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Wedging Table Surface Options

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Darcy Kane    28

My husband made me a plaster wedging table.  It has 4x4 legs and framing lumber for sides and deck.  He also reinforced the 5 in plaster slab with rebar and wire.  When I am reclaiming clay I cover the plaster slab with old sheets that are cut to be 6" bigger than the slab all the way around.  It allows the water to be pulled out of the clay but also lets me put another piece of sheet on the top when I want to flip the clay over to dry out the other side.  It works slick!  I can rinse out the sheets in-between reclaims if necessary but usually the clay just peels right off the fabric.  

 

Sometimes I wedge on the plaster wedging table, but usually I use a counter top or wood.  

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Stellaria    35

Our arts center studio has a wedging table like John described - canvas-covered plaster slab poured into a wooden frame on legs. It has a shelf built under the table top to stabilize the legs.

 

What I'd like to know is, when determining what your wedging surface should be made of, what is your prime consideration? Water absorbency? Durability? Clay release? Sturdiness? And if you were to build your ideal, what would you do differently from what you have now?

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Joseph F    867

I have only been doing pottery for a few months, but I use the same method as many people above. I have a 2x2 particle board that I covered in canvas wet and stapled down. I put it on top of a steady workbench or sturdy table and wedge away. I dont have a ton of room, so when I am doing other things I can just move the wedging board off the table and gain back my table space. I am sure it isn't as nice as the plaster wedging tables, but if your on a budget and need room, it does the trick just fine. Eventually I plan to move into the garage and get a nice 2x2 plaster one setup.

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dhPotter    148

Hello Folks.  This forum is great. 

 

Not been doing pottery but a few months.

I use the Hardi-board someone else mentioned.  My wedging table is secured to the wall.  The surface slopes away from me at about 15 degrees.  Makes it easy on the wrists and you can really get your weight behind wedging.

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Mark C.    1,808

I use casting plaster 4 inches thick . I made two in 1971 and they are perfect to this day and get used almost every day.They are on solid thick wood supports. I store 1,000#s of studio use clay under them.

 

Mark

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I know I'm dredging up an old topic here, but please, forgive me.......

 

Since last October, I've been slowly but surely, putting together my wedging table.  [a little too slowly to please me, but hey, that's life]

 

I purchased an old Army/Navy surplus table at auction [i so love auctions!] for a paltry $5. It is all steel with a Formica top. To that, I attached 1" x 3" boards around the rim to create the forms for pouring the plaster in. I also caulked all the way around the inside of this form and up the corners. No leaks! Yay!

 

In light of everything that goes on around here on a daily basis, is it any wonder that I'm still in the pouring stage of construction? Sheesh! And I thought it took forever to build the house!?!?!? Anyhow, so far, I'm up to about 150 pounds of plaster and still not there. I have another 50 pounds standing by, just waiting for me to have the time to mix it up and pour it.

 

Once this phase is done, I have a nice piece of duck canvas ready and waiting to be stretched and secured. Thanks for the pointer of wetting it first. Silly me, I never would have thought of that!

 

The total size of the table is 30" x 48" and will serve both as a wedging table and a work surface for me to dive into hand building as well.

 

I do have a question or two regarding my process thus far. I hope one of you good people can give me a little input on it......

 

I poured another batch of plaster today and sprayed it down with rubbing alcohol to release the surface tension of the plaster, thereby negating the bubbles trapped within. About an hour later, I noticed not only a few popped bubbles, but that they are also connecting to each other with small cracks. Through 150+ pounds, this has never happened. Should I be concerned? As I said, I still have at least another 50 pounds to go, maybe even more. [i suck at estimating quantities for a project like this. :unsure: ]

 

I had spoken to a rep from DAP back in October and he stated that for my purposes, there shouldn't be a need for any form of rebar in the slab, so long as I poured it in stages and let each batch cure thoroughly. Now I'm beginning to wonder.

 

From a weight standpoint, this is one heavy bugger of a wedging table. Even now, I have a hard time getting it to budge so much as a fraction of an inch. I have used it with a small piece of plywood over it just to wedge up some clay for wheel projects and so far, things seem to be just spiffy. I guess what I'm hoping to hear is that it will be just fine, hairline cracks not withstanding.  Your thoughts????

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Benzine    611

In terms of reinforcement, even small wedging boards, I've encountered, had a wire mesh inside for added strength. Much of it, looks to be "hardware cloth".

