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The Proper Inappropriate Use Of Tools


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#1 Tom

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 04:24 PM

The proper inappropriate use of tools

This is meant to be a fun post.. What unaltered tools are you using in your studio that are not designed to be used in a ceramic studio. I know that many of us use blenders and other kitchen tools. Let’s look a little further away from ceramic and share our fun unexpected tools and how they are used improperly. To make our life a little more enjoyable.

My tools

A leaf and branch chopper bought from Harbor freight on sale for about $70.00 used to grind bone dry green into a finer powder for repugging, making casting slip, making dry clay dust to wedge wet clay.

A small cement mixer for making dry glaze supplies, slips, and such

Just to name two, please note that safety concerns apply, and a good dust mask is needed with both tools

What are you doing

Tom



#2 clay lover

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 07:03 PM

The term "unaltered" sort of puzzled me, but I'm in for the game!

I use old cheeze cutters from the junque store . I take the roller out (altering)Posted Image It makes a great umi at way less than the price for one from a clay supply store and works just as well.

#3 Seasoned Warrior

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 07:29 PM

The proper inappropriate use of tools

This is meant to be a fun post.. What unaltered tools are you using in your studio that are not designed to be used in a ceramic studio. I know that many of us use blenders and other kitchen tools. Let’s look a little further away from ceramic and share our fun unexpected tools and how they are used improperly. To make our life a little more enjoyable.

My tools

A leaf and branch chopper bought from Harbor freight on sale for about $70.00 used to grind bone dry green into a finer powder for repugging, making casting slip, making dry clay dust to wedge wet clay.

A small cement mixer for making dry glaze supplies, slips, and such

Just to name two, please note that safety concerns apply, and a good dust mask is needed with both tools

What are you doing

Tom



One of my favorite tools is the micro surform tool from Lee valley It is wonderful for shredding things and for using as a file. It is also the best cheese grater I have ever used although it is not designed for it and I suggest that you get two, one to grate clay and a different one for cheese.

Another device and I guess you could call it a tool is a Becton and Dickenson 2cc glass syringe with an adrenalin needle. the needle is the one used to inject adrenaline directly into the heart of a heart attack victim about 4' long with a realtively large bore. I like them because they are easy to clean the Luer lock needle can be easily changed and it makes fine lines with slip or glaze. It is a dream to trail slip with.

I also love my Wood working tools and while they may not be used directly on clay I make my own wooden ribs. I make turned models on the lathe, and I don't knwo what I wold do without my band say and my table saw.

Darn I also like my metal workign tools in actuality I work in different media dependign on what i want to achieve and I guess the lines of demarcation have become so blurred in my mind that I use things interchangeably as the need comes up. I even been known use my pot smelter for a raku oven! I'm just a mess Posted Image

Best regards,
Charles

#4 Denice

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 08:10 PM

The proper inappropriate use of tools

This is meant to be a fun post.. What unaltered tools are you using in your studio that are not designed to be used in a ceramic studio. I know that many of us use blenders and other kitchen tools. Let’s look a little further away from ceramic and share our fun unexpected tools and how they are used improperly. To make our life a little more enjoyable.

My tools

A leaf and branch chopper bought from Harbor freight on sale for about $70.00 used to grind bone dry green into a finer powder for repugging, making casting slip, making dry clay dust to wedge wet clay.

A small cement mixer for making dry glaze supplies, slips, and such

Just to name two, please note that safety concerns apply, and a good dust mask is needed with both tools

What are you doing

Tom


I thought about it and the only unaltered foreign tools I have is filter for house paint that fits over a 5 gal bucket, I often pour a glaze through it before I put it through a fine sieve. Their plastic and easy to clean and are also inexpensive. The other is a liner brush sold at automotive paint stores for car pin strippers. You can get a nice long line going with them but unfortunately they are not cheap, I used it in a research project on Anazai pottery that I was a part of. I have the usual assortment of hammer, cheese slicers ect. but I did recently acquire a meat saw that I am still experimenting with. Denice (Wichita, KS)

#5 Pam S

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 08:18 PM

Imersion blender for mixing glazes. Those pesky faux credit cards are recycled for ribs and texture tools. Pipettes and syringes for slip trailing. For texture, a small car floor mat, mesh produce bags, chicken wire, fireplace grate and I just discovered icing texture press molds in a kitchen store. They come in all kinds of patterns. Fun topic!

