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North Star Portable 18 inch Portaroller Slabroller


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#1 Pugaboo

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 08:32 AM

I didn't think I had the space or funds for a Slabroller but then I saw the North Star 18" Portaroller Slabroller. Has anyone any experience with this Slabroller? Northstar seems to be a good reliable brand and it has a 5 year warranty. If I get it I would store it on a shelf under a work table and place it on top of the table only when I need to use it thereby giving my small studio space a double duty work table. It's also 200 cheaper than the nearest priced full size Slabroller that comes with a dedicated table.

So is this a good slab roller for a non production potter that does smaller items like ornaments, chimes, etc?

Was kind of scared to ask this question as I am sure the pros say buy only the biggest and the best but no space and no money for the full size dedicated table models so be gentle okay?

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

#2 justanassembler

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 08:37 AM

I didn't think I had the space or funds for a Slabroller but then I saw the North Star 18" Portaroller Slabroller. Has anyone any experience with this Slabroller? Northstar seems to be a good reliable brand and it has a 5 year warranty. If I get it I would store it on a shelf under a work table and place it on top of the table only when I need to use it thereby giving my small studio space a double duty work table. It's also 200 cheaper than the nearest priced full size Slabroller that comes with a dedicated table.

So is this a good slab roller for a non production potter that does smaller items like ornaments, chimes, etc?

Was kind of scared to ask this question as I am sure the pros say buy only the biggest and the best but no space and no money for the full size dedicated table models so be gentle okay?

Terry


an eighteen inch slab roller is only maybe a little bit better than a good rolling pin, and a lot more expensive

#3 GEP

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 08:40 AM

I have a friend with the portable NorthStar, and she likes it a lot. I've seen it and looks sturdy and well-made.

I have an 18 inch slabroller myself (not a portable one) and it is way more useful than a rolling pin! It cranks out a lot of work for me.

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#4 Pugaboo

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 09:08 AM

Thank you your input is helping me decide which direction to go.

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

#5 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 09:28 AM

Northstars have improved over the past 25 years. I had a free standing Northstar in my class room. At home I had one of the first bailey slab rollers and in 2002 I got a much bigger one. If the table top 18" fits your needs then fine. I have a 20" rolling pin and a 36" slab roller.
If you can use a rolling pin for now, maybe save to get a bigger slab roller later.

Marcia

#6 Denice

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 09:30 AM

I have a large slab roller now but I use to roll clay with a pastry chef rolling pin that you buy at a restaurant supply store. On smaller slabs I use the angled slam method and then give it a quick roll. Denice

#7 TJR

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 10:09 AM

Terry;
We had this post a while back. To buy a slab roller or not. That is the question. Someone put out a generic Bailey clone and my pottery buddy bought it. Looks the same as a Bailey, only a different colour. I made slab trays and tiles all this last winter using a bakery rolling pin and two pieces of lath [thin wood strips].
Worked great I rolled on a canvas covered table top. Make sure you flip your slabs if using a rolling pin.Some people like the ease of the slab roller, but I would rather have the space to walk around.
TJR.
Please do not worry about asking questions. I have asked some doozers. I make the mistake of asking about Lizella clay TWICE ! I am still here to talk about it.
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#8 Mark C.

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 10:14 AM

(I make the mistake of asking about Lizella clay TWICE)Hey dude put a splash pan on that one.
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#9 smokin pots

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 10:22 AM

I have one and it works great for me. Sometimes i'm in the mood to do hand building I will set it up on my work bench that I usually use for holding thrown pots on the wheel. After a few weeks, and a couple of boxes
of clay I am ready to get back on the wheel so I just take it off the work bench and now the bench is ready for throwing. easy peezy when space is not a premium. Easy setup, easy take down and store.
Hope this helps,
juli
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#10 Pres

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 10:51 AM

I have one and it works great for me. Sometimes i'm in the mood to do hand building I will set it up on my work bench that I usually use for holding thrown pots on the wheel. After a few weeks, and a couple of boxes
of clay I am ready to get back on the wheel so I just take it off the work bench and now the bench is ready for throwing. easy peezy when space is not a premium. Easy setup, easy take down and store.
Hope this helps,
juli


If you do a lot of slab work, a machine makes a lot of sense. I looked at their site, and noticed that for about a $110 more you can get a 24". If you are working small items, go for the 18" If you work larger things, or think you might add the extra 100. The 24" is not portable, but could be mounted on an existing table covered when not in use. I used to use a box over one at school and could still use the rest of the space.

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


#11 annekat

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 12:12 PM

I didn't think I had the space or funds for a Slabroller but then I saw the North Star 18" Portaroller Slabroller. Has anyone any experience with this Slabroller? Northstar seems to be a good reliable brand and it has a 5 year warranty. If I get it I would store it on a shelf under a work table and place it on top of the table only when I need to use it thereby giving my small studio space a double duty work table. It's also 200 cheaper than the nearest priced full size Slabroller that comes with a dedicated table.

