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Tom

The Proper Inappropriate Use Of Tools

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I make small press molds from Sculpy. I can have a new mold in the time it take to finish it in the oven. (Dust w/ cornstarch for a release.)

 

Hot glue is great for positioning add ons on green ware. I just heat with a hair dryer to release and reposition.

 

I use old yogurt strainers if I need to sieve a small amount of glase of slip.

 

Balloons in all shapes and sizes are great hand building molds.

 

And I don't seem to be able to keep a baster in my kitchen for more than two weeks.

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Great topic...as with many of the others I use syringes, various sized metal spoons, hacksaw blades, immersion blender power drill for stiring slip and drilling holes in leather hard clay, coffee grinder, XL silicon scapers, dremel, cosemtic brushes, auto buffer, auto detail cloths, panty hose, plastic bags, cheese slicers, pie crust rolling spacers, paint stiring sticks, fun noodles, mini barbells, and others i can't think of right now.

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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

 

 

I have used a variety of wooden and bamboo spoons with the handles on or cut off to throw with. These work quite well for throwing larger forms like bowls, and jars. I also like my Dremel to shape tools, grind off pottery, cut incised decoration in greenware, and to polish out little glaze imperfections. I also find that the band saw, and drill press are invaluable in making forms for slab forms out of wood or Styrofoam. Drills for mixing glazes, immersion mixers for stains, slips and engobes, and my router for larger raised panel decoration with pressed slabs on wood forms.

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I like to stir up my glazes with toilet brushes. They do a fast job of breaking up the settled stuff at the bottom, then scraping off the bottom and sides of the bucket. I buy them for $1.50 at my local IKEA, then use a separate toilet brush for each glaze. This saves me time (don't need to wash off the brushes) and saves glaze (any glaze that dries on the brush goes back in the bucket next time I stir.)

Mea

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I use 4' lengths of copper tubing for hole punches and wood dowels just a little smaller to clean out the unwanted clay, under the bed Plastic boxes make great wet boxes for holding or conditioning my slabs. Use puppy pads sprayed with water and turned plastic side up to help hold moisture. Also use up those pesky plastic bags after cutting off handles and opening up sides for seperators when stacking more than one type of clay. Always fold so the printed side is turned to the inside that way no unwanted marking. Plastic bags work nice when cut and twisted to make soft support for the edges of my leaf trays. Looks like the imagination is the only limit to what we come up with. Sure appreciate all the other responses that broadened out my view of what can be repurposed.

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Great topic...as with many of the others I use syringes, various sized metal spoons, hacksaw blades, immersion blender power drill for stiring slip and drilling holes in leather hard clay, coffee grinder, XL silicon scapers, dremel, cosemtic brushes, auto buffer, auto detail cloths, panty hose, plastic bags, cheese slicers, pie crust rolling spacers, paint stiring sticks, fun noodles, mini barbells, and others i can't think of right now.

 

 

Lots of good ideas here! Where do you get the rolling pin spacers? I have always wanted some, but can't find them.

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I had some stainless steel sheets with various size holes in them. I have made extruder dies out of them as well as use them for texture. I use a toilet brush on my extruder too.

My friend gave me a foam circular foam cushion from her husband's prostrate operation...I use it for fragile narrow neck forms when trimming.

There are more.... I am sure.

 

Marcia

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I've a bamboo pot scraper from crate and barrel that makes a great straight rib; it has rounded corners of different sizes that make it a flexible tool. I also have a backpackers pot scraper with a hard side and a rubber side that is almost like having two ribs in one.

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a boning knife , dental floss, plastic and metal knives and forks, a lacquered stiff paint brush, most recently to make holes and marks a hair barrette, can opener, dental appliances, the handle of an oil lamp, chopstick, all sorts of local plants. If it is there I will use it. That rule don't use food prep items for clay.. well- we all got to go sometime... and lots of food has more chemicals ( that you can't rinse off ) than clay does. Oh, and if you accidentlaly get a birdseed or two in clay you threw? on the patio and then cover it - the seeds will sprout through the covered clay - Oops.

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Great topic...as with many of the others I use syringes, various sized metal spoons, hacksaw blades, immersion blender power drill for stiring slip and drilling holes in leather hard clay, coffee grinder, XL silicon scapers, dremel, cosemtic brushes, auto buffer, auto detail cloths, panty hose, plastic bags, cheese slicers, pie crust rolling spacers, paint stiring sticks, fun noodles, mini barbells, and others i can't think of right now.

 

 

Lots of good ideas here! Where do you get the rolling pin spacers? I have always wanted some, but can't find them.

