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Make your own bats


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#1 Idahopotter

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 03:07 PM

I usually just lift my pots from the wheel head so bats are not something that get used a lot in my studio. My grandfather uses plaster bats which i despise. Any ideas on materials i could make my own bats out of that would be cheaper than buying them.

#2 Lucille Oka

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 03:14 PM

Yes, plaster. It really is the best material for bats. However maybe if you were to use a harder plaster like Hydrocal White or Hydrostone they would serve you better than a softer plaster. Even though you didn't specify what you despised about the plaster bats...,What do you despise about the plaster bats?
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#3 Mark C.

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 03:26 PM

If you are handy you can make them from the discarded formica sinks round/ovals that formica counter installers toss. If you ask they usually have a pile or will save for you-they will need band sawing into rounds and drilling for the lug holes but work for decades.
I still have many around the shop. I use plaster for all small forms and the blue plastic from Northstar for larger stuff but the formica ones I used when I had no money for bats starting out worked fine. The material is fiberboard so if you coat the edges and bottoms they will last forever. Thats my tip of the week.
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#4 neilestrick

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 03:30 PM

I like my Medex bats, which I got from Northstar. Absorbent, durable. Medex is an exterior grade MDF. It's hard to find ful sheets locally, though. Home Depot, Lowe's, etc, don't carry it. If you like plastic bats, you can get a full 4x8ft sheet of cutting board material from a plastics supplier. But cutting your own bats can be a real hassle. Making circles is not as easy as cutting straight lines. The best way to do it is to use wood template and a plunge router with a guide collar. Be prepared for a big mess.
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#5 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 05:43 PM

I like birch plywood. I have sliced my hand on formica sink tops turned into bats.
Granted..they should have been sanded down better..so it was my own fault.
I have also made them from the MDF that Neil mentioned. I also put a coat of bats, especially the MDF.
When I was teaching at one of the universities, the students were soaking the bats. When I had some replacements made, I had them coated with a light coat of spray varithane..especially the holes for the bat pins. That is the last thing you want to soften and loosen the fit.

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#6 neilestrick

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:46 PM

The great benefit of the Medex is that it is absorbent, so the pots dry more evenly. So I wouldn't put a sealer on it. It's also very durable- I've got 10 year old bats and holes are still tight.
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#7 ~janie

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 10:09 AM

My husband cuts my bats from double sided masonite, $17.00 for a 4'x8' sheet. He cuts them into 10" squares, and drills holes in two corners. Only very large bats are cut in circles. The drops make great little ware boards. We get at least 36 bats from a sheet, with lots of little ware boards, and they last a long time. I prefer the square bats as they don't take up so much room on my shelves, if I need to leave things on the bat.

#8 Nancy S.

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 11:00 AM

My husband cuts my bats from double sided masonite, $17.00 for a 4'x8' sheet. He cuts them into 10" squares, and drills holes in two corners. Only very large bats are cut in circles. The drops make great little ware boards. We get at least 36 bats from a sheet, with lots of little ware boards, and they last a long time. I prefer the square bats as they don't take up so much room on my shelves, if I need to leave things on the bat.


I've been considering doing this lately!! I have quite a few round masonite bats, but I tend to make smaller items...so a 12-14" round bat is a lot of wasted room on the shelf, even if I overlap the edges. Do you just sand down the edges so that they aren't as sharp? Do you seal the edges at all with anything? Thanks in advance! Posted Image

#9 neilestrick

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 03:42 PM

If you just need ware boards, and want them to last a long time, attach 1/4 inch masonite to 1/2 inch plywood with contact cement. Nice smooth surface, rigid, durable.
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#10 Mark C.

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 03:51 PM

The thing about masonite is it warps when wet-Niel said medex is the superior product. Our local specialty lumber store can order it in various thickness-its the best wood type bat material but it is spendy. My thoughts now are making bats takes time so use good materials-when I started out that was not the thought.
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#11 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 04:58 PM

For small pieces I like the inserts with the bat. North Star makes them. I have 4 dozen little 4 x 4 masonite bats that insert into the receiving bat that fits on pegs on a wheel head. These save a lot of space. They stopped making the 5 x 5 size. I use the 4 x 4 bats for mugs (porcelain) and soup bowls that can extend beyond the 4 x 4.
I also throw small bottles and taller vases on them.

