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Shimpo VL Whisper vs. Soldner


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#21 crowpotter

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 05:04 AM

hello everyone!

i am very excited as my husband and i finally decided to build a little pottery studio in our basement.

i have been looking at lots of wheels and i'm hesitating between a Shimpo VL Whisper, a S-100 Soldner and a P-100 Soldner.
i throw small pieces mostly under 5lbs, and i like to make dainty little pieces so good pedal control for precision is key.

that being said, i am also a pretty messy potter because i use quiet a bit of water so the splash pan is important to me.

i also like to have enough space on the wheel to display my water bucket and all my tools... and it looks like the S-100 Soldner doesn't have as much space as the Shimpo and of course not nearly as much space as the P-100.


i have been looking all over the internet and still haven't found a picture of the P-100 (or P-200) Soldner with a splash pan (NOT with a splash pan and trim pan together).
i would LOVE to see a picture of it... if anyone would like to email me a picture, my email is estellehberrebi@yahoo.com
i would be so grateful!!

i read that if you use the S-100 you can use a Brent splash pan and these are pretty big... but some people say that it doesn't fit perfect and makes some noise??

i am driving myself crazy looking at all the different websites and am hoping you guys can help me clarify the situation and finally pick a wheel :D

thank you so much in adance!!

estelle


Estelle, Maybe this will help. I bought my orange Shimpo RK2 when I was an apprentice at the Great Barrington Pottery in the Berkshires in the 70's. I used in at my first pottery in Maine (Crow Hill Pottery for 9 years every day). My life changed and I moved to NJ and could not be a full-time potter. Had to support my family. Made pots at the local community college classes and stored the wheel. Just completed my new studio in my home and retrieved the Shimpo last week. I turned it on and it runs fine. It's an amazing machine!

Caryn

#22 Red Rocks

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 08:57 AM


Lots of good advice and opinions on wheels on this thread. Can anyone point us to a recent analysis of all the top, professional level wheels?

I was completely sold on a Brent CXC until I started researching other wheels and found alot of positve comments about the Skutt and the Bailey comparable models - plus with both of them you have lower cost, lower cost leg extensions, more table/counter options and better splash pans. The Brent pans are horrible.

At some point, some group must have done a comprehensive review - any ideas where I might find one?

Thanks


Tom Forte of Thomas Stuart had this test done a few years ago to compare motor torque amongst the major brands: http://www.skuttwhee...otors.html#test. As far as other features, CM put out an article a few years back with an overview of wheels, but it was all very nice and didn't really give any down and dirty info. It basically read like a promo spot. I think they were trying their best not to piss off any of their advertisers.



#23 Red Rocks

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 09:00 AM



Lots of good advice and opinions on wheels on this thread. Can anyone point us to a recent analysis of all the top, professional level wheels?

I was completely sold on a Brent CXC until I started researching other wheels and found alot of positve comments about the Skutt and the Bailey comparable models - plus with both of them you have lower cost, lower cost leg extensions, more table/counter options and better splash pans. The Brent pans are horrible.

At some point, some group must have done a comprehensive review - any ideas where I might find one?

Thanks


Tom Forte of Thomas Stuart had this test done a few years ago to compare motor torque amongst the major brands: http://www.skuttwhee...otors.html#test. As far as other features, CM put out an article a few years back with an overview of wheels, but it was all very nice and didn't really give any down and dirty info. It basically read like a promo spot. I think they were trying their best not to piss off any of their advertisers.



Thanks Neil. It is amazing after all these years we do not have an impartial review of the major brands.

#24 OffCenter

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 10:10 AM

You don't need no stinkin' splash pan! Splash pans get in the way when you're throwing large pots, especially big bowls, and they're a pain to clean. Just place a large kitchen sponge between your water bowl and the wheel head so that the sponge barely touches the wheel head.