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#6 Seasoned Warrior

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 08:57 PM

I have the usual assortment of hammer, cheese slicers ect. but I did recently acquire a meat saw that I am still experimenting with. Denice (Wichita, KS)



A meat saw? May I ask is it a band saw or the one that looks like a hack saw? How are you using it? I use a coping saw but a meat saw is most intriguing.

Regards,
Charles

#7 Denice

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 09:46 AM


I have the usual assortment of hammer, cheese slicers ect. but I did recently acquire a meat saw that I am still experimenting with. Denice (Wichita, KS)



A meat saw? May I ask is it a band saw or the one that looks like a hack saw? How are you using it? I use a coping saw but a meat saw is most intriguing.

Regards,
Charles

Charles It's like a hack saw that it triangular, heavy frame and large knarly teeth on the blade. I've used it to cut some large extruded molding at the leather hard stage and totally dry. Worked well at the leather hard stage and rounded the edges on the dry pieces but it saved me some time the extruded pieces were to long to fit in my kiln. I square and cut to length the molding with a tile saw after the bisque and before the glaze. Still playing with it haven't had it very long. Denice (Wichita, KS)

#8 Rob Hendriks

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 10:36 AM

I use tools from a dentist to model in soft clay,maybe this is not very unusual.Maybe more unusual;I use a sheet of transparent(thick) plastic between my modeltools and the soft clay when I do carvings.And I use small needles for miniature carving work.Further;on a plate of dry plaster I paint with castingclay.When dry this 'miniature relief painting' comes free from the plaster and can be fired.
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http://www.reliefs.nl

#9 Mossyrock

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 12:31 PM

Interesting and fun topic! While I use a lot of 'altered' non-pottery items in my studio, I also use many unaltered tools, some of which have already been mentioned. I have a microwave in my studio that I use daily to help with the drying process of component parts and sometimes of the actual piece. If the piece is too large to go in the microwave, I use a paint stripper heat gun. Other items include fondant imprint mats, sanding blocks from beauty supply stores, 1" round flower frog to score where I add feet (one twist and it's well scored), very large easter egg to true up rims of handbuilt mugs, placemats for texture (wood, plastic, felt), a hard drive disc for a rib to create a smooth inside when throwing a bowl, a 7" chrome stove burner surround as a rib for larger bowls, large extruded styrofoam rings as slump molds for birdbath bowls, and corks to glue on buttons, etc. for texture stamps. It fun to look for things that can be used as something other than their intended purpose.
Brenda Moore
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#10 Guest_Herb Norris_*

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 12:37 PM

I agree with Charles that a Surform tool (meant for woodworking) is one of the best tools for clay; If I have lots of trimming to do, I use a surform to remove most of the clay, then use a trimming tool for the final phase. I should get one for a cheese grater, that sounds like a good idea!
What a great topic!

#11 Idaho Potter

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 02:42 PM

What fun! Answers the questions of how adoptive and adaptive potters can be. I have similar tools as have already been mentioned here, and couple of others. I have a farrier's (horse shoer) file. Makes quick work of rasping or filing clay and doubles for texture imprints. When I lost my favorite rock for burnishing I came up with using drawer knobs (with a screw inserted it gives you a handle). They come in all sizes shapes and material (wood porcelain, metal, plastic).

#12 Denice

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 02:17 PM

What fun! Answers the questions of how adoptive and adaptive potters can be. I have similar tools as have already been mentioned here, and couple of others. I have a farrier's (horse shoer) file. Makes quick work of rasping or filing clay and doubles for texture imprints. When I lost my favorite rock for burnishing I came up with using drawer knobs (with a screw inserted it gives you a handle). They come in all sizes shapes and material (wood porcelain, metal, plastic).


