Oh how I wish that this forum had a 'like' button, like facebook!
We are cautious at the studio where I work. In total there is about 16 people working in the studio. We wet-mop, and spray when cleaning. The guys who fettle some of the bigger pieces dry, work in the spray booth with the extraction fan on. The owner wants to get a specialized extraction table which is quite an ingenius piece of work. The woodworking factory next to us use these for sanding work. (sucking the dust down into the table, from where it is sucked out of the building.)
But on the whole, I agree with the others. I live in Africa. It is dusty. I grew up in a small farming community and dirt was part of my staple feed, so to say. I am also a RN, and my whole family is all in the medical field. For that reason I do not use antiseptic soaps and cleaners in my house. I do not buy into the hype of using sanitizers, etc. And I might get a mild cold once a year, if that much.
I quit using antiseptic soaps and cleaners about ten years ago. I have had way fewer colds, though of course I can't say for sure it is because of changing soaps. Antiseptics do harm in the water supply, killing beneficial bacteria and other organisms. Once you remove those beneficial bacteria, other things move in that are more resistant to being killed, and those things can be bad for you. I remember back in the 80's when the first e-coli outbreaks occurred with hamburger meat. A study revealed that e-coli was taking over work surfaces in meat grinding plants because the use of bleach and other antiseptic cleaners was wiping out the benign bacteria. The e-coli was more resistant to the antiseptics, so it populated the work surfaces now devoid of the benign stuff.
LOWE'S puts out some ideas in a newsletter every month. the first one i saw was for building a 4x8 worktable for holding all kinds of things in spaces under the tabletop. bins, shelves, drawers, all kinds of storage. even though i have perfectly good smaller tables i constructed, i envied the person whose studio could accomodate a 4x8 table built to this plan. heavy duty wheels allow for moving it while cleaning up.
my tables were built for holding not only a work surface on top but storing tools and materials underneath. a good worktop is simple drywall over plywood. the plywood is surrounded by framing and leaves a 1/2 inch depression into which the sheet of drywall sits. the drywall works in a single user studio because the user will probably take reasonable care not to ruin it by denting it or some other thoughtless thing. i cover the top with TYVEK which does not stick to the clay and is washable with a sponge. i have not had to replace my TYVEK top in 8 years. do not use canvas because it will hold clay dust and send it into the air each time it is used. think about banging a slab onto a canvas surface and imagine what the powdered clay that landed in the canvas yesterday is doing. work surfaces need to be kept CLEAN.
if you run a 2x4 or something else horizontally indented just under the edge of the top, you will provide a sturdy hanging surface for all those items that usually get put onto the nearest flat area, namely, your worktop. suddenly, the 4x8 tabletop has shrunk to a 2x2 open flat space surrounded by tools, forms, plaster bats, etc. if you store them by hanging under the top, a simple black marker will tell you where each item is under the surface. looking down at the marks you know exactly where to reach for that special form or tool you always use.
if you work with slabs you probably use a needle often. drill a hole into the framework or tape the writing end of an old pen onto the center support of your slab roller to hold your needle safely. put it back each time and it will always be available. paint the handle bright yellow so you can find it if it gets misplaced. a piece of tubing can hold rolling pins or other long items at the end of your table. there are tons of ways to make your table useful. make it tall enough so you can work comfortably standing. you can get a stool of the correct height for sitting at it.
i wish i could send you some photographs of what i mean but i will not be home to take any until after april 20.
I LOVE the idea of TYVEK on the table top! I am going to replace my canvas with that right away!! And your ideas for creating handy storage for tools are much appreciated. You're right--my table top shrinks to nothing when I am working because I scatter tools all over the work surface, then go crazy when I have to search for something. I'd love to see photos of your studio; I'm sure you've been smart and creative in your use of space. Have you ever done a video tour of your studio? That would be great too. Also, it occurs to me that TYVEK does not stretch like canvas so it is much easier to apply and keep tight on the tabletop.
I work exclusively with slabs and hand-building and have decided to build a new work table, larger and taller. Probably 5' x 6' and approx. 36 inches tall (will give option to sit on a stool or stand to work). I think that having the underneath for clay (and other) storage will be great. Plus, with the larger work space, I can have several projects going at once...
I would love some feedback on doing this (good idea, bad idea, design ideas, etc)... Also, what should the work surface be? Plywood? Some kind of masonry board?
This will be what I am working on full-time, so I want to make sure that I do it right! Thanks a bunch! Jonni Webb JRWebb Pottery www.jrwebbpottery.com
I like 3/4 inch MDF as a work surface. I also wedge on it. It has held up well for over a year in my home studio, however, it might deteriorate in a busier teaching studio environment.
When I set up my own studio 7 years ago, I built tables using instructions from Peter King's "Architectural Ceramics for the Studio Potter" book. Here's a link with a photo: http://books.google....k table&f=false These tables are easy and cheap to build, and modular so you can clamp them together in different configurations. I love them!! I didn't end up putting casters on mine but if you do, pay for the heavy duty ones. Puny ones won't hold up at all, especially if you load the lower shelves with clay and plaster molds like I do.
Since I got my wheel at home, I'm noticing that my right shoulder has an ache.... kinda right inside the joint and sometimes the dull pain goes down to my elbow.
I'm 100% certain it's related to more time on the wheel. I asked my friend, an orthopedist's assistant, about it, she said it was probably tendonitis/bursitis of that shoulder tendon/bursa.... But there's not a lot that can be done, short of surgery, which I'm not anywhere close to needing.... that, and NSAID pain relievers (Advil does help).
Surely, some of you all suffer from the same issues. Does anyone know any exercises that can help reduce stress on that joint? I'd rather not grow reliant on Advil. I don't like to take meds if I don't have to, and would prefer a more proactive route to helping with this.
Take action now, don't wait. I encourage you to 1) get an MRI of your shoulder so you can really find out what is going on, and 2) seek physical therapy/rehab before considering surgery. And definitely get a second opinion before having any kind of surgery. The shoulder is an extremely complex joint so be careful who you let hack on it! At the very least you need to rest your shoulder by laying off the wedging and throwing for a while. Believe me, that is a way better option that getting to where I am now! I am past 50 and have lost half the cartilage in my right shoulder. Cartilage on the joint surface does not grow back. I started having shoulder pain in my early 30s. I used to just ignore the pain and keep on going, and that's why I have all the damage now. Now I am looking at a total shoulder replacement in five years, or sooner--whenever I just can't stand the pain anymore. I can't wedge or throw without extreme discomfort, so hand building is what I do. I love it, but I miss having the full range of creative options. NSAIDs are not a good long-term solution because they are extremely hard on your liver. In hindsight I really wish I had sought the help of a physical therapist early on. I have learned that usually chronic pain like that is caused by a combination of repetitive motion, unrelieved muscle tightness and lack of flexibility. Think about how much time you spend in a position with both arms in front of you, squeezing your chest together, putting pressure upwards into your shoulder joint. There are lots of exercises and stretches you can learn from a physical therapist that will help you combat the problem--BEFORE you lose basic joint integrity like I have.
In some states, like my own of Idaho, it is NOT necessary to see a doctor before you see an OT or PT. But I recommend that you see a shoulder specialist first so you can get the imaging necessary to know what is happening inside your shoulder. Xrays will not show soft tissue damage effectively; an MRI is the best option, but if you're young you'll have to insist on that to get it. (Wish I had insisted!!!) If you're not sure what doctors are good in your area, call around to the PT/OT offices and ask for recommendations. They know who is good and whose patients recover more quickly.