Jim
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#25 neilestrick

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 10:12 AM

A lot of what makes a wheel good or bad is very subjective. For every person who doesn't like a wheel there is another who loves it. Aside from power and torque, about the only objective comparison that could be made is control sensitivity. Most people don't make very large pots, and I would image that most wheels function within a range that is acceptable, so even that may be a non-issue. The best thing to do is simply try out the wheels to see which you prefer.
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#26 Estelle.the.potter

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 10:27 AM

i do agree that everyone has got his/her favorite wheel... and it's all very subjective


i have excellent news!! i'm getting the best of both worlds. my husband decided that he wanted a wheel too so he will be able to work with me in the studio

so i am getting the Soldner P200 and he will use the Shimpo :-)


thank you all!!!!


best,
estelle
estelle

#27 Chris Throws Pots

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 03:12 PM

Hi Estelle and all.

Lots of great discussion already, but I figured I'd chime in. I manage a community clay studio in which we have a Shimpo VL Whisper and a Brent CXC. I use a Soldner S-100 at home.

I can confirm that a Brent splash pan fits the S-100 perfectly. However, the larger half must be placed at the front of the wheel. On the Brent CXC, you can position the splash pan with either half closest to you. I really like having the smaller side close to me so I can remove it to slide pieces off the wheel without standing up. I pop it right back on and throw my next piece. Throwing at home on the Soldner, it's a bit more of a process... I end up needing to stand up and set the larger piece of the spash pan aside before sliding my piece off the wheel. Inconvenient and a bit messy... but nothing's perfect, right?

The Shimpo's splash pan has it's own issues. For a while, it's design leant itself to coming apart randomly and often, resulting in messy feet and floor. The design has been changed so that the two halves of the pan snap into a locked position. This is a huge improvement, but if you're like me and often remove the splash pan, it's still a bit of a hassle. If you are thinking about a used Whisper, look for one with an updated splash pan, or plan to buy a replacement. Shimpo was very helpful when we figured out there was a new design.
Old Shimpo Splash Pan Design:Attached File  Old Shimpo Pan Design.jpg   1.46MB   12 downloads
New Shimpo Splash Pan Design: Attached File  New Shimpo Pan Design 1.jpg   1.04MB   15 downloads
Attached File  New Shimpo Pan Design 2.jpg   1.08MB   10 downloads

For me, the Soldner has a couple of other strengths which make it a superior wheel:
- The holes in the wheelhead are threaded for 1/4 20 bat pins. No more wing nuts! Your bat pins will never loosen again, as they screw right into the wheel head. But don't crossthread! I didn't know about this feature when I got my Soldner wheel used and forced a bat pin with a different thread. The pin ripped in half when I tried to remove it, leaving a jagged piece of metal sticking out of the wheelhead. I ended up needing to take it to a machine shop to be ground down and new holes tapped.
-The pedal is ultimately responsive and smooth. Best I've ever used.
-It feels like a stronger wheel, capable of reaching a faster top speed and handling more clay. Given that you're working small, this probably isn't a huge concern.
-The legs of the Soldner adjust super easily. One knob on each leg loosen and tighten in seconds. I set my wheel up on a roof one summer and this feature was great in levelling the wheel on a slanted surface. The Shimpo adjusts, but only to a few different settings. Each leg has two phillps screws that must be removed in order to adjust height.

My only major complaint with the Soldner (it's been said already in this thread) is that it is a beast to move. On occasion I have taken my wheel to farmers' markets and craft shows to do demos... these events are almost always followed by a trip to my chiropractor. The underside of the Soldner has a cage/grate thing to protect you from the belts and the belts from you. But it's sharp in spots and can make carrying the wheel awkward if you're doing it by yourself.

When I'm at the community studio, I almost exclusively use the Brent CXC. In addition to the CXC and VL Whisper we have 10 Pacifica GT400s. I love it almost as much as my Soldner. The pedal is great (though not Soldner great), it has a strong motor and a smooth drive. It's easy enough to move around. In order to adjust height, you need to buy leg attachments, or keep some bricks handy. It needs an uncommonly long bat pin due to the design of the wheelhead's underside. It has a smaller deck than the Soldner, but it's plenty of space for tools.