 

 

I got them at a local ACE hardware store, they look like large rubber bands to go over the ends of the rolling pin. Came with 4 pairs ranging in sizes from 1/8"=3/8". If you have having trouble finding them, let me know and I can stop back in find out the official name/brand and contact for the store. I wouldn't call the packaging marketed for national distribution.

 

Chad

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I like to incise drawings on my pots and am still searching for the best tool. I've tried calligraphy tools among many other things (pencils, dental tools, shish kebob bamboo skewers, actual clay tools meant for carving.) Next I'm trying my collection of knitting needles with some duct tape wrapped around them to make it easier to hold. I use big nuts from some sports equipment long gone to make cut off wires from fishing line or the line that was suppose to be used when I made necklaces. Knitting and jewlery making has been cast aside in my addiction to clay.

 

 

 

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My grandson gives me all his old used guitar strings which I use as cut-off wires. Also, on another forum dealing with glazes (just incase you don't check ALL forums) Marcia and Chris (?) use toilet bowl brushes to mix their glazes. What a great idea! Only one question--does the wire in the brush rust and cause problems with the glaze? I'll ask on the other forum.

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Only one question--does the wire in the brush rust and cause problems with the glaze? I'll ask on the other forum.

 

 

I once had a toilet brush that contained some metal wire, which eventually rusted and broke, but didn't seem to release any rust into my glaze.

 

The cheap brushes I get from IKEA seem to be made entirely of plastic ... no rust!

 

Mea

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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

 

 

 

 

Today for the first time I bought a little cup of chocolate ice cream, within the lid was a little flat plastic spoon. My first thought was 'oh this is perfect for getting into those tight spots that the long boxwood tools can't reach'! I haven't tried it yet, the tool I mean the ice cream is long gone. The little spoon has possibilities!

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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

 

 

 

 

 

Hi, Tom. What a fun forum!

 

I've wanted a set of alphabet stamps for a long time but didn't want to spend the $ and discovered that alphabet pasta works well. The pasta can be found at some local groceries or ethnic groceries (Hispanic).

 

Also, there are a few shapes that can be cut from fast-food drink lids and used as stamps. And a sewing pattern tracing wheel gives a nice mark; it's easy to make straight or curved lines.

 

Plastic food wrap or dry cleaner plastic can be used on both sides of a slab of clay while rolling it out--it keeps the table top clean and you can get incredibly thin slabs. Although the slab should be turned over prior to each rolling-pin "pass" and the top sheet of plastic reapplied. After the final rolling, remove the bottom piece of plastic and rib the clay smooth because the bottom plastic always tends to wrinkle.

 

An unplugged fridge works well as a "damp box" for pots in progress.

 

A picnic cooler is a good place to store small amounts of unused clay.

 

I loved lots of the tips, especially using crochet hooks or knitting needles. Thanks for opening up this interesting discussion--I've learned a lot of fun things to try.

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I sculpted lid models this week and needed a container to hold the models for casting. You ever buy cakes from a supermarket? The cake cover was perfect for holding the models for the pour. Before you toss those disposable containers, see if they have potentials for casting. Some shapes are too good to pass up.

 

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I use those cake covers for slow drying of plates and bowls, and the tall pretzel and cheetos jars with the bottom cut off for taller pieces that need to be covered without having plastic touch the clay.

 

Yesterday I discovered that wallpaper liner that goes over concrete blocks or panneling before the paper makes a GREAT work surface. Sturdy and slightly absorbent. Found 4 big roles at the salvage store.wink.gif

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I use cheap Halloween carving tools (I buy them when they go on clearance sales) The saws work well for cutting out windows and such. The scoops are great for shaping, there are other tools included, usually find a kit with 8 pieces for around a dime.

 

I use a Tony Chachere's Creole injector (comes with the seasoning that you can inject under the skin of a turkey) to fill miniature molds, and to apply slip to the outside of pieces.

 

I use an assortment of light shades that my husband got as samples at a trade show. These are the coverings that go in fluorescent light fixtures. Some are used for textures, some are used for cutting tiles, one is a honeycomb shape, and there are a couple of different sized squares.

 

A wok strainer works well for dipping pieces into glaze.

 

Wooden tiered thread caddy, works well when you are painting or drying multiple small items such as salt and pepper shakers (which is what I mostly make). The racks come in either 6 rows of ten small pegs or 6 rows of 6 large pegs, I set up two of them when I start painting, one with the bisque on each peg (or every other peg if the pieces are big and would touch and rub off the glaze) Then as I paint all of one color on each piece, I move it to the other rack, and repeat until the first rack is done, then I move to the next color and start the process all over.

