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Best Table for the Studio?


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#1 SusanM

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 04:34 PM

Hello!



I am very fortunate to be setting up a new studio in my home and I was wondering what the best surface for work tables is. I was just going to head to Goodwill or Ikea and find some cheap and sturdy tables.

Most pottery places I have seen have canvas covered tables. I have just read that this tends to promote clay dust. Is there a better option?


Thanks!


Susan

#2 Cass

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 04:48 PM

just say no to canvas tops

i like homemade worktables with 4x4 frame and legs, you want the Heavy...i have one with a repurposed restaurant tabletop (formica-ish) and one wood that i wrap in 6 mil plastic, change every 6 months or so.

the 3rd in 1/2 wood work surface, 1/2 plaster bat








#3 bciskepottery

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 07:34 PM

I use folding tables (4 foot and 6 foot) for handbuilding, and work on either sheets of newsprint or pieces of drywall or plywood (different sizes for different projects). I roll slabs on slab mats, not canvass . . . to reduce dust. My wedging table has a plywood top that I wash after using to remove clay and reduce dust. No finish, just raw plywood. Basically, canvass has been banned from my home studio.

#4 JBaymore

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 08:30 PM

In my studio I use HEAVY metal table frames (custom) with 3/4" plywood tops that are then covered by 1/4" tempered masonite. The masonite is changed about every 1 to 2 years. Clay does not stick well to it, and it washes up very well from both clay and glaze materials.

At the college we use heavy wooden frame tables (custom) with 3/4" high density MDF for the top surface. The tops get changed every 3 years or so. Again clay does not stick, and the surfaces wash off easily. Stands up well to "student abuse".

NO CANVAS TABLE COVERINGS! Dust, dust, dust.

best,

.................john
John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#5 pattispots

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 07:01 AM

Hello!



I am very fortunate to be setting up a new studio in my home and I was wondering what the best surface for work tables is. I was just going to head to Goodwill or Ikea and find some cheap and sturdy tables.

Most pottery places I have seen have canvas covered tables. I have just read that this tends to promote clay dust. Is there a better option?


Thanks!


Susan



I found an old oak drafting table on craiglist for $75.....heavy, sturdy, easy to clean. The finish was pretty well worn to the bare wood, so I can even wedge on it. The lowest height setting, though, requires a higher drafting chair (also found one on craigslist). It is perfect in my little studio; a great all purpose table.

#6 minspargal

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 09:03 AM

I built my own with 1 inch plywood for the the top and 2x4 for the legs and frame. I am a short person so i could build it to my height. I use old printers' mats to wedge the clay and then wash those after every project and sponge off the table.

#7 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 10:33 AM

I have a heavy Formica table 4 x 6 and I got a 4 x4 Formica top that I put on a heavy duty rolling cart so the work space is 4 x 10. It is easy to clean and I can switch from earthenware to porcelain easily. I glaze on this also. Formica is easy cleaning with a sponge and water.
Marcia

#8 neilestrick

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 06:44 PM

4x4 legs, 2x4 rails, 3/4 inch MDF top sealed with 6 coats of linseed oil. Indestructible.
Neil Estrick
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#9 ayjay

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 07:52 AM

I can usually find a bit of space on top of the freezer. :lol:

#10 Ben

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 07:06 AM

are you looking for a work table or a wedging table?
2 completely different things. I had to make my wedge table to get one sturdy enough.

I'll 2nd the masonite for regular work table surface

#11 skopchains

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 10:33 AM

Wow, I didn't realize canvas isn't a good idea for a work surface b/c of dust! I've been meaning to make a better work table - I currently use a canvas-covered smallish piece of plywood that is atop a plastic folding table. I was planning to make a large (same size as table surface w/overlap) removable top made of 1" plywood (glue 2 1/2" plywood pieces together - cheaper than a 1" piece) covered in canvas to lay atop my table, but now I will skip the canvas and just go w/plywood or MDF. I like the linseed oil idea, too.

