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Hydro-Bat, Wonder At, Speedball Bat, Or Birch Wood Bats?

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Which of these bats are the most popular? Which do you use and like which have you used and hate? I'm not ready to make my own plaster bats which I understand is the best type bat to use so am trying to figure out which of these other types are worth trying. My wheel came with Baltic birch wooden bats. The center is took my wheel class at uses the speedball plastic bats. The wonder bats and hydro bats both sound interesting on the website but have no idea if they are worth the extra money or not.

 

I await everyone's input!

 

Terry

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HydroBats are wonderful. They are definitely pricey, and heavy so the shipping costs are high. I have two that I bought, and four more that a friend gave me "temporary custody" of while she takes a break from pottery to raise small children. I love them and use them often. For wide flat pots, I refuse to use anything else, because the pots lift off when leather hard, without wiring under.

 

I own two Wonder Bats. They are nice bats but they do NOT release pots when leather hard like a HydroBat. Pots still need to be wired under. But aside from that false claim, they are very nice bats ... sturdy, stiff, lightweight. I use them for large pots that don't necessarily have wide flat bottoms. I like that the bat doesn't flex at all, which is important for large pots.

 

Plastic bats are best suited for the heavy use of a classroom. They hold up well to abuse. They are a good choice if your work schedule involves keeping wet pots on a bat for a week or so, because they don't mind being wet for that length of time.

 

My favorite, most often used bats are masonite bats. Inexpensive, durable, very thin so they don't take up much space to store them. Not suitable for storing wet pots for a week or so, they will break down in that situation.

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My preference is Medex bats. I torch work from time to time and the Medex can handle the heat without being damaged. I find the Masonite bats break down over time and don't stand up as well as the Medex (especially when wet). They're relatively cheap and worth a shot before looking towards more expensive options.

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I forgot to mention I also have a Northstar Universal Bat system, which holds 6x6 inch masonite inserts. I love these and use them constantly. Great for small throwing ... mugs and small bowls and such.

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Medex is awsome! I have 3 dozen that I've used for more than 10 years and the holes are still tight. They will hump slightly in the center, but will always sit flat at the edges, never taco up. Just flip them each time you use them. They are pretty absorbent so pots dry more evenly (not the the extent of plaster, of course), lightweight, and you don't have to worry about chipping them like plaster.

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I use the Euclid's Choice TileBatt system (http://www.euclids.com/index.php?item_id=TBTTE), which is essentially MDF board with a space routed down 1/8 or 1/4 inch for a 6x6 tile. I really like this product, but like all of the choices out there, it has its pros and cons.

 

PROS:

-Price. Less than $15 for the master bat and one tile. Additional tiles are $2.32 apiece.

-Self-releasing. The tiles are bisque, so they absorb water and release pots when they're ready.

CONS:

-Proprietary tile size. The Euclid's site says it's a 6x6 tile, but the tiles are a hair under. Hence, rather than being able to buy any 6x6 bisque tile, you need to order theirs. Or sand down commercial 6x6 tiles. Or, like I've done, cut your own tiles from Masonite using a band saw.

-Tiles are brittle. I broke a few while I was getting used to the system.

 

I've put about 3 years of heavy use on my TileBatt and it's beginning to warp. The tiles are getting harder to get into the master due to the bat drying to a slightly convex shape. But for $15, well-worth just buying another.

 

Another one to check out is the Versa-Bat System made by Great Lakes Ceramics Supply (http://www.greatclay.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=VRBTSYS&Category_Code=WA) which takes both 6x6 and 8x8 tiles. Pricey but versatile.

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I use birch bats from baileys for throwing my patens, and have had not problems with them. Holes have held up well, but then I either use a sponge pad underneath or use plastic bag piece over pins. I have used plaster bats-cast my own with a bat holder system. Most of my work is off of the hump, cut with butter knife onto a board-quick and easy. I throw chalices, teapots, teabowls, mugs and small bowls in this manner so bats are not needed.

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I just started using these masonite bats which I inherited from another potter. They are light, thin and don't take up as much space as my particle board bats. I made a bunch of particle bats with arborite attached to one side. They are left over particle board from when you get your new kitchen sink hole cut out of a counter top. I always find them in the back lanes. I'd like to switch over to masonite, but don't know where he got them. He is in heaven, so I can't ask him.

TJR.

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I just started using these masonite bats which I inherited from another potter. They are light, thin and don't take up as much space as my particle board bats. I made a bunch o fparticle bats with arborite attached to one side. They are left over particle board from when you get your new kitchen sink hole cut out of a counter top. I always find them in the back lanes. I'd like to switch over to masonite, but don't know where he got them. He is in heaven, so I can't ask him.