 

I would think adding some of that, if still possible at this point, wouldn't hurt.

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I use a large piece of sand stone. It sits on a  sturdy table of 4 x 6 lumber on two saw horses also made with 4x6 lumber.  Our builder had made this from lumber scrap for a work table when we were building our house.  He was going to burn it until I asked to keep it. The type of sandstone I have is generally used for fireplace hearths. In college we had marble wedging tables. Since I was not in the marble price range I just went to a stone cutting company, told them how I was going to use the stone, asked for a scrap piece of unpolished stone.  I think I paid $5.00. It works great, cleans easily, after 20 years not a single mark on the surface.

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Judy_in_GA    34

I use #10 cotton untreated canvas duck. It shrinks nicely. Yes, nicely. 

 

Staple it under the table top edge/board. Don't worry about "how tight." 

 

Then, just get some hot water and sponge it to soak the canvas.

 

It shrinks up like blue jeans... and does not loosen with use.

 

Here' a photo of my wedging table. I also have two large work tables also covered with cotton duck.

 

It lasts for years, and mine seem to stay tight forever...

 

Luck!

Lena

 

Lena,

Is that a phone book on the wall behind your wedging table? If so, how do you use it? Instead of newspaper?

Thx!

Judy

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I like plaster. My table is next to my wheel and I use it to recycle wet clay as I throw. I can wedge up the wet scraps and throw it during my throwing day.

I am careful not to chip it. I clean it with a scraper and then wash with a sponge. My current plaster wedging table is about 15 years old.

 

Marcia

I agree. Plaster works well and fits my needs,  Mine is 35 years old and has successfully made it through 6 moves. I throw with a dark clay and a white clay and it cleans up beautifully in between  with a sponge.  I also have it by my wheel and I can wedge up my wet scraps in an hour or so so I can throw something with it. It feel like I'm getting free clay.

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cmdutcher    2

I like to use wood (unfinished) most often.  Also good for ware boards if you want the bottom of a pot to dry faster. Plaster works pretty well, although I have heard that it removes some of the plasticity of the clay although I'm not sure how true that is.

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I have been using a hardwood board with a stretched canvas, but it gets wet fast and I have to wedge in one spot then another.

 

Well, the other day when I was finally finished reorganizing my studio, I cut some clay up for wedging. This time I had some leftover wallpaper a client gave me, not the cheap stuff, this stuff is really good. So I wedged 8-1.5# ballson it, and nothing stuck to it, even though it was wet. So far so good. I'm going to try gluing a piece on a board and see how that works out.

Oh, my client and friend is a home designer. They use to call them interior designers.

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Joseph F    867

Fun this topic just popped back up. My dad, brother and I just finished building this:

 

 

It is basically a work table, with 2 wedging tables on one end. Each at different heights for different jobs. When I am wedging up a big bowl or something I want to throw off hump. I wedge a ton of clay, so I need a lower surface, but when I am just measuring out mugs or pieces that are less than a # or 2 I like to have a higher surface. So I came up with this design and we built it today. 65 dollars for the lumber and screws from homedepot. Also has a place for clay storage below.

 

I haven't finished yet it. I need to install a wire to cut clay from the top table to the bottom, and I also need to get hardibacker boards cut and screwed on.

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TJR    359

 

I use canvas stapled onto plywood. Unfortunately, after 35 years, I have developed a one inch square hole right where I want to wedge. Not gonna change it though.Too lazy.

TJR.

Hey, what are you doing up there in the Great Frozen Tundra? The canvas is not repaired, the photo gallery is still not updated...

 

Diane;

I am enjoying the well deserved warm weather. If truth be told, I am gardening. Putting in pole beans today. Already have blossoms on my pumpkins.

T.

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Benzine    611

You got me beat TJR.  My pumpkins are just starting to send out their main vines.   Not even close to flowers yet.  Here in a couple weeks, I'll be guarding the plants against the vine borers, that basically wiped out my pumpkins a couple summers ago.

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Judy_in_GA    34

All the suggestions I have seen on canvas recommend stapling the dry canvas onto your substrate then wetting with hot water to shrink.

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TJR    359

You got me beat TJR.  My pumpkins are just starting to send out their main vines.   Not even close to flowers yet.  Here in a couple weeks, I'll be guarding the plants against the vine borers, that basically wiped out my pumpkins a couple summers ago.