Hope this helps. I can send a picture of the Brent splash pan mounted on the Soldner wheel if you haven't yet received one.

-CV

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#28 ratmfan105

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 03:51 PM

Hello,

I have read most of the posts with everyones views on the various wheels and would like to give my input. I have a VL Whisper and have owned it for 3 years now. It was the first electric wheel I used and still remains my preferred choice. I was debating years ago whether to get a Soldner or a Shimpo and ending choosing a VL. I would still love to try the Soldner wheel with the VL body shape (meaning no large table attached.) Heres a quick pro con of various wheels.

Brents
Pros-Have lots of power and various models for specific amounts of power needed. Very good splash pans.
Cons-Wheelhead slowly comes to a stop after stopping the foot pedal.

Pacificas
Pros-Good power and seem to be easy to move around.
Cons-Not an easy reversing switch compared to the smooth VL knob. Plus splash pans have to go on a certain way with one needing to be in front. Also seems to be a very low wheel, but could be a complaint since I am very tall.

Thomas Stewarts
Pros-Solid wheel and can be great for throwing large amounts and keeps things clean.
Cons-If you have the solid body, since the wheel head is set below the walls, you cannot use bats that are larger than I would guess 18 to 20" unless you use 2 to 3" of clay on the wheelhead to lift and set the bat on top of. Also, very very heavy, although a relatively small wheel which is nice.

Bailey
Pros-Good power and easy cleanup. Not sure if the 12" wheelhead size is an issue for many people but can be nice for getting most 13" or bigger bats off since you're not trying to wiggle tools in between a bat and wheelhead which are the same diameter.
Cons-The foot pedal is a little bigger than I care to have and would suggest using a brick under the opposite foot while throwing.

Soldner
Pros-Large work space and good room for tools. Also the model with large table top is very easy to clean as well as having a very sturdy body. Has great power and from what people say, they really love the foot pedal and a lot would say there is not a better controlling foot pedal from what I hear.
Cons-Personally, I hate how bulky the Soldner foot pedals are. I also would say that they can have a fast wheelhead speed, but honestly, every single Soldner I have thrown on, it always slows down when centering which always suprises me due to their reputation. And as said before, very heavy and would only fit in the back of an suv or truckbed.

Shimpo VL Whisper
Pros-Good power for most hobby and pros that are throwing less than 50lbs. I hear that people have burned out the motor on throwing 50lb platters. But I have no issues of the wheelhead slowing down during certering. I think this is due to the wheelhead being controlled by computers that compensate when more or less pressure gets applied and the wheel can stay at the same speed while not touching the clay or literally trying to hold the wheelhead from spinning which I think is impossible. The foot pedal is an appropriate size and not too high off of the ground. The reversal switch is so easy to use and the smoothest I have seen and used which is great because I throw counter cw and trim clockwise.
Cons-Splash pan is a decent design and good size but problem is it does NOT stay locked. The plastic can wear out and will not stay completely in shape where they connect. I will go through times where I forget the splash pan completely and deal with the throwing mess.

I would say the VL is the way to go as far as capabilities and for price. Most places online with ship it for right about $900. I wouldn't plan on getting anything else other than another VL in the future. Hope this helps and happy throwing all!

#29 yedrow

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 10:59 PM

You don't need no stinkin' splash pan! Splash pans get in the way when you're throwing large pots, especially big bowls, and they're a pain to clean. Just place a large kitchen sponge between your water bowl and the wheel head so that the sponge barely touches the wheel head.

Jim


ROCK ON!!!

#30 LilyT

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 11:09 PM

You don't need no stinkin' splash pan! Splash pans get in the way when you're throwing large pots, especially big bowls, and they're a pain to clean. Just place a large kitchen sponge between your water bowl and the wheel head so that the sponge barely touches the wheel head.

Jim


ooh, I'm going to try this....

#31 Red Rocks

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 08:54 PM

Hello,

I have read most of the posts with everyones views on the various wheels and would like to give my input. I have a VL Whisper and have owned it for 3 years now. It was the first electric wheel I used and still remains my preferred choice. I was debating years ago whether to get a Soldner or a Shimpo and ending choosing a VL. I would still love to try the Soldner wheel with the VL body shape (meaning no large table attached.) Heres a quick pro con of various wheels.