TJR.

TJR,

 

I got my my masonite bats from Axner, I think they will ship to Canada if you call and arrange it:

 

http://www.axner.com/duron-bats.aspx

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My 2 cents

my  shop is different as far as bat use

90% is thrown on two size plaster bats

next choice is Northstar blue plastic bats-I use both the 13 and 15 inchers 

mixed into this is some medex bats

at the bottom are a large pile of masonite bats-used mostly under freshly trimmed larger bowls

As far as warping the same pecking order applies

Masonite does warp but will warp back flat as well.I just do not like the warping

The smaller 6 inch squares is a good system for throwing small stuff.

Mark

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Maybe there are differences between masonite bats. Mine are over 12 years old and have never warped. I store them stacked horizontally, and put them away damp all the time. Bat pin holes are just a tight as day one.

 

The warpiest bats in my studio are the WonderBats, they need to be stored on their edges with air flow on both sides or they will warp. It's not hard to unwarp them, but it's still a lot more effort than masonite.

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I have Creative Industries, now Speedball, plastic bats in both the 7-1/2" square and 12" round.  My main beefs with them is that they warp (at least my 7-1/2" squares did, large rounds no), and the pin holes are in the bottom and it can be annoying to find the pins.  Also my pin holes have worn, so I had to learn better technique when throwing so they don't lift (side benefit, better throwing skills??)  It makes it hard to keep a consistent wall thickness when the bat is rocking to and fro.  I saw Bill Van Gilder setting a Masonite bat down on pins that he just set into the wheel-head (no wing-nuts) and throw a great cylinder after centering by using his hand and finger position so the clay had nowhere to go but up....light-bulb moment.

 

I have used the round plastic two hole and the Masonite two hole bats in a public studio.  I found that I usually had to puts some pats of clay under them to keep them from wobbling around.

 

I found that with large pots that I can leave them on the CI bat and they will pop off when they are just about ready for trimming.  I found this out during a workshop on throwing sectional pots.  I had been told differently, but nothing speaks the truth like success.

 

John

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Wow lots of great input from a lot of different people. I am leaning towards the Northstar Universal Bat System. I am fairly new so am doing just small stuff right now and need more bats but not necessarily more big bats. I also like the Medex bats after reading up on them on the various websites since they are pretty cheap as well.

 

I used the speedball bats at the art center and every one of them seemed to be warped so had to put blobs of clay under them to get them even and I also did NOT like the twist and search method for finding the right spot to get the bat pin to hold it in place. One time I thought I had it on even my teacher thought it was on but when we started up the wheel... Well it was NOT ON.

 

I have the really nice birch bats that are 12 and 14 inches that I will use for bigger stuff as I get better. Right now am looking for something I can afford to buy 6-12 of and not break the bank. I am hoping having enough on hand means I can work as long as I want and by the time I run out of fresh bats the first pieces might be firm enough to remove from the bat and keep working if I want. I also have limited space to set them so smaller bats for smaller pieces means smaller amount of shelves needed.

 

Thanks again everyone you all helped immensely and saved me some $$ too.

 

Terry

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I guess I am the odd man out on bats. I get my bats from a local cabinet shop!!! What I mean is I get the sink cut outs from laminate counter tops. The guys are happy to give them to me because they don't have to carry them to the trash. I get three bats out of each cut out. I rough out the squares, find the exact center point, bore a small hole on the center point, and cut them out on my bandsaw with a circle jig. Then on the center line I bore my holes for the bat pins. Then I round over the top and bottom edges and sand smooth. Lastly I apply three coats of poly to seal. I have used these for two years and they are doing great. After I remove them from the wheel, I wipe them down really good - top and bottom. One note, the tops are 3/4" thick so they are a little heavy but they do hold up well. So far I have gotten 45 bats out of the cut outs the shop has given me and they tell me if I want more let them know. I realize everyone doesn't have the ability to make their own bats, I just wanted everyone to know there are other ways to get bats rather than buying. 

 

It is a funny thing, when you retire you learn to become very resourceful in a lot of ways!!!!!

 

 

 

Regards

 

Mikepost-60147-0-53510300-1396653328_thumb.jpgpost-60147-0-61259200-1396653340_thumb.jpg

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post-60147-0-61259200-1396653340_thumb.jpg

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I guess I am the odd man out on bats. I get my bats from a local cabinet shop!!! What I mean is I get the sink cut outs from laminate counter tops. The guys are happy to give them to me because they don't have to carry them to the trash. I get three bats out of each cut out. I rough out the squares, find the exact center point, bore a small hole on the center point, and cut them out on my bandsaw with a circle jig. Then on the center line I bore my holes for the bat pins. Then I round over the top and bottom edges and sand smooth. Lastly I apply three coats of poly to seal. I have used these for two years and they are doing great. After I remove them from the wheel, I wipe them down really good - top and bottom. One note, the tops are 3/4" thick so they are a little heavy but they do hold up well. So far I have gotten 45 bats out of the cut outs the shop has given me and they tell me if I want more let them know. I realize everyone doesn't have the ability to make their own bats, I just wanted everyone to know there are other ways to get bats rather than buying. 

