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Is Canvas well just CANVAS?


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#1 Pugaboo

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 06:50 PM

Okay I KNOW this is a total newbie question but.... is canvas just canvas or is there a special type for pottery? I ask because I have seen marine canvas, canvas duck and just plain canvas used to describe the canvas used in people's ceramic studios. I have also read that some use old sheets, jeans, etc. I tried an old sheet much too stretchy to hand roll out clay had horrible time with wrinkles no matter how tight I tried to stretch it. The jeans, well I wear cargos not jeans so have none to sacrifice. I bought a 6x9 foot canvas drop cloth from Home Depot; is this the correct type of canvas? It seems fairly tightly woven and heavy. I plan to cut it down into smaller pieces and somehow attach it to some plywood ware boards. I also plan to set aside a bigger piece to clamp to my butcher block work table so I can hand roll out my clay. I haven't tried it out yet though. I priced canvas on some pottery supply websites and they want way too much but maybe I have to buy this special canvas to get good results hand rolling?
The world is but a canvas to the imagination - Henry David Thoreau

#2 Jo-Ann

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 07:46 PM

I have no idea what you are "supposed" to use but I went to an awning and canvas store and got heavy duty canvas. It cost $21 for a 4 foot end cut off. You want something that is strong and durable, especially if it will get a lot of traffic from students.. I made a plaster slab table and covered it with my canvas. it helped to soak the canvas and stretch it while wet. I staple gunned it to the wood frame. . . Maybe someone else will know how well the drop canvas will work.

#3 Benzine

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:06 PM

I just used basic drop cloth painting canvases for my classroom. They resist enough of the wet clay, to make clean up on the tables easier.

The first school I taught at, had a type, that were a bit stiffer, because they had some type of coating on the back, that made them very resistant to the clay soaking through.

I will say, there are some, who suggest not using canvas at all, because it traps the clay dust. It definitely does, but I have my students handle mine carefully, as to not to stir the dust, and I give them a good washing, every year.
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#4 TJR

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:38 AM

You can get canvas at Walmart. Should not be too coarse because when you roll out slabs, you get the texture of the canvas on the surface of your slab. You can stretch it onto plywood using a staple gun, just like stretching a canvas for painting.
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#5 dave the potter

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:22 AM

Heavy weight all cotton canvas seems to work best. If the material has polyester in it, it will tend to strecth out when it gets wet. Unbleached cotton duck is tthe official name for what you want. Unprimed

#6 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 12:16 PM

I use to cover the school work tables with canvas from an awning supply. They made custom awnings but I could buy good tough cotton canvas there.
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#7 neilestrick

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 01:26 PM

Cotton duck from the fabric store.
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#8 Michael Hamlin-Smith

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 05:04 PM

I don't use canvas at all. I use HARDIBOARD from Home Depot/Lowes or other home supply stores. Hardiboard is amazingly strong, doesn't break down like plaster, doesn't collect dust and even if you scratch it from cutting to hard through slabs there really isn't any problem with it getting into the clay like there is from plaster. All my work tables are topped with hardiboard. I've been using it for over 15 years and have yet to encounter a single problem using it with clay.
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#9 Benzine

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:24 PM

That hardiboard sounds interesting, but my tables are multipurpose, so I can't put anything permanent on them, that's just for clay work. Unless that same board would be fine for drawing, painting and photo work.
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#10 Pres

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 02:44 PM

That hardiboard sounds interesting, but my tables are multipurpose, so I can't put anything permanent on them, that's just for clay work. Unless that same board would be fine for drawing, painting and photo work.


My tables had to be multipurpose also, but after a while the fine film of clay would get to the paper for drawing, and painting. I solved this problem by purchasing 30 large drawing boards with clips at the top. I also built a rack for them to hang on in the back of the room away from anything clay. We found that in the end they worked great for portrait and still life drawing while seated in chairs, worked well on the tables to work with pen and ink and painting, and would consistently give us smooth well secured undersurface. I purchased these with funds from my adult ceramics classes as I believed them to be a solution to the multipurpose room problem. My room was well kept, and cleaned, but clay being what it is. . .

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#11 Idaho Potter

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 07:23 PM

I've been using cotton duck from a marine/awning/duffle bag store. They had a variety of thickness, and weave. I use Hardiboard under my canvas on my wedging table and MDF under two layers of canvas on my work table. If there's a lot of activity on the work table, it gets a wash down with buckets & scrub brushes--finished off with sponges and scrapers to remove all excess moisture--once a week. This actually helps keep the canvas stretched tight and relieves any dust problem. The wet scrub down is done daily on the wedging table at the end of the day. If your canvas cover starts to look loose or gets wrinkled, scrub it down and let it dry--it'll be like new.