Brents
Pros-Have lots of power and various models for specific amounts of power needed. Very good splash pans.
Cons-Wheelhead slowly comes to a stop after stopping the foot pedal.

Pacificas
Pros-Good power and seem to be easy to move around.
Cons-Not an easy reversing switch compared to the smooth VL knob. Plus splash pans have to go on a certain way with one needing to be in front. Also seems to be a very low wheel, but could be a complaint since I am very tall.

Thomas Stewarts
Pros-Solid wheel and can be great for throwing large amounts and keeps things clean.
Cons-If you have the solid body, since the wheel head is set below the walls, you cannot use bats that are larger than I would guess 18 to 20" unless you use 2 to 3" of clay on the wheelhead to lift and set the bat on top of. Also, very very heavy, although a relatively small wheel which is nice.

Bailey
Pros-Good power and easy cleanup. Not sure if the 12" wheelhead size is an issue for many people but can be nice for getting most 13" or bigger bats off since you're not trying to wiggle tools in between a bat and wheelhead which are the same diameter.
Cons-The foot pedal is a little bigger than I care to have and would suggest using a brick under the opposite foot while throwing.

Soldner
Pros-Large work space and good room for tools. Also the model with large table top is very easy to clean as well as having a very sturdy body. Has great power and from what people say, they really love the foot pedal and a lot would say there is not a better controlling foot pedal from what I hear.
Cons-Personally, I hate how bulky the Soldner foot pedals are. I also would say that they can have a fast wheelhead speed, but honestly, every single Soldner I have thrown on, it always slows down when centering which always suprises me due to their reputation. And as said before, very heavy and would only fit in the back of an suv or truckbed.

Shimpo VL Whisper
Pros-Good power for most hobby and pros that are throwing less than 50lbs. I hear that people have burned out the motor on throwing 50lb platters. But I have no issues of the wheelhead slowing down during certering. I think this is due to the wheelhead being controlled by computers that compensate when more or less pressure gets applied and the wheel can stay at the same speed while not touching the clay or literally trying to hold the wheelhead from spinning which I think is impossible. The foot pedal is an appropriate size and not too high off of the ground. The reversal switch is so easy to use and the smoothest I have seen and used which is great because I throw counter cw and trim clockwise.
Cons-Splash pan is a decent design and good size but problem is it does NOT stay locked. The plastic can wear out and will not stay completely in shape where they connect. I will go through times where I forget the splash pan completely and deal with the throwing mess.

I would say the VL is the way to go as far as capabilities and for price. Most places online with ship it for right about $900. I wouldn't plan on getting anything else other than another VL in the future. Hope this helps and happy throwing all!



#32 Red Rocks

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 09:10 PM

Ratmfan - great overview of all the wheels. Here is the dilemma that I boil my choice down to - is the Brent really worth $500 more than the Bailey?

When I compare the CXC and the PRO XL it literally is $1400 for the CXC and $905 for the Bailey Pro XL. This includes the respective leg extension packages for each and a wheel head extension for the Bailey which allows you to throw large platters, bowls, etc, without removing the splash pan (not available on the CXC as far as I can tell). Different than some on the thread, I use a lot of water and want a good splash plan to help keep the studio clean. I have thrown a lot of pots on the CXC and have never seen or used a Bailey. However, I know they are a respected name with a long history. From a work perspective, the most I would throw is 25-30 pounds and most of the time I am in the under 15lb category. I like to throw fast and do a lot of dinner ware.

So what am I missing? I know and respect the old adage "you get what you pay for" but it is hard to justify the difference. Can anyone with direct experience give me their feedback to help with a more informed choice?

Thanks,
Pots in the Red Rocks



#33 Mark C.