So is this a good slab roller for a non production potter that does smaller items like ornaments, chimes, etc?

Was kind of scared to ask this question as I am sure the pros say buy only the biggest and the best but no space and no money for the full size dedicated table models so be gentle okay?

Terry



I agree that it is better to have a slab roller on hand if you are making a lot of stuff.... just more efficient than a rolling pin in many ways, even at 18". Depends on what you are making... for ornaments and chimes, I think you'd be happy with it. There are still some things you might prefer a rolling pin for. It is nice to have options. If you can get a tabletop slabroller in good condition for a reasonable price, I would jump at the chance.



Anne

#12 annekat

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 12:17 PM

A "real" slabroller is nice, but a tabletop version has some advantages.... I'd like the portability aspect for storage when not in use and for being able to take it places for demonstrations, to use at outdoor markets, etc. I sell at a farmers market and it would be a good way to pass time on slow days. Thinking about getting a portable tabletop wheel for that purpose, too.
Anne

#13 OffCenter

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 12:42 PM

I make the mistake of asking about Lizella clay TWICE ! I am still here to talk about it.


Okay okay! I'm sorry. My doctor is out of jail now and I can get back on my meds!

Jim
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#14 Pugaboo

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 04:30 PM

Thank you everyone. I'll take all you have said into consideration as I continue to work at setting up my small studio. I only do hand building, no wheel throwing for me yet. I told myself I would focus on hand building exclusively for a year before trying throwing. Might be a wrong way of thinking but I wanted to really focus on how the clay reacts and works by hand. Right now I have a long 2 inch dowel I am using to roll out the clay but also have a slab roller where I am taking classes and using the slab roller always makes things go quicker and smoother. I thought if I could get a small one for my studio I might spend less time beating the clay into submission and more time making actual items. Lots of stuff to consider, I'm also looking at an extruder and trying to decide if I were to only get one which would be the better buy. The Scott creek 4 inch extruder seems nice but as I said decisions decisions.
Any way thank you all once again for your input keep up the good work.

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

#15 oldlady

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 07:00 PM

you will not regret having a slabroller no matter which one you get. i have the 24 inch with a table and use it all the time. there is one thing i do not like about the northstar. most people i see using it use tiny pieces of canvas one on top and one on the bottom.. if you want to really make big slabs, use heavy duck at least double the length of your table. fold it in the center and feed that center into the rollers first. no trying to fish out the corner that gets stuck under the bottom roller. my other slabroller is an old bailey 24 inch with the board that allows going both ways on an 8 foot table. i dislike the one with the short feeding table on one side and a full size on the other. you can break that kind by accident.

bailey sells the heavy duck in the 24 inch and 30 inch sizes for something$ per linear foot. i don't know if they have 18 inch wide stuff. my first piece lasted from 1992 until last year when i got a new piece. it hasn"t worn out, i had red-brown clay on it and now use white.

if you fit a table to your slabroller you can use it for everything you can think of. make it to fit your height. i keep saying look at craigslist so i won't say it again but i will tell you that i got the northstar for $350 in annapolis. the owner wanted to make handmade tiles for her kitchen. so she bought a new northstar and a new huge L&L kiln.

she made her tiles. i saw them in place. all 14 of them. so was my slabroller new or broken in?

by the way, the scott creek extruder is better in all respects than a square one (in my opinion, of course) because it is round. that makes it clean better, makes it easier to pull the handle down and it holds a decent amount of clay. someone will have to prove to me that a square one takes less effort. think about sliding clay along 2 vertical sides of four sharp corners. then think about the round one.
"putting you down does not raise me up."

#16 Conniefi

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 02:59 PM

"by the way, the scott creek extruder is better in all respects than a square one (in my opinion, of course) because it is round. that makes it clean better, makes it easier to pull the handle down and it holds a decent amount of clay. someone will have to prove to me that a square one takes less effort. think about sliding clay along 2 vertical sides of four sharp corners. then think about the round one".

I have been experimenting with making an extruded from clay. I have done two and they both work. I made the plunger out of quick setting cement. You can use wood too... The other one is round and in the kiln. This one is hand built quickly nothing fancy for my handles. I think I will make two more.
I made a die that inserts. It will be for coils or handles. I just put a little piece of wood to get the shape I want.

See the bottom of the image. I will make one more die that will allow me to make a tube. Inside the extruded I have two little indents where a solid die goes. Then I will make a another die to fit in the extruded slot for the rest of the hollow extrusion. When it is complete I will post it . I am in the process of installing a new kiln.