So, which do you all think would be the most lasting?
1. plywood surface
2. MDF surface
3. MDF surface w/6 coats linseed
4. Masonite surface glued to plywood backing (I have this on my woodworking workbench I made)

Thanks!
Susanna

#12 Jacqueline

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 11:09 AM

There is a great product that I use in my studio. It is a fiber cement product called Hardi Board. It comes in large sheets and makes a great table top for wedging and working with slabs. Stacking several makes it even more absorbant for wedging. I even bought a bundle of their 'shingles' for small projects and ware boards. It is absorbant, very strong and can take the sharp edges of pin tools without damage.

#13 OKpotter

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 03:41 PM

I built a couple of tables using recycled solid wood doors that I found in a surplus shop. I used to have a wedging table of canvas covered plaster of paris, but I got tired of the dust too. I called a pool table repair shop and they sold me an old piece of slate they couldn't use for $20. It covers about half of one of the door tables. It's not as absorbant as plaster, but better than plain wood and will never wear out. Just one more option to consider. Good luck!
on the edge

#14 Cass

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 04:33 PM

oh slate, that sounds dee-luxe! nice

#15 SusanM

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 07:00 PM

Wow! Thank you for the responses!


I need both a wedging surface and a work surface. I also switch back and forth from red clay to white clay so I need something "washable" I was going to check out Ikea, craigslist, Goodwill, etc for a table structure but I wasn't sure about the surface. I have plaster bats for really wet clay, and a canvas covered 20" x 20" x 1" board for more dry clay, handbuilding, etc.


Slate sounds fancy, but I like the idea of masonite. Would an unfinished wood work well for wedging?

#16 JBaymore

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 10:48 AM

4. Masonite surface glued to plywood backing (I have this on my woodworking workbench I made)


Susanna,

I use TEMPERED masonite, and I hold it down with some sheetrock nails, not glue. That allows easy re-surfacing, the glue would be a real mess.

best,

..............john
John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#17 Cass

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 11:15 AM

I need both a wedging surface and a work surface. I also switch back and forth from red clay to white clay so I need something "washable"


i would suggest separate wedging area, work area, and drying area for each color clay, you dont want white work that is pink (hey, you got chocolate in my peanut butter! are you old enough for that?,lol, anyway)

often you still to wedge while other clay is drying, this is why movable drying 'vats' are the way to go, plaster....perfect moment to learn how to pour plaster! it's cake to make,and durable, my vats are at least ten years old

plaster wedging surface too, whatever you were going to wedge on, put a 2x4 frame around the top and pour 3" of plaster in there

#18 SusanM

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 01:04 PM

[/quote]
(hey, you got chocolate in my peanut butter! are you old enough for that?,lol, anyway)

[/quote]


LOL - of course I remember that (I'm not that young - I was alive at least when Starwars came out)! However, mixing chocolate with peanut butter is MUCH more pleasurable than mixing white clay with red!

I do like my portable plaster "rectangles" - they work great for drying out clay, and don't take up too much space, and I can put them away if I don't need them.


@ JBaymore - do you find that underneath the masonite it gets moldy? I live in the northwest and mold is a constant - especially in damp, dark places. Just curious.

#19 JBaymore

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 01:45 PM

JBaymore - do you find that underneath the masonite it gets moldy? I live in the northwest and mold is a constant - especially in damp, dark places.


New Hampshire gets hot and muggy for most of the summer and I've never seen an issue with this. TEMPERED masonite does not tend to absorb moisture. The 35 year old plywood underneath still looks preffy much like "fresh wood" in fact.

best,

................john
John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#20 Kleipots

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 02:31 PM

We have oregan pine and teak tables in the studio. We soak it once a year with woodoc liquid polish.

2x plaster of paris boards for wedging that I've made 30 years ago, one for red and and one for white clay. For this I've used a beer box that holds 4x 6packs of beer as a mould. You simply throw mixed plaster of paris in the box and let it dry.
This is also used for drying out recycled clay.


I keep canvas and linen folded up in the drawer just to handle and move slabs to and from slabroller.

OKPotter, I like your idea of using slate, I will look into that.

Thanks to all of your for great ideas.





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