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What Is Going On With My Slab Roller?

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I purchased my first slab roller about a year ago.  It's worked like a champ -- until now.  All of a sudden, the canvas is getting sucked down into the table after it passes over the roller. I'm doing absolutely nothing different to make it misbehave!  I've tried using a thin carboard under the canvas, which worked but made it hard to keep a uniform clay thickness since cardboard compresses and gets weaker with each use.  I tried placing a large piece of tarpaper on top of the canvas, with the clay on top of that, hoping to get a nice texture on the clay while firming up the canvas as it goes through the roller.  Worked once, created a disaster the second time.  I've just spent an hour with a screwdriver taking apart the table in an attempt to free up the canvas that is currently wrapped and twisted around the roller.  What's happening here????? (and how much damage will I do if I forcibly yank the canvas out, putting reverse pressure on the rollers?) 

 

I really am waaaay beyond frustrated and I'm desperate for a diagnosis and solution.  Jayne

 

 

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does your slab roller not allow you to crank in reverse?  has your canvas softened up considerably?  perhaps the roller shifts when using due to excessive use causing wear on the pin/race?  (i've seen this happen a few times on north star slab roller where excessive use basically "ovaled" all the holes the gears were bolted through)

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No, the Bailey doesn't allow reverse rolling.  This  slabroller has been used fewer than 40 times, and I don't force it to do major reductions in slab thicknesses (I reduce the clay slab by no more than 1/2 -3/4" with each roll-out) so I wouldn't expect any of my problems to be due to wear-and-tear.  But I'll look into the possibility of wear-and-tear on the screw holes anchoring the roller to the table.  Is this problem -- the canvas getting sucked down into the table opening instead of sliding smoothly away from the roller --  common?

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Thank you both.  As I said, I'm fairly desperate to understand and alleviate this problem.  At the moment, I'm trying to learn a new smartphone, a windows 8 computer, and I'm ordering a kiln with my first electronic controls.  I NEED something that works right and easily in my life right about now!!!

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I was going to say the same as Chris, too much of a gap between roller and table on the output side. I also always have the bottom canvas sticking out a little farther than the top so I can see that it made it through.


 


There's supposed to be an anti-reverse catch on a Baily, that you can hold up with a rubber band to back up, but I don't know were it's located.


 


If all else fails cut the canvas off with scissors, or call Baily.


Good luck


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I can't really help because I have an older 30" Bailey "drive base" slab roller in my studio, but it allows you to roll in both directions - but i'll help with what i can.

 

First thing, which model slab roller do you have?  You may want to just call up Bailey and ask them, the techs always seem nice and might have an answer for you regarding your problem. 

 

What I'd do is slowly make a slab and watch what happens on the exit of your canvas/slab, you may be able to simply observe the issue and correct it with technique.  I doubt metal parts have worn already with only 40 uses, it would take several hundred to get the wear I was referencing unless something wasn't set up correctly in the first place.  I would guess that the issue is either with your canvas - like the end getting frayed and allowing the end to catch between the roller and table, sucking it downward.  canvas could have softened up and is really floppy, allowing it to get sucked down - perhaps get yourself some new canvas, like some #4 duck canvas (which is thick and stiff).  

 

Only other thing I can think of being a problem with such a new roller is perhaps the exit table top is loose and either raised up slightly, or has slid away from the roller, allowing canvas to catch?  I think last time I looked under a few different slab rollers, the metal table frame had slots for the screws that anchor the top down, instead of round holes - this right here may allow the top to migrate slightly with use (especially if you don't re-tighten everything after you use it a few times since bolts/screws will loosen with factory torque specs on pretty much anything you buy) and just a fraction of an inch might be enough space to cause your issue.

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you might ask jim bailey if you can convert the model you have to a drive board type.  that style allows you to send a board the width of the slab roller through the rollers with a canvas FIRMLY nailed in place and your work safe inside that "envelope".  canvas never touches the bottom roller at all. he is the person who knows the most, ask him.