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 09:53 PM

<br>Ratmfan - great overview of all the wheels.&nbsp;&nbsp;Here is the dilemma that I boil my choice down to - is the Brent really worth $500 more than the Bailey?<br><br>When I compare the CXC and the PRO XL it literally is $1400 for the CXC and $905 for the Bailey Pro XL.&nbsp;&nbsp;This includes the respective leg extension packages for each and a wheel head extension for the Bailey which allows you to throw large platters, bowls, etc, without removing the splash pan (not available on the CXC as far as I can tell).&nbsp;&nbsp;Different than some on the thread, I use a lot of water and want a good splash plan to help keep the studio clean.&nbsp;&nbsp;I have thrown a lot of pots on the CXC and have never seen or used a Bailey.&nbsp;&nbsp;However, I know they are a respected name with a long history.&nbsp;&nbsp;From a work perspective, the most I would throw is 25-30 pounds and most of the time I am in the under 15lb category.&nbsp;&nbsp;I like to throw fast and do a lot of dinner ware.<br><br>So what am I missing? I know and respect the old adage "you get what you pay for"&nbsp;&nbsp;but it is hard to justify the difference.&nbsp;&nbsp;Can anyone with direct experience give me their feedback to help with a more informed choice?&nbsp;&nbsp;<br><br>Thanks,<br>Pots in the Red Rocks<br><br><br>

<br><br>


The CXC are 1100$ at Bennett pottery supply-
My CXC has done 25 years my C has done over 35 years-I'm all about bailey slab rollers Jim Bailey make the best slab rollers no doubt-but love Brent wheels

I have never seen or used a bailey wheel. Have 4 Brents now.
Mark
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#34 Red Rocks

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 11:44 AM

<br>Ratmfan - great overview of all the wheels.&nbsp;&nbsp;Here is the dilemma that I boil my choice down to - is the Brent really worth $500 more than the Bailey?<br><br>When I compare the CXC and the PRO XL it literally is $1400 for the CXC and $905 for the Bailey Pro XL.&nbsp;&nbsp;This includes the respective leg extension packages for each and a wheel head extension for the Bailey which allows you to throw large platters, bowls, etc, without removing the splash pan (not available on the CXC as far as I can tell).&nbsp;&nbsp;Different than some on the thread, I use a lot of water and want a good splash plan to help keep the studio clean.&nbsp;&nbsp;I have thrown a lot of pots on the CXC and have never seen or used a Bailey.&nbsp;&nbsp;However, I know they are a respected name with a long history.&nbsp;&nbsp;From a work perspective, the most I would throw is 25-30 pounds and most of the time I am in the under 15lb category.&nbsp;&nbsp;I like to throw fast and do a lot of dinner ware.<br><br>So what am I missing? I know and respect the old adage "you get what you pay for"&nbsp;&nbsp;but it is hard to justify the difference.&nbsp;&nbsp;Can anyone with direct experience give me their feedback to help with a more informed choice?&nbsp;&nbsp;<br><br>Thanks,<br>Pots in the Red Rocks<br><br><br>

<br><br>


The CXC are 1100$ at Bennett pottery supply-
My CXC has done 25 years my C has done over 35 years-I'm all about bailey slab rollers Jim Bailey make the best slab rollers n doubt-but love Brent wheels

I have never seen or used a bailey wheel. Have 4 Brents now.
Mark



#35 Red Rocks

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 11:49 AM


<br>Ratmfan - great overview of all the wheels.&nbsp;&nbsp;Here is the dilemma that I boil my choice down to - is the Brent really worth $500 more than the Bailey?<br><br>When I compare the CXC and the PRO XL it literally is $1400 for the CXC and $905 for the Bailey Pro XL.&nbsp;&nbsp;This includes the respective leg extension packages for each and a wheel head extension for the Bailey which allows you to throw large platters, bowls, etc, without removing the splash pan (not available on the CXC as far as I can tell).&nbsp;&nbsp;Different than some on the thread, I use a lot of water and want a good splash plan to help keep the studio clean.&nbsp;&nbsp;I have thrown a lot of pots on the CXC and have never seen or used a Bailey.&nbsp;&nbsp;However, I know they are a respected name with a long history.&nbsp;&nbsp;From a work perspective, the most I would throw is 25-30 pounds and most of the time I am in the under 15lb category.&nbsp;&nbsp;I like to throw fast and do a lot of dinner ware.<br><br>So what am I missing? I know and respect the old adage "you get what you pay for"&nbsp;&nbsp;but it is hard to justify the difference.&nbsp;&nbsp;Can anyone with direct experience give me their feedback to help with a more informed choice?&nbsp;&nbsp;<br><br>Thanks,<br>Pots in the Red Rocks<br><br><br>