 

Oh and I save all the caps off medicine, soda, and water bottles and use them when I just need a small amount of glaze, no contamination that way, and if I can't get it clean, I just toss it.

 

I also wash the foam trays that meat comes on to use as a pallet

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Quilting tools! I love my old plastic mats with lines and measurements marked, as well as having a collection of plastic piecing shapes, also with lines marked. Hexagons, triangles, squares, circles, scalloped shapes -- all great. A pizza cutter instead of a rotary fabric cutter saves ruining an olfa blade and lessens the chances of cutting yourself along with the clay.

 

The plastic templates for quilted stiching come in a near endless variety of patterns and the cut-outs are usually wide enough to mark directly on the piece.

 

Stencils meant for painting work just as well in our clay studios.

 

Old drafting tools are wonderful studio additions, too. No off-angle pieces with a T-square, and the bendy metal curves allow for making all kinds of lines. Drafting templates are also useful, but they also tend to be much smaller, thinner/bendier plastic and more delicate than the quilting shape templates.

 

And, having appropriated my husband's leather stamps has brought a new form of heaven to the studio, too.

 

Kitchen tools tend to get left alone -- my husband is a delightful cook, my son is studying to be a chef -- so I pretty much limit myself to "can you get one of THOSE for me for the studio?" when I see one of their goodies that I like. Ok, so I borrowed the pie crust punch patterns a couple of times... but washed them thoroughly afterward!

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Great topic...as with many of the others I use syringes, various sized metal spoons, hacksaw blades, immersion blender power drill for stiring slip and drilling holes in leather hard clay, coffee grinder, XL silicon scapers, dremel, cosemtic brushes, auto buffer, auto detail cloths, panty hose, plastic bags, cheese slicers, pie crust rolling spacers, paint stiring sticks, fun noodles, mini barbells, and others i can't think of right now.

 

Lots of good ideas here! Where do you get the rolling pin spacers? I have always wanted some, but can't find them.

 

 

Here is one place that I have found that sells the rolling pin spaces? These are usually used for rolling out pie dough. http://www.countryki...roductId=633876

 

Then there are also the thickness strips that can bought at some of the ceramic supply stores online. For example, The Big Ceramic Store - http://www.bigcerami...ildingTools.htm they will the 12th tool/item down on the page.

Or Continental Clay carries some - http://www.continent...b_categoryID=54. Other online stores sell them as well but these are the two off the top of my head.

 

If you wanted wood ones featured at Continental Clay or Big Ceramic Store you could also just buy the square dowels you can find at craft stores or home improvement stores like Home Depot, Lowes, etc. You would just buy them in 1/8", 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" thickness or whatever thickness you desire.

 

Good Luck and have fun...

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I have a collection of stainless steel sheets from the recycling center with various sizes of perforated holes. I have used these for bumpy texture, stencils for airbrushing and cut some to fit my extruder for coils.

 

Marcia

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My treasured "tool" is my Father's shaving brush, used when I am cleaning up greenware carvings. He was great at recycling tools, furniture, etc., and I like to think he is smiling down on me when I use it. I also am a bit of a Packrat when it comes to produce netting and bags.

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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

 

 

 

 

 

Hi, Tom. What a fun forum!

 

I've wanted a set of alphabet stamps for a long time but didn't want to spend the $ and discovered that alphabet pasta works well. The pasta can be found at some local groceries or ethnic groceries (Hispanic).

 

Also, there are a few shapes that can be cut from fast-food drink lids and used as stamps. And a sewing pattern tracing wheel gives a nice mark; it's easy to make straight or curved lines.

 

Plastic food wrap or dry cleaner plastic can be used on both sides of a slab of clay while rolling it out--it keeps the table top clean and you can get incredibly thin slabs. Although the slab should be turned over prior to each rolling-pin "pass" and the top sheet of plastic reapplied. After the final rolling, remove the bottom piece of plastic and rib the clay smooth because the bottom plastic always tends to wrinkle.

 

An unplugged fridge works well as a "damp box" for pots in progress.

 

A picnic cooler is a good place to store small amounts of unused clay.

 

I loved lots of the tips, especially using crochet hooks or knitting needles. Thanks for opening up this interesting discussion--I've learned a lot of fun things to try.

 

 

Press you alphabet pasta into a "cigarette stub" of clay, leave it imbedded, and burn out in the bisquefire to get a raised letter style. This works especially well for labeling things like salt and pepper, or honey jar, etc.

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