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Used Pottery Wheels: The Good And The Bad?

Used used equipment wheel pottery wheel potters wheel

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#1 TwinRocks

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 04:30 PM

Easy to guess from the title, but I am looking to buy a used wheel. I looked through the FAQ links and didn't get as clear of an answer as I'd like, so here I go!

I've been working on a loaner from some friends who where generous enough to offer it up when they heard I wanted to start throwing again, but they will need it back in a few weeks.

I remember using Brent wheels in school, as well as a Lockberbie kick wheel with a motor hookup but that is quite a long time ago!

What models have you personally tried? What did you like or dislike? What wheel do you prefer to work on? If you could have any wheel, what would you choose any why? Also are there any wheels you have tried but didn't enjoy, and if so, why? Any that have major faults, or that should be on a "don't buy" list?

I know a lot of it boils down to preference and working style, but it's a bit mind boggling without more information! It seems like most of the branded used equipment I've seen is Shimpo or Brent, so comparison between those two companies qualities and advantages would also be helpful.

#2 neilestrick

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 05:26 PM

I'm a Thomas-Stuart/Skutt fan. I've got 11 of them. They run smooth, have the most torque for the money, and the big splash pans keep the studio much cleaner.

 

For used wheels, just make sure it runs smoothly, and check the belt for wear. Beyond that it's hard to tell if it will run for 20 years or break down in a week. Avoid the Brent wheels with the black control box with smooth/flush buttons. Those were not good- Brent was replacing them if they died, but I don't know if they still are.


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#3 grype

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 06:29 PM

I have the Skutt/TS wheel and I can't even imagine not having my splashpan. I threw on a brent for a bit in when I first started, it felt fine, but I think I would miss my gigantic pan now.



#4 Mark C.

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 06:39 PM

I'm a Brent fan just avoid the bad controller and you will be fine.

Mark


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#5 oldlady

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 07:20 PM

pacifica for its quiet.  i like to hear the birds or music, not a grinding wheel.  hate brent.


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#6 Pres

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 06:31 AM

Check out the strands under the FAQs here to help you with more opinions on potters wheels.

 

Best,

Preston


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#7 GEP

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 08:07 AM

If you are looking for a used wheel, you probably aren't going to get much choice in terms of brand. The premium brand wheels are generally not found on the used market (people who buy them, keep them). And even for a full-time professional, any wheel will get the job done as long as it's level, spins smoothly, and has speed control. If I was shopping for a used wheel, a "good" wheel is one that is affordable, runs smoothly, and located within driving distance. If I was motivated by the finer points like noise level, splash pan design, or extra torque, I would buy a new wheel.


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#8 TJR

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 09:11 AM

I like Brents. Have owned the same one for 35 years. Just replaced the main bearing. Good for another 35.

TJR.



#9 Benzine

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 10:19 AM

 The premium brand wheels are generally not found on the used market (people who buy them, keep them). 

 

Generally not, but I see there is a Thomas-Stuart Elite on Govdeal.com right now.  The seller is out of Kansas, and bidding is at 350 right now.  Sooo, if anyone lives around Kansas...


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#10 TwinRocks

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 11:57 AM

Oddly, a lot of the "used" equipment I've come across is in fact new or close to it. Seems some people jump in with good intentions and just never get their hands in the clay?

I know a Soldner isn't going to drop from the sky, but I've seen an amazing variety on the secondary market so if I have some room for choice, it's nice to get an idea of what may be best for the money. :)

#11 Benzine

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 12:28 PM

I got my wheel, from someone who seemed to have such "Good Intentions".  It was barely used, and they threw in some clay and tools.  I didn't need the clay or tools, as I have my own, but "Hey Bonus".


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#12 Stellaria

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 06:36 PM

I bought a barely used Shimpo, and use Brent wheels at the community center. I haven't noticed any difference, really, except that my Shimpo has the control lever attached to the foot pedal, which is nice. And the splash pan comes off of the Brent easier. Totally silly differences for me to notice :)

#13 schmism

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 12:09 AM

The studio i take classes at has various wheels.