 

It is a funny thing, when you retire you learn to become very resourceful in a lot of ways!!!!!

 

 

 

Regards

 

Mikeattachicon.gifIMG_2281.JPGattachicon.gifIMG_2283.JPG

CM;

See my post above. The bats I use all the time are made from particle board"sink holes", which I made myself in my high school wodshop. Been using them for 30 years. Just started using the masonite bats this week. Lighter, smaller profile on the table, and less space to store. I varisished my bats originally with Marine varnish. I never wash them. Just scrape them.

TJR.

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Masonite does warp but will warp back flat as well.I just do not like the warping

 

I have quite a few masonite bats that have warped....how does one "un-warp" a masonite bat??

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At home, I use a Wonderbat, with the square inserts. It has worked well, and I thought it was a good deal for the bat and six inserts. I will say, you better made sure that every bit of residue is off the edges, where the insert meets the bat cutout. Otherwise, the fit is beyond snug,

 

In my classroom, I just bought some Speedball bats this year. They work well enough, but seem a little wobbly up and don wise. And as JLowes said, it can be difficult to fin the pin holes.

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I love my Wonderbats. 48 hours later I've hit the leather hard stage and released. I'm a newbie, so maybe the fact that they're also new make them release so easily, I may be changing my tune in a few months.

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I have used Masonite bats for decades, but I coated them with a light coating of urathane varnish. Ztudents would really water log these bats. So, for the classroom and for myself, I protected them with the varnish. I did this to some particle board and plywood bats from the 1970s. Still have them. they are in good shape.

'marcia

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I guess I am the odd man out on bats. I get my bats from a local cabinet shop!!! What I mean is I get the sink cut outs from laminate counter tops. The guys are happy to give them to me because they don't have to carry them to the trash. I get three bats out of each cut out. I rough out the squares, find the exact center point, bore a small hole on the center point, and cut them out on my bandsaw with a circle jig. Then on the center line I bore my holes for the bat pins. Then I round over the top and bottom edges and sand smooth. Lastly I apply three coats of poly to seal. I have used these for two years and they are doing great. After I remove them from the wheel, I wipe them down really good - top and bottom. One note, the tops are 3/4" thick so they are a little heavy but they do hold up well. So far I have gotten 45 bats out of the cut outs the shop has given me and they tell me if I want more let them know. I realize everyone doesn't have the ability to make their own bats, I just wanted everyone to know there are other ways to get bats rather than buying. 

 

It is a funny thing, when you retire you learn to become very resourceful in a lot of ways!!!!!

 

 

 

Regards

 

Mikeattachicon.gifIMG_2281.JPGattachicon.gifIMG_2283.JPG

CM;

See my post above. The bats I use all the time are made from particle board"sink holes", which I made myself in my high school wodshop. Been using them for 30 years. Just started using the masonite bats this week. Lighter, smaller profile on the table, and less space to store. I varisished my bats originally with Marine varnish. I never wash them. Just scrape them.

TJR.

 

Sorry TJR

I read the post but was not sure what arborite was. I had been using tempered Masonite bats for several years too, but I like the weight of the sink cut outs better. I think I still have 30 1/4" Masonite bats that I still use occasionally.

 

Mike

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Creative industry bats now speedball bats...not the square ones tho they are too small for me, always stubbing my fingers on them.

 

The 14 inch are great, my original 14 bats i bought while in college literally went thru a hurricane and while have a couple of bite marks from hitting trees and whatnot still work fine and makes a good story while demoing for class. I recently bought 14 more as when i demo at a three day show in july i need more to hold what i produce. Mine have not warped nor the holes wallowed out. And the holes fit both the brents and speedball wheels. The holes are easy to line up cause there are little nubs on the edge of the bat to tell you where the holes are so you can line up to the pins . The fun part is slamming the clay down cause if you hit the bats just right with the clay lump they make a very loud noise and it is perfect to get the attention of students that are slow to gather around for a demo.

 

I didn't like the brent bats too much tho i do own and use some as they came with a used wheel i bought but the holes of the brent bats wallow out, i am constantly stuffing clay over the pins when i use the brent bats so the bat doesn't shift. I did buy one of the brent 20†bats tho to throw platters on and as long as the holes don't start to wallow it is good.

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