What ever you have will probably work. Don't buy canvas at the art store unless you are looking for an extra fine weave. Way too expensive. At businesses that use canvas for custom boat covers and other coverings, you can sometimes get a real bargain on roll ends--my usual cost has been in the $7 - $12 per yard range. Most canvas comes in 48" to 72" widths at this type of store.

I have separate wedging "covers", to use with porcelain, made from 1/4" Masonite. Using Ailene's waterproof glue (found at craft stores like Michael's) to attach the canvas I've been using this setup for over 30 years.

For six years--while being an "artist in the schools"--I introduced & taught 5th graders to appreciate and work with clay. The only tables we could use were cafeteria tables (you know the kind--eight feet long with fold up legs and Masonite tops) so I came up with canvas covers that could be easily put on and removed. Back to my marine/awning shop and they made them with hems on the long sides with grommets every 12 inches. Bungie cords hooked through the grommets kept the canvas tight and made a great working surface.

Shirley

#12 perkolator

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:58 PM

canvas i buy for our studio is #4 duck canvas. VERY heavy duty stuff - like more than my double-front Carhartts and a piece can almost literally stand up in the corner of the room! looked around at multiple fabric stores, art suppliers, and even a place that makes outdoor awnings - but the best price I found was from onlinefabricstore.com, believe it or not!

#13 Pugaboo

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 06:20 PM

Thank you everyone. I used the canvas paint cloth for the first time the other day and it worked really well. If I find it starts to stretch too much I'll go online at onlinefanricstore and order a couple yards. I am just starting out and I mean REALLY just beginning this journey. I rolled out all by myself 4 round tile shapes that I'll be using as test tiles for a technique I am using on a platter I made in class. I also managed to roll out a piece big enough to start a utensil holder that I am making on my own. I do have to say that a slab roller like I used in class sure makes doing slabs super easy. It took a bit of practice to get the clay rolled properly here at home. I'm using the canvas painters cloth, a 2" solid wooden dowel, a 6" plaster taping knife and 3/4, 5/8, 1/2, 3/8 and 1/4 inch trim strips from Home Depot to do my rolling.

Again thank you everyone I am so new at all this I don't even know what I don't know yet and this forum is a fabulous source of information.

Terry
The world is but a canvas to the imagination - Henry David Thoreau

#14 Benzine

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 08:35 PM

"Back to my marine/awning shop and they made them with hems on the long sides with grommets every 12 inches. Bungie cords hooked through the grommets kept the canvas tight and made a great working surface."

Now that's a great idea. I've constantly been trying to find a way to secure my canvases to the tables. I thought about using C-clamps, but those would be in the way. The bungie idea is great, though the canvases I have, don't have grommets. I supposed I could add some???
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#15 Pres

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 09:17 AM

"Back to my marine/awning shop and they made them with hems on the long sides with grommets every 12 inches. Bungie cords hooked through the grommets kept the canvas tight and made a great working surface."

Now that's a great idea. I've constantly been trying to find a way to secure my canvases to the tables. I thought about using C-clamps, but those would be in the way. The bungie idea is great, though the canvases I have, don't have grommets. I supposed I could add some???


A simple method is to use picnic table clamps.

Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#16 Benzine

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 03:16 PM


"Back to my marine/awning shop and they made them with hems on the long sides with grommets every 12 inches. Bungie cords hooked through the grommets kept the canvas tight and made a great working surface."

Now that's a great idea. I've constantly been trying to find a way to secure my canvases to the tables. I thought about using C-clamps, but those would be in the way. The bungie idea is great, though the canvases I have, don't have grommets. I supposed I could add some???


A simple method is to use picnic table clamps.


Even better. Thank you Sir!
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#17 perkolator

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 04:20 PM

grommets aren't that hard to add to fabric. you can buy them at a place that carries a decent hardware selection (like Ace Hardware) or order them from someone like Fastenal/Grainger/McMaster, etc. grommets get installed with a crimping tool. - if you put grommets on your canvas, then you can stretch it over your table surface from underneath with a rope and it will be much tighter than pretty much all the other methods.

#18 OffCenter

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 07:16 PM

Harbor Freight has grommets kits with tons of grommets for about $5.

Jim
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#19 dawn523

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 10:42 AM

I use outdoor fabric from Joann's. I think the brand name is Sunbrella. I use it for slab mats and covering wedging tables and boards. It come clean easily.

#20 Nicki

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 01:52 PM

I saw on a ceramic shop web site that they were selling cotton duck #10--the price was way too high for a yard so I didn't buy it there but figured it's a good guess that if they're selling #10 duck, it's a good weight.




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