<br><br>


The CXC are 1100$ at Bennett pottery supply-
My CXC has done 25 years my C has done over 35 years-I'm all about bailey slab rollers Jim Bailey make the best slab rollers n doubt-but love Brent wheels

I have never seen or used a bailey wheel. Have 4 Brents now.
Mark



Thanks Mark. You are right, Bennett has the best price I have seen on a CXC. However, my issue is I like to throw standing up, so I need to add $200 to the price for the leg extension kit, making the CXC $1,300 and the Bailey $905.

Anyone out there with direct experience with the Bailey Pro XL with the leg extensions?

Thank you.

#36 ratmfan105

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 04:25 PM

I first would like to say that these leg extensions that various companies make are very nice and sturdy but I would suggest trying 3 cinderblocks stood up vertically and then for the wheel to be put up on those. It will save you $197 and that could be used for whatever but I personally don't care for Brents, they aren't bad but they can be noisey and like I said before, the way the wheelhead spins and stops is hard for me to get used to.

But I guess to answer your question, I would say that it would not be worth buying a $500 more expensive wheel compared to the Bailey. If I didn't say before, I think that the Bailey throws similarly to my VL Whisper and even though the body design is much similar to a Brent, I would prefer a Bailey over a Brent. The Bailey should be fine for the weights of clay you throw.

Hope this helps and best of luck.

#37 Mark C.

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 05:10 PM

I know Brents are still american made and I bet the baileys are to-The VLs are from china now-shimpo still makes wheels in Japan but not for our export market. I think John B had posted info on this.
service should also be a consideration- the whisper has not been around all that long
My experience with china goods is service can be spotty at best-if you want cheaper legs you can make your own from 2 inch pipe and paint them-wield up any design you like.
I do like the brent accessories as they are built like a tank.
Mark
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#38 neilestrick

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 02:25 PM

Thomas Stewarts
Pros-Solid wheel and can be great for throwing large amounts and keeps things clean.
Cons-If you have the solid body, since the wheel head is set below the walls, you cannot use bats that are larger than I would guess 18 to 20" unless you use 2 to 3" of clay on the wheelhead to lift and set the bat on top of. Also, very very heavy, although a relatively small wheel which is nice.


They make a shaft extension that allows you to use bats of any size. You can fit a 15" bat without it.
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#39 neilestrick

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 02:26 PM

Thomas Stuart/Skutt will make legs of any height you need.
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#40 Dinah

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 12:21 AM

I love my Thomas Stuart Legend. I built a wooden shelf with under chocks to stablize it which nestles on the back of the splash pan. Tools for the job on it and water bucket. Cup hooks on each end for wires. Racks above and to the sides to hold a tray system for tools. Ware board trolley to my right. Trimmings bucket to my left for recycling in the Peter Pugger. Nothing in the splash pan except a bit of slurry and trimmings. Looking at a 2nd wheel, local person offering a an elderly Shimpo RK-2. Cleaning wheel and bats to swap over from iron+ body to white body is TEDIOUS. Apprentice skut work which I don't have. Going to test drive it for 10 days. Appreciate any orchids or onions about this model. I've read the Clayart Archives already.

Also I bought leg extensions which are great when the old sciatica kicks up and standing is a Good Thing; and a shaft extension which raises the level of the wheel over the splash pan so that I can throw/turn those 22"+ diameter plates....It's on there permanently now. It's so useful. Especially if you are throwing on larger diameter bats. Brilliant additions the leg and shaft extensions.
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