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Bats you use on your wheel.


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#1 MichaelP

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 05:50 PM

What bats do you use on your wheels (plastic, plaster, masonite, water protected plywood...)? Which ones you use most often for throwing on? Do you prefer to throw on a bare wheel or on a bat and just leave the work on the same bat to dry?

Do you make your own bats or prefer to buy them (where and what kind)?.

Mike

#2 TJR

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 06:13 PM

Michael;
I use particle board bats that I make myself from the waste from counter tops where they cut the sink out. I sometimes seal them with Varathane, but mostly not. Most have holes for bat pins, but some do not. On these, I throw a pad of soft clay, then centre them on top. I only use bats for flatware like plates and side plates or big bowls. Anything else, I throw on the bare wheelhead and place work on a ware board.
TJR.

#3 gypsy

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 06:54 PM

Michael;
I use particle board bats that I make myself from the waste from counter tops where they cut the sink out. I sometimes seal them with Varathane, but mostly not. Most have holes for bat pins, but some do not. On these, I throw a pad of soft clay, then centre them on top. I only use bats for flatware like plates and side plates or big bowls. Anything else, I throw on the bare wheelhead and place work on a ware board.
TJR.


I have to use bats for throwing bowls but prefer the bare wheel.

#4 Mark C.

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 07:06 PM

I use in this order
Plaster bats I made in two sizes-I throw a pad of clay and stick them on for small pots like mugs and then medium pots to 6 lbs
Second I use the Northstar Blue plastic bats for flat stuff
third I use the same as TJR uses round bats I made from sink cut outs which are formica topped for most other work
4th I have some jumbo assorted bats for super large flat stuff
Mark
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#5 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 09:08 PM

I have some birch plywood bats. some particle board bats sealed with urethane, I ordered 2 dozen 14" and a dozen 16"composite board bats from North Star that they drill for pegs according to your request. When I was teaching we had 2 different size wheel heads and they drilled both dimensions for each bat. I have a foam covered large bat for trimming platters. I have a bat extender that raises the large bats above the wheel rim, I have 4 dozen 4" square inserts with 2 mother bats for saving space and throwing small.
I don't like using the formica covered sink inserts unless the formica is well sanded because it can cut easily.I love formica work tables. I have made many of the bats and bought quite a few from North Star when I was in Montana. Some of these bats I made in Grad school some 45 years ago and they are fine. I like being able to remove a piece, work on something else and come back to the piece when it has set up a bit.

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#6 Biglou13

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 09:25 PM

Where do you get waste Formica tops. How do you cut them round?
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#7 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 09:41 PM

It is easiest to cut them on a band saw if you make a jig. otherwise use a jigsaw.
arcia

#8 Mark C.

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 10:17 PM

Where do you get waste Formica tops. How do you cut them round?


I got them from a custom counter top shop that makes and installs cabnets-as noted make a jig and spin on bandsaw or a bosch jigsaw. If you sand the sharp edge and seal them they will last forever. I set a jig up to drill them as well.
I have them in 12-14-18 inch rounds.
Mark
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#9 Nelly

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 12:26 AM


Where do you get waste Formica tops. How do you cut them round?


I got them from a custom counter top shop that makes and installs cabnets-as noted make a jig and spin on bandsaw or a bosch jigsaw. If you sand the sharp edge and seal them they will last forever. I set a jig up to drill them as well.
I have them in 12-14-18 inch rounds.
Mark


Dear All,

I have a total of 8 wooden and 3 hydro cal bats. This is all I use. I use the wooden bats for things I am pretty sure won't warp. I use the hydro cal bats when I want things to be solid on the bottom and dry perfectly flat as much as possible. Like a few of you, I have a few very large bats for big projects.

Know that I treat my bats with respect.

I wash and dry them as soon as they are finished with the project.

I have had wooden bats warp and some actually start to blacken from mold or is it mould?? One small child returned a bat to me after she left a lump of clay on it in her basement. By then mold had started and warping had begun. Thus, I learned quickly. Take care of your bats and they will last.

I have three sizes of the hydro cal bats. These are, for me, by far the absolute best bats. I totally love um. I covet them and protect them at all costs. They are expensive but well worth the money.

All bats sit on wheel head pins when I am throwing.

Good topic.

Nelly

#10 Pompots

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 12:37 AM

I am with TJR on this, If i can avoid the bat, I do avoid it. but larger items require them, i like plastic bats, the wooden warp on me, so no more wood for me, only plastic.

#11 MichaelP

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 12:46 AM

Thank you for sharing, everyone.

What plaster do you use for DIY plaster bats and plaster panels and tables? Where do you buy it?

#12 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 05:14 AM

For my plaster slabs I cast them with Pottery Plaster from a ceramics supplier.
I haven't used plaster bats in decades.I throw mostly porcelain and its memory is picky. That is why I use bats even for small pieces. I prefer to use wood or masonite with drilled holes. I come from teaching for many years and space was a commodity. I recently taught in a classroom where 25% of the shelf space was dedicated to plaster bat storage. The room was 4000+ sq.ft.

Marcia

#13 TJR

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 08:25 AM

Michael;
I agree with Marcia. We used to use plaster bats when I was at Alfred running the liberal arts pottery classes. All our wheels were Randals and had a metal piece where the bats would sit. We would spend an entire day casting bats. Students would steal them, so I spray painted them all Day Glow orange. The flaw with plaster, is that they chip and get pieces into your work.[sorry,Mark].
I made a bunch of bats when I was teaching at a vocational highschool. The wood shop would make a jig and cut them out perfectly round. I would never use a jig saw. I found all my scrap particle board in back lanes-free!
TJR.