 

They have 4? different Brents,  A, B, C, CX....    A is small, good portable wheel if you plan to throw for demonstrations or need a second wheel to trim.   I have trouble controlling the wheel trying to center more than 3 lbs as i can stall the small 1/4hp motor or start torqueing the base around the shop.   

 

B's and C's are roughly the same,  Some i like better than others due to particulars with how the pedals are dialed in via there restive pots.   Avg splash pan.

I liked the CX direct drive.  smooth and virtually limitless power.  no belt slipping there.

 

Clay boss.  Inexpensive,  foot control on both is less...(what word is best here....) precise than that of the Brents and much less so than the Axner.   Splash pan is frustratingly small.  ON the other hand it is one of the most quiet wheels in the studio.   Weighs less than the Brents, and I have been known to torque it around when centering 6-8 lbs.   Did i mention it was inexpensive?

 

After throwing on virtually all the wheels (14? in all?)  My personal fav in the studio is the Axner M-600.   I feel the foot control is better than the Brent,  more precise,  more predictable,  speed range i feel is more linear than Brents old foot controls.   It doesn't have lots of deadband in either end of the foot control which is typical of the older Brent (non PWM controls).  It is quiet and smooth, even centering 6-8lbs the machine keeps up.  Its heavy enough that i dont torque it around, and the splash pan is much larger than that of a brent and worlds larger than the clay boss.   My personal preference is for the larger splash pan.

 

This studio has no shimpo wheels.  I threw on them back in college, and loved them,  I think they are considered to expensive for the studio to purchase.

 

As to used,  I see most of the above on CL from time to time.  They generally are listed for about 80% of new unless they have issues.  Most are "lost intrest" versions that have very little use thus the high prices sought.   The other group seems to be the "doesn't work right" versions for several hundred.



#14 Pres

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 08:15 AM

Over the years, I have thrown on several different wheels, including Randall motorized kicks, Amaco motorized kicks, Brent B, C, CX, CXC, CI HP, CI MP, Bailey ST and STX. All of these have been great wheels even though the throwing experience on each of them was different.

The Randalls were with the bat cups and plaster bats. Great for casseroles and other things up to 15# for me. However, I often would watch the professor throw 25+# for his large pieces. The motors on these were pretty good, with a puck that hit the side of the wheel, unlike the Amacos I threw on later that had the puck hit the bottom of the wheel. The Amacos were great, even though they took up a lot of floor real estate.

All of the other wheels either used belts, or were direct drive as the CX by Brent. The CX was really quite nice for throwing all sizes of pieces even though at times it might balk at start and stop. It may have just been a quirk of the wheel. I had a problem with the B and the MP as both of them seemed to be underpowered when it came to centering 25# or more of clay. I would throw on the MP when in the HS studio, to check out the wheels, and found that it would stop with larger amounts and my centering style. All of the other belt wheels were fine with me, as I could control quite a bit of clay, throw slow when needed, and not get any shudder when dropping down to way slow.

 

Buying a wheel when a beginner is tough because you really don't know what you need. Later you know what you need, but really need to try out different wheels to see what you like and what you want. Just because someone says a Stuart, or a Brent, or a Speedball, or other is what they like, we all throw differently. Best to get to a place that has wheels that you can try out a bit, either Ceramics shop, local pot shop, conference or such. If you are just starting out, and find a used deal. Look carefully to see if it is smooth running, that the wheel head has no play in it, that the controller moves freely, and that there are no frayed/damaged cords or plugs on it. If this wheel is a kick wheel check to see that the wheel turns freely without any noises-noise could mean bad bearings which usually take an arm and a leg to replace.


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#15 Melinda

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 10:07 AM

I've used my Shimp for over 40 years, never even changed the ring cone drive

and it still hums along...love the "reverse" feature as well as having both a foot

pedal and hand controller for fine speed changes.



#16 hershey8

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 11:13 PM

Used Shimpo rk2 from the 80's ( I'm guessing)....direct drive and cheap &easy  ac motor replacement. Of course, I'll have to re-bore the cone drive hole when the time comes, since it is now metric. No big deal. Louder than state of the art electronic wheels, but comfortable. Kind of like riding in a vintage automobile.







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