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Ware Boards?


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#1 Pugaboo

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 11:06 PM

New to ceramics and am trying to set up my own ceramics work area in my studio. I'm taking my first pottery class and I noticed that there seems to be several different types of ware boards and working surfaces. Provided of course I have that term correct; I am talking about the boards and surfaces you use to hand build pieces, wedge, knead, and even dry pieces on. I have noticed duct tape edged drywall boards, canvas covered boards of some kind, plywood, formica topped, and what almost looks like dry clay... Maybe it's plaster? I know this is a total newbie question but do the different boards have different uses or are they interchangeable?
The world is but a canvas to the imagination - Henry David Thoreau

#2 bciskepottery

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:45 AM

For the most part, the ware boards are interchangeable . . . although potters often have strong preferences for certain surfaces and composition for their work. The variety you see is likely the result of a typcial potter characteristic: dumpster diving and salvaging: If it's available and free, there is a use for it so put it on the shelves. I do a fair amount of handbuilding; I prefer wallboard with edges taped -- big sizes (24"x24") as a work surface, to small sizes (6"x6") for drying individual pieces. Wallboard absorbs some moisture. I also use similar sizes of styrene insulation panels; however, the styrene does not absorb moisture. For wedging, I use a plywood surface wedging table. I use no canvass covered surfaces as they tend to trap dust; wood, wallboard, and styrene can all be easily washed off. I do use plaster slabs for drying wet clay from throwing. I tend to prefer smoother surfaces as they are less likely to warp or catch and item while it is drying. (I routinely dry on newsprint or plastic on top of the ware board.) Like I said, different uses for different types of ware boards.

#3 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 08:55 AM

ware boards by my definition would be those that are filled with pots by the wheel and carried to a storage shelf.
I have a plaster wedging table built on 4 x 4 with a plaster slab 3.5" x 2' x 3' with a guitar string cutting wire.
There are several different storage/drying methods in my studio. For large slabs I use sheet rock edged with tape 2' x 26"
and they fit onto plywood shelves in a bakery rack. I can make these shelves for taller storage by removing the plywood. Sheetrock will warp if not supported. I have several shelving systems with movable wareboards. I like clean smooth plywood.

Work tables are formica tops. ANother storage bench has plaster slabs for drying clay.

We all work differently. If you look through previous posts you'll see a lot of discussion on the best working surface. And the "best" is defined by what individuals need to work as they see fit.

It is all relative.

Marcia

#4 TJR

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 08:59 AM

Pugaboo;
Like bisck said, most potters are scroungers. I am a "production thrower".[on the potters wheel], so I use a lot of ware boards.The idea of the ware board is to eliminate steps. You throw a run of bowls, put them all on the ware board and then on a table or a shelf.
The best ware boards are 3/4 inch plywood, 4 ft. long by about10-12 inches wide.
Particle board is not so good, as they are heavy, warp and bits of "particles ", come off into your clay.
Unlike bisck, I have a canvas covered table where I roll out clay for hand built slab trays, and my wedging board is plywood covered by canvas. When I dry clay from my slop bucket, I use a plaster batt, but I cover it with a piece of canvas first.
I do not use any drywall or wallboard because I do not like plaster getting into my clay. All canvas surfaces can be sponged down after use.
So, you can see that you have two varying opinions. There is no right or wrong way.
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#5 Pugaboo

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 09:37 AM

Thank you the varying opinions actually helped me see what the different uses could be and why. To start I'll have taped drywall and plywood since I have both left over from the contractor that finished my studio. The plaster wedging or drying surface is going to have to wait until I either have more money to buy one or know more about the type of plaster and method to make one. I haven't decided as to whether or not I will use canvas. In class we use it to sandwich clay as we roll it out. I can also see how using the canvas to roll out clay and then keeping the texture it creates in your piece could be attractive. Maybe I'll get a small amount cover 1 board and keep some for rolling and see how I like it compared to the other boards. Thanks again for answering my newbie question!
The world is but a canvas to the imagination - Henry David Thoreau

#6 OffCenter

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 10:01 AM

Don't over-think it. If you're just starting out you should experiment to find out what works best for you. For example, everything TJR suggest above is wrong FOR ME. Nice smooth, cheap particle board is great for ware boards. I have some ware boards 4 feet long, some 3 and some 2. The important thing is that they be smooth so you don't get unwanted texture on the bottom of a wet pot. For wedging, a thick slab of plaster with a cut off wire running at a diagonal by the side of the table is much better than a dusty, unabsorbent canvas. Maybe make the first one small to see if you like it but a good wedging table should be huge so one side can be white clay and one dark and leave room to dry wet clay. It's great when your 20 lb bowl collapses on the wheel in a soggy mess to toss it on your wedging board and let the plaster suck the water out so you can do better next time. I don't know why anyone, unless they have students using it, would worry about getting plaster in their clay from a well-made and properly cured thick slab of smooth plaster.

Jim
E pur si muove.

"But it does move," said Galileo under his breath.

#7 OffCenter

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 11:45 AM

...with a guitar string cutting wire."


I use piano wire. It's very strong and super thin. I bought a couple of coils of several thicknesses from a piano supply place several years ago.

Jim
E pur si muove.

"But it does move," said Galileo under his breath.

#8 Bette

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 04:13 PM

I use hardie back board (sp?) - you get a large board from Home Depot, it's just 1/4" thick and cuts easily by scoring with a razor tool and snapping off pieces. I use this for ware boards (with no tape, and I have never had plaster bits); also I have attached this board to my work table and desktop using c-clamps and for me it's a wonderful, absorbant surface for wedging and other work. Very lightweight and cleans easily. End of sales pitch!




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