Shipping in the US is fee from most suppliers.

#18 Pres

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 07:12 PM

I learned on a motorized Randall, great wheel with removable plaster bats. Had an Amaco motorized kick with big splash pan in the school I started in BIG WHEEL! Worked well. Grad school went had Brent C's worked well, but I slowed them some when centering and throwing. First personal wheel was the Amaco motorized kick like the one at school-bought used and cheap. At school bought two CI's when they came out with HP and MP-loved the power, and the large work space. At school bought Baileys to replace the two large kicks I had, up to 4 total. Bought a CXC for myself.

 

Reccomendations: CXC will last forever as John B has already stated. The CXC does not slow down, no matter how much I crank on it.  On a lower price point the Baileys that I bought for school worked really well for the kids, and the adults. I bought the optional shelf for these and they worked well butted face to face with the double width of shelf in the middle. Myself, I found that I liked to demonstrate on the CI HP with the large workspace and lots of torque. These HP's have been improved over the years with better controllers etc., but ours was going strong with no belts replace after 15 years of work.


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#19 Rebekah Krieger

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 03:16 PM

I have a skutt kick wheel that I love. The nice thing about it is that it cannot break down. ;)

 

I also use the brent cxc and have learned to love it. It took me a while because I always preferred my kick wheel.  Now I love them both the same. 


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#20 Davidpotter

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 11:37 PM

at my school we have 4 electric brent cxc's and i think 6 brent kick wheels. (one with a motor that still works but we don't use it due to the electric wheels are farthest from outlets. i love using kick wheels for trimming and i have thrown 25 pound pieces on it without any winning from the wheel. they also have a good level of sound and these are about 15 years old by the way. at home i have a speed ball clay boss that i think is very worth the price (mine was around $400 without shipping) the only complaint i have is that its a tiny bit noisy and the peddle is a little tight (i adjust the pedal by hand and it doesn't want to move without a good poke)


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