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#17 Piedmont Pottery

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 03:47 PM

I didn't think I had the space or funds for a Slabroller but then I saw the North Star 18" Portaroller Slabroller. Has anyone any experience with this Slabroller? Northstar seems to be a good reliable brand and it has a 5 year warranty. If I get it I would store it on a shelf under a work table and place it on top of the table only when I need to use it thereby giving my small studio space a double duty work table. It's also 200 cheaper than the nearest priced full size Slabroller that comes with a dedicated table.

So is this a good slab roller for a non production potter that does smaller items like ornaments, chimes, etc?

Was kind of scared to ask this question as I am sure the pros say buy only the biggest and the best but no space and no money for the full size dedicated table models so be gentle okay?

Terry



Terry,


We've been using one of these for a couple of years. It is fairly rugged, and should be fine for the uses you describe.


Jeff Ross

#18 Pugaboo

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 05:46 PM

Well when I mentioned to my husband I was looking into get a slab roller and why he was very interested and looked at the images I showed him. He said like someone else here I think did that I could easily build a plywood box to slide over the roller section and be able to use the table on either side as a workable and not have to move a piece of decent sized equipment around. A plus he said I could still build shelves underneath the table and have more room to set finished items or forms. I played the girl card and got him to agree to let me have a tad more money, sorry ladies I know how unfeminist of me but after 30+ years of marriage you work with what you have. Lol Soooo anyhow it looks like I can afford the full size 30 inch Slabmaster slab roller from Clay King. So hopefully slab roller problem solved!

Still debating the extruder issue but that will come as it can. Thought about building one and have watched the CAD video here where someone built one but I really like the idea of something I don't have to continually mess with to get to work ( my machine building experience is pretty much ZERO) So will simply have to decide and debate and see if its something that can be done or something I should go ahead and just fork over the money and buy keeping it simple.

On a different note I updated items in my gallery. I finally finished the bird utensil holder! My teacher was so proud of me for making a choice at last. I also put up a bunch of other stuff for you all to look over and groan about my crooked, thick, and ridiculously simple forms. That all of course took me forever and a day to make but I know I will get better, straighter, thinner and more complex as I learn. My husband said if he was a potter he would purposely make all of his stuff crooked or leaning to the side just to mess with people. Lol he keeps telling me to try and not be too perfect. You'd think the man would learn after all my closet is organized by the color wheel and I have everything in the studio sorted in little covered bins with labels on the end, stamps are not allowed to play with paint brushes. At least I have not given in to the urge to torture all my friends and family with my beginning attempts, probably because I started AFTER Christmas so they have gotten a reprieve until December and then I make no promises!

It's all in fun and I am having so much fun learning and figuring stuff out and this forum is a fabulous tool, anytime I want to try something I search the forum and somebody at some point is pretty much guaranteed to have tried it before and can give pointers on it.

Thanks again everyone

Terry
PS. The little Pug I use as my avatar is finally in the kiln this weekend I should know something by class next week!
The world is but a canvas to the imagination - Henry David Thoreau

#19 Mark C.

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 01:58 AM

Northstars used to be poorly made but the last one I inspected was way better built than say 15 years ago.
I still feel the best ones are Baileys but thats after using one in production for many years as well as seeing them hold up in school situations for many many years and still keep on going strong.
Like a timex it keeps on ticking.
I know know nothing about slab masters.
Sounds like a late night TV cutting board ad-you get not one but two slab masters and wait there more a bamboo steamer tossed in for free for 3 easy payments of 39.95 plus shipping and handling charge of 29.95
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#20 oldlady

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 10:39 AM

come a long way from your original question haven't you? that i why the forums are so good. other people have ideas you can consider before making a decision. but 30 inch??? overkill, maybe.


if this is what you really, really want, please ask your handy husband to make the table bigger than what is shown on the clay king website. at least at one end so you will have working room after the slab is produced. find out how to remove the huge wheel handle so you can get at the slab to work without hitting your elbows. it is very handy to have flat work space right there so you don't have to lift the slab to another working surface. my northstar is fitted with a set screw and i just slide the wheel onto the shaft without tightening the screw when i want to roll a slab. (my Bailey is the same.) otherwise the wheel is stored standing on the floor at the end of the table since the tabletop is in almost constant use.

don't bother with a box to cover the working part, a clean heavy cloth will save your lifting muscles and the working parts.

the picture shows the smallest table i have ever seen and the most industrial looking heavy duty rolling gizmo. who makes it? why haven't i heard of it????

it is easy to drill the metal legs to support shelves. i put one about 15 inches from the floor. to hold plaster forms. then i put a smaller piece of plywood with wheels and a rope handle on the floor to hold boxes of clay. it rolls out when needed but is out of the way. every inch counts in a small studio.

the manufacturer's name is not shown. who is it?

good luck and make lots of things.
"putting you down does not raise me up."




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