Marcia

#12 Brian Reed

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 01:00 AM

I also use the double sided quarter inch thick Masonite. It is hard to find the good double tempered stuff. The only place around here has it from $35 a 4x8 foot sheet. I make them 8 inch square and get 72 squares out of a sheet. Then I put holes for the standard 10inch spaced bat pins. They work great and last for years.
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#13 Ben

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 12:50 PM

double sided masonite or medex
nothing beats those 2 materials for all the reasons given
I can't make bats from medex any cheaper than I can buy them

I have a bat that uses the smaller square masonite inserts and I can definitely make those as cheaply.

#14 ~janie

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:53 PM


My husband cuts my bats from double sided masonite, $17.00 for a 4'x8' sheet. He cuts them into 10" squares, and drills holes in two corners. Only very large bats are cut in circles. The drops make great little ware boards. We get at least 36 bats from a sheet, with lots of little ware boards, and they last a long time. I prefer the square bats as they don't take up so much room on my shelves, if I need to leave things on the bat.


I've been considering doing this lately!! I have quite a few round masonite bats, but I tend to make smaller items...so a 12-14" round bat is a lot of wasted room on the shelf, even if I overlap the edges. Do you just sand down the edges so that they aren't as sharp? Do you seal the edges at all with anything? Thanks in advance! Posted Image

He just runs them through the table saw, have not found the need to sand anything. Then we drill the holes and we are done. No sealing. I am sure there are other products, but honestly, for us, this has been the solution. If you don't soak them in a sink full of water, and use reasonable care, they last for a very long time. I have not had any problems with them, nor have I had any warp, and we have been using these for 2 years. Do be sure it is double sided Masonite, the single smooth sided Masonite will not last.

#15 Idaho Potter

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 05:31 PM

I'm afraid I'm with your Grandpa and Lucille on this. Plaster or hydrastone are still the best bats going. They absorb moisture from the pots and let go just about the correct time for trimming. If you don't like trimming, you can forget it IF you've made the pot bottoms thin enough. I, like Lucille, am curious as to why you dislike plaster so much.

Shirley

#16 Pres

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:00 AM

I'm afraid I'm with your Grandpa and Lucille on this. Plaster or hydrastone are still the best bats going. They absorb moisture from the pots and let go just about the correct time for trimming. If you don't like trimming, you can forget it IF you've made the pot bottoms thin enough. I, like Lucille, am curious as to why you dislike plaster so much.

Shirley


Used plaster bats for years, in college, and really liked the drying ability of the bat especially as the bottom would dry evenly to the top if the pot was covered lightly. I made some of my own for plates years ago, with a double groove for the foot ring. allowed me to not trim. I found that hard to release at times, so discarded them. Now I use plywood bats from Bailey, as I do not have a lot of wood working equipment. I have made some 3/8 inch plywood bats using a zip tool with a circle attachment. Not perfect, but pretty good.

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#17 Chantay

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:56 PM

Pres,

I was just planning to make some plaster bats. Why did you make a double groove for the foot ring? In my mind I'm thinking a single groove. Could you please elaborate? Also, did you cut the rings with a loop tool? Thanks,

-chantay
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#18 Pres

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 04:03 PM

Pres,

I was just planning to make some plaster bats. Why did you make a double groove for the foot ring? In my mind I'm thinking a single groove. Could you please elaborate? Also, did you cut the rings with a loop tool? Thanks,

-chantay


On larger plates I would use a small ring about 2" diameter, and then a regular ring at outer edge for support across surface. I cut my rings with a Loop tool. Make certain to have rounded corners.

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#19 Karen B

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 08:24 AM

This links to an easy system for bats:http://ceramicartsdaily.org/ceramic-studio-equipment/pottery-wheels/tip-of-the-week-quick-change-artist/

#20 Idaho Potter

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 05:28 PM

Wahine,
When you cut the grooves for the foot with a loop tool, make sure the edges are not only rounded, but wider at the top of the groove. It will make it easier to remove the plate from the plaster. Also, what are you using for plaster molds? If you buy a set of spring-form cake pans you have three different sizes to cast. Plaster expands as it cures so the latch on the ring makes it easy to release the mold before the plaster bat developes cracks.

Shirley




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