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I have a older 30 " Bailey and have never had this happen and I'm pretty brutal with mine I'll take a 2" slab down to a half inch in one pass.  Perhaps it's your table did you build your own?  My husband built mine from the plans that came with the unit, mine needs some new formica but everything else is good.   Denice

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We built our own table exactly to Bailey's specifications.  My husband is a former furniture maker -- when something calls for a 1/6" inch clearance, it doesn't get 3/32", it gets one sixteenth!  So that's not the problem. The tables are covered with smooth formica so there is nothing catching the canvas. The tops seemed tight and secure, but tonight we removed and reinstalled the table tops, both feed and output, with no improvement.  I've asked myself what could have changed after an autumn and winter's use to make it go weird this spring/summer.    We studied the progress of the canvas for over an hour tonight, and every time the canvas starts to slide properly across the output table for about an inch before it suddenly buckles and slips down under the receiving table.We finally threw up our hands in defeat and walked out the studio door where we darn near tripped over a BIG (2" diameter) copperhead snake.  We like snakes, but with 3 cats and 3 dogs (and me) blundering about, coexisting with copperheads is not an option.  No sooner had we dealt with that one than another one made its presence known.  All-in-all, not one of my better days.  (Not that it was a particularly good one for the copperheads either!) Tomorrow I'll call Bailey. 

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Let us know what Bailey says please. I have a Bailey and I always lead with about 5 inches of canvas and grab it with one hand as it is coming out and pull until clay is across the small gap from the rollers to avoid canvas getting caught. I have a feeling it has to do with humidity though, because sometimes it just rolls through with no problem.

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Good groef. if it has to do with humidity, I'm well and truly screwed here in South Carolina!  And your technique wouldn't help me, since the canvas takes a nose dive immediately, before I could grab it!  But I'll let you know what I find out....

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Sorry about the spelling above. New tablet, new keyboard. My husband called Bailey for me since he spent an hour or so working to diagnose the slabroller problem last night and I'm notoriously non-mechanical. The only diagnosis offered by a technician was that the output table needs to be no further from the roller than a double thickness of a sheet of paper. Since that pretty well describes how it's been since day 1, that's no help at all I'm pretty disappointed with that level of "help", and sorry I have nothing to pass on to you.

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If I may chime in.  I've been using my Bailey's roller for a few years now and never had any trouble.  I run the clay through from a 3"tapered log to 1/4 inch thick in one feed.  The rollers have a rough gripping surface and the canvas that originally came with it was quite coarse also..

 

My original instructions say to lay the canvas (approx. 7' long) with half in front of the rollers and the other half draped over the roller assembly.  Place the clay on the canvas, fold the rest back over it and feed it through folded side first.  

 

I found that using 2 sheets causes the rollers to feed top and bottom differently.  The bottom wants to go through while the canvas is still held back a bit by the compression of the clay and the coarse roller on the bottom will grab and hold the canvas longer while turning thus buckling it......

 

My .02 cents....

Peter

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Peter, that's how I do it -- using one canvas sheet folded in half, but I leave the top canvas draped over the roller since that's supposed to help avoid wrinkles.  And let me be fair to Bailey's -- the technician, Mike researched further and sent me an alternative solution in a pdf file.  It uses aluminum angle on the output edge rather than the long taper.  I'll try to attach that to the next posting in case anyone else with a handmade table needs a solution to this problem.

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I have 30 inch power bailey and I start with the canvas on the bottom as well as the top (slab Matt) both thru the rollers and add clay so the canvas cannot roll into the rollers-Is this the way you start?? Or is it grabing the canvas during rolling not at 1st? I also have the large bailey outfeed table. I'm sure this is some minor adjustment on the outfeed -has the hieght changed?.

Mark

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For those with handmade slabroller tables who are having issues with the canvas getting yanked down between the output table and the bottom roller, here is the file that Mike at Bailey sent to me.  It shows instructions for finishing the edge of the output table with an angled aluminum strip.  He said that they are using this method more than the old one where you cut the leading edge of the output table on a long slant parallel to the roller.  This will require a bit of time, so I'll post again when I've made the change and given it a test roll.

Jayne

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