Thanks for the great idea for burnishing with the drawer knobs, I've been thinking about getting back into burnishing but the idea of trying to hold onto that slippery rock has been putting me off of the idea. Denice (Wichita, KS)

#13 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 08:34 AM

I use a welders' tip cleaner set..configured.like a set of alan wrenches. I use these for cleaning the metal tips of slip applicators. I have several hypodermic needles that I put in a saw-off ear syringe for line drawing with luster glazes. My teacher, Bill Daley, had us using sur-forms and bits of hacksaw blades 40 years ago. Hacksaw blades when cross-hatching the surface can remove bumps.
Marcia



#14 JLowes

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 09:15 PM

I have a few. A fondant cutter set with three wheels for adding dashed or wavy lines, or a straight wheel I use for cutting clay, I picked up a Hobby Lobby or Michael's. A wooden meat texturizer hammer to pound in a little texture to push out. Altered just a little bit is a 4-inch long piece of metal banding with a 90 degree bend to a 1/2-inch "L". I sharpen the short edges and trim with them and turn the "L" toward the leather hard work and chatter in a pattern with it as well. I make a couple of cuts to a paint store stirrer to make cut off knives tools to cut the clay at the bottom of a bowl or cylinder on the wheel. I also use a swivel wheeled caster to push up clay from the bottom of a cylinder or bowl to make a footwithout the need to trim a foot. The ribbed tops form pill or other bottel caps can be used to make texture on a rim. I also push the wet clay toward leahter hard with a heat gun.

#15 j mark

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 10:28 PM

I took an old 1hp electric farm motor, put it on my homemade wheel, then to control speeds I attached a control for Ac motors I purchased off of Ebay for around $20.00. Next I added a foot pedal from my foredom tool. It works great and it is what I am using as a production potter.

I also use a mini green house used for starting seedlings, that has plastic walls, as a wet room. It holds about 1 dozen bats at a time.

#16 terraforma

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 11:45 AM

Well, they're not technically tools, but I love using Ace bandages to wrap and hold slabs on hump molds or bowls - great for maintaining shape while they're drying.
Mickey Fielding
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#17 Christine

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 01:53 PM

... a pizza wheel for cutting, a blender for small-quantity glaze mixing and a mixing attachment on an electric drill to remix casting slip or bulk glazes - this is a brilliant topic .... I've learned lots!

#18 ~janie

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 07:34 PM

Some are altered, some are not.

I use short (2") pieces of a band saw blade with duct tape on one end for scoring my pieces.

I use pieces of banding material in various weights and widths for chattering tools.

Shelf liner is great for texturing clay, and also is great glued to a bat to hold your work for tooling. Use wood glue to glue ithe liner to the bat. Great for large pieces, no lugs required.

Samples of embossed wallpaper can be had for the asking at places like Lowes, and is great for rolling texture into clay.

Plastic placemats are great material for making patterns. $1 will get you several patterns that will be true for a LONG, LONG time!

A wooden tray for burning incense sticks is a fabulous rib for pushing out the sides of a pot.

Plastic baby spoons, 3 to a pack for $1, (in lovely pastel colors) also make great tools for manipulating clay.

At Lowes, I bought a 4' length of turned hardwood for about $6. I cut it in half to make 2 long, thin rolling pins, and labeled one for porcelain, one for 'other' clay.

I need to go look in the studio to see what else is out there.

~janie

#19 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 09:24 AM

I picked up a long wooden potato masher when I was in Latvia. I use it for whacking clay lumps into shape for running through my slab roller.Also use a 24" sheet rock blade for smoothing slabs. An architect's drafting ruling/compass with measurements helps to figure size of slabs needed to meet thew circumference of columns.

Marcia

#20 Tom

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 03:25 AM

Hello all

This went a lot better them I thought it would. Thank you all for the wonderful post.

Like Charles I too am a bit of A tool head and my tools tend to drift. one of my favorites is the food processor for making slip and paper clay slip used for everything from small slip castings to layed up slip decorations, When I have young kids in studio I use drinking straws as drills. many of the other adapted tools I use have already been described in your posts.

This has been great fun. I am trying to come up with another one that might be as much fun. We can't be serious all the time or its just not Fun.

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep". Scott Adams, 'The Dilbert Principle' words to be an artist by

Tom





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