#14 neilestrick

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 10:29 AM

Medex. Durable and absorbent.
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#15 OffCenter

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 11:53 AM


Michael;
I use particle board bats that I make myself from the waste from counter tops where they cut the sink out. I sometimes seal them with Varathane, but mostly not. Most have holes for bat pins, but some do not. On these, I throw a pad of soft clay, then centre them on top. I only use bats for flatware like plates and side plates or big bowls. Anything else, I throw on the bare wheelhead and place work on a ware board.
TJR.


I have to use bats for throwing bowls but prefer the bare wheel.


No bats for me. That's what a good heat gun is for. Granted it does take a while before I can lift a 30 lb bowl off the wheel head but when I do it's ready to flip over onto a bat (the only use I have for them since I need one that is 27 or so inches in diam) and trim if it is one that needs trimming.

Jim
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#16 JLowes

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 12:28 PM

When I got started I used the Art Center's Plastibats, which had both holes worn into ovals. I was taught to stuff the holes woth paper towels to get them tight enough to throw on, which was a major waste of time. So the first bats I bought, and still have several years later, are the Creative Industries 7-1/2" square and 14-inch rounds. I took them with me and brought them home so the wear on them was only from my work. Those have now warped such that it will make the clay wobble while centering and pulling up, and the warping accelerated the pin hole wear, so they don't grip well either, making the walls and rim uneven, so I have quit using them in favor of working direct on the wheelhead.

I still take a class at the Art Center and have learned that putting three or four small pats of clay down and banging the Plastibat onto them will keep the bat in place, sometimes exceptionally well, but no stuffing holes with paper. I use them if I am throwing in sections, or otherwise use the wheelhead direct.

I made some ware boards from Hardi-Backer that was left over from a tiling project at my home. I use them either setting off when throwing on the wheelhead, or on a bat. I tried to see if the Hardi-Backer could be used as a bat, but it has two drawbacks; it is not smooth, and it is very absorbent. I overcame the absorbent issue by soaking it first, then mounting it to the wheelhead via a clay pad. It is okay to use this way, but only for work you plan to trim later (not my usual mode, I like the wiggle wire.) These act similarly to what I have heard plaster will do, which is absorb moisture from the base, so that after a time the clay will pop right off of them.

I have one Medex 20-inch bat that I bought recently solely for the purpose of trimming pieces larger than my 14-inch wheelhead. I am taking good care of it. I also have a 2-inch foam on Masonite bat and another with rubber shelf liner on Masonite (when you want more stability than the thick foam will give) that I made.

For the most part I use the wheelhead directly. It seems to me that bats will eventually cause you some problem, but are handy when you have something you want to maintain on center until you either assemble it, throw some more, or

John

#17 MichaelP

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 12:31 AM

Good info, everyone! Please keep it coming.

#18 oldlady

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 03:27 PM

Masonite corporation used to make a product called Duron. I bought a 4 X 8 sheet of it in 1990 and had a woodworker friend cut me 32 12 inch round bats. he put holes in the proper place and I have used them ever since. Duron was 1/4 inch thick and has a smooth surface on BOTH sides. I have never had any problems with these bats and I have given them hard use. my work involves returning the freshly thrown pot to the wheelhead for a coat of slip then drying that enough to carve it later. some pots might be returned to the wheelhead several times before they pop off on their own, eliminating the need to wire cut the bottoms. (something I have never been able to learn to do.) trimming the pots on a giffin grip is simple even if you think they are too dry. not so. a little sponging with water gives just enough dampness to trim them with a sharp tool.

two years ago I found a carpenter, cabinet maker who has a laser cutter. I asked him to make a square hole in a newly purchesed duron bat so I could use some 5 inch squares I had cut myself back in the 90s. (math experts, how many 5 inch squares from a 4 x 8 sheet??? ) he did so and now I have a 3 foot high stack of 5 inch centers to use inside the single circular bat. saves shelf space since most of my thrown things fit nicely inside the 5 inch space. since I throw thinly and trim down to the bat as the work is being made, very little trimming is needed. these bats have circular indentations from trimming tools but otherwise look new. I have never left them in water and clean up as soon as the piece is thrown. there is a company making the same thing but with some other material. It eventually swells up because it is NOT Duron.


this year I tried to find more Duron. called Masonite headquarters where I was told they now make only hollow core doors and never heard of Duron. I even asked for help from the technical staff and was told the same thing. can't be true.



I know it is available because new bats are on the suppliers shelves.
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#19 Min

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 03:57 PM

I have a collection of wood and plaster bats, the wood ones I got in a trade. The plaster ones I made from No1Pottery Plaster and springform cake pans, (side piece).

Super easy to make plaster ones with springforms, lots of sizes available, most thrift stores seem to have a number of them. Level table top, piece of plexi or non absorbant material on table then seal the springform base to the plexi with scrap clay. I measure the water so all the bats are about the same thickness, sureform the edges. For large bats I used a 16" embroidery hoop, added a wall extension of clay to make it deeper. Mold soap on the wood hoop, nothing on the plexi or springforms.

Min

#20 Rebekah Krieger

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 09:38 AM

I only use a bat for rare large items. I don't use bat pins because my kick wheel does not have it (I have a brent cxc too but I prefer the kick wheel most of the time) The "wonder bat" is perfect (it's like a compression board material) I have some plastic bats that I thought I would like better but they slide off center too easily so I can't use them. I got some pin sot try to use them on the cxc but I have not tried it yet.
Learning On my Kick wheel with my vintage Paragon (from the late 1960's)




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