O.k. I know this is off topic, but Benzine, you could appreciate this.

I started my plants in my classroom as I have a big south facing window. I started them after spring break as I knew they would dry out over the one week holiday. I also planted squash, beets and cukes. Cukes nor beets didn't come up. Had to plant directly into the garden.

I was worried that the students would get acrylic paint on the plants. They really liked seeing them grow in the classroom. They also learned another aspect about their wacky art teacher.

TJR.

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Joseph F    867

I wet my canvas, stretched it over a piece of plywood, and stapled.  It's nice and tight when dry, but when I wedge clay, it absorbs some moisture and stretches and buckles.

 

Any suggestions?

 

Cynthia

 

I would staple it dry. Then as it stretches from working with it, restaple and remove the old staples if it bothers you having them there. I did this one time and my canvas board is tight as can be.

 

I just canvased my new wedging tables until I have time to go get hardibacker board and put over them. 

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Rae Reich    67

I know I'm dredging up an old topic here, but please, forgive me.......

 

Since last October, I've been slowly but surely, putting together my wedging table.  [a little too slowly to please me, but hey, that's life]

 

I purchased an old Army/Navy surplus table at auction [i so love auctions!] for a paltry $5. It is all steel with a Formica top. To that, I attached 1" x 3" boards around the rim to create the forms for pouring the plaster in. I also caulked all the way around the inside of this form and up the corners. No leaks! Yay!

 

In light of everything that goes on around here on a daily basis, is it any wonder that I'm still in the pouring stage of construction? Sheesh! And I thought it took forever to build the house!?!?!? Anyhow, so far, I'm up to about 150 pounds of plaster and still not there. I have another 50 pounds standing by, just waiting for me to have the time to mix it up and pour it.

 

Once this phase is done, I have a nice piece of duck canvas ready and waiting to be stretched and secured. Thanks for the pointer of wetting it first. Silly me, I never would have thought of that!

 

The total size of the table is 30" x 48" and will serve both as a wedging table and a work surface for me to dive into hand building as well.

 

I do have a question or two regarding my process thus far. I hope one of you good people can give me a little input on it......

 

I poured another batch of plaster today and sprayed it down with rubbing alcohol to release the surface tension of the plaster, thereby negating the bubbles trapped within. About an hour later, I noticed not only a few popped bubbles, but that they are also connecting to each other with small cracks. Through 150+ pounds, this has never happened. Should I be concerned? As I said, I still have at least another 50 pounds to go, maybe even more. [i suck at estimating quantities for a project like this. :unsure: ]

 

I had spoken to a rep from DAP back in October and he stated that for my purposes, there shouldn't be a need for any form of rebar in the slab, so long as I poured it in stages and let each batch cure thoroughly. Now I'm beginning to wonder.

 

From a weight standpoint, this is one heavy bugger of a wedging table. Even now, I have a hard time getting it to budge so much as a fraction of an inch. I have used it with a small piece of plywood over it just to wedge up some clay for wheel projects and so far, things seem to be just spiffy. I guess what I'm hoping to hear is that it will be just fine, hairline cracks not withstanding.  Your thoughts????

That is going to be a Deluxe work table! Sounds like the alcohol spray wasn't enough to dislodge air bubbles. It might be interesting to carve down into one to investigate, but it probably isn't going to be structural unless the slab supports are letting it sag. If you're confident of the support, when you pour the next layer you might tap, hammer, smack or pound the sides of the form, set up some form of vibration before it sets, as well as using the spray. Did you tell or show the DAP rep how big the slab is and how it's supported?

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curt    117

Hardipanel (or similar) compressed concrete sheeting.  Bought from hardware supply stores.  Often used as under-flooring in wet areas in new buildings.  Sold in big sheets like plywood.

 

Very smooth surface, but slightly absorbent so it will remove moisture from clay little by little and clay does not stick (unless it is very wet of course).  No need for canvas.  

 

Very easy to clean, just sponge off.  And even when dry clay has baked on, it can be scraped quickly and easily with a plastic puddy knife, or even a metal paint scraper with no problem, so cleaning is a breeze.

 

Very heavy which means it does not move around once it is in situ, even when wedging up a bag or three of clay.  The challenge of course is getting a suitable frame to put under it, and then getting it in situ, which will require some strong backs.

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