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Wedging Tables

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I am in the process of making some new wedging tables for my class. I have simply removed the original legs and added a 4x4s to get the taller height I am wanting. My specific questions comes when talking about the plaster. I really don't have the funds to frame out and pour plaster on top of the existing table tops. I have already covered the tables with canvas. I am wondering everyone's thoughts about this. Do you think mold may grow under the canvas? Would it be alright if I replace each year or do I need to figure out a way to get a plaster top? While I am on the subject what exactly is the benefit of having a wedging table with a plaster top to wedge on. I thought it helped dry out the clay. If there is a previous post on this just send me the link. Thanks in advance.

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We covered this topic a while back. There are many surfaces that people use. Only about 50% wedge on plaster.

I wedge on canvas covered plywood screwed to a table top. It's been 26 years plus with the same piece of canvas. I have a one inch square hole wore in it. I just work around it. Might change the canvas when I turn 90.

Other surfaces;

Slate, marble, plywood without canvas.

TJR.

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Hardi cement backer board is my surface. I put down 1/2 inch plywood on the table for strength, then put Hardi backer board on top of this. I too sponge down the surface, lightly, before wedging.

 

TJR, I tried using marble. The clay stuck like nobody's business.

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Old Formica counter top I took out of the kitchen when I remodeled and replaced them with granite counter tops.  Probably 10 years old not...not as old as TJR's...but does the job without much fuss...... Neil

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Hardi cement backer board is my surface. I put down 1/2 inch plywood on the table for strength, then put Hardi backer board on top of this. I too sponge down the surface, lightly, before wedging.

 

TJR, I tried using marble. The clay stuck like nobody's business.

Good to know. Slate worked great for me, as it is semi porous.

T

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I use canvas as well. I will say that I got mould once, as my studio at the time was in a garage that had a leaky roof (leaked onto my wedging table). This was a case of standing water left for weeks on end, as no one throws in an unheated garage in a Calgary winter. The table top was unsealed particle board underneath the canvas. So mould is possible, but that specific set of circumstances was the only time I've encountered it.

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I second the hardiboard. I dont have a table as I am a garage potter. I just pull out a piece and brace it somewhere and then kneel to do my wedging. Then you can put the board back against the wall to free up space. I'd say just grab a piece (they are huge 4'x8') score and break to the size needed and nail it to the top of the tables and replace when it needs it. $12 at home depot.

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After reading everyone's post. I think the tables will be fine. The table tops are the traditional classroom tables with the laminate top. I put the canvas on top, so it should be good. Can someone tell me why sometimes ceramic artist do use plaster? I am just curious at this point. Is it to help dry the clay or does it help keep moister in or is it for another reason. After reading everything here today I don't plan on adding the plaster anymore, but I would still like to know. Thanks for all the help. 

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different backgrounds?  different way of learning?  

 

i will not use canvas.  i have seen the clouds of dust that are raised by thumping a ball of clay down on what appears to be clean canvas.  have seen clouds of dust on paper bags of ingredients stored haphazardly and opened repeatedly to make a glaze.  in a classroom of 20 people.  

 

i am asthmatic and it is hard enough to avoid things that cause problems but i will not use canvas.  

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You will find more information on wedging and wedging surface by searching the forum.  Just make sure to are on the main page when you do the search.  If you search from one of the discussion threads, it will only search that thread.

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Personally, I like plaster slab topped tables for wedging mainly because I like to keep my clay fairly wet (for plasticity advantages, and ease of it never being too dry), and wedge it into a stiffer state for throwing. I also use the tables to dry out & recycle slop, and I've even experimented making slabs using liquid clay left to dry on the plaster. They're super easy to wipe down and can be saturated if you don't need much moisture wicking from them. 

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I like working on plaster for some things and canvas for others.  I've done two things that might be of interest.  1, I made a 2" thick frame on which I stretched canvas, flipped it over and filled with plaster so I have a reversible surface with plaster under the canvas if I use the canvas side.  It's a bit heavy.

 

The other thing I'm doing on a couple of tables is to put down a layer of what used to be called green-rock but is now purple rock which is simply mold-resistant sheetrock for use in kitchens, bathrooms etc.  Then a little spray adhesive and stretched canvas over that, stapled onto the underside of the table edge.  This is new and experimental for me but seems very promising, cost-effective and easy. Canvas directly on a table gets wet easily if you're wedging a lot on it and the canvas stretches if you throw slabs as I do, so both of these solutions seem to be working, for me; so far so good...

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Personally, I like plaster slab topped tables for wedging mainly because I like to keep my clay fairly wet (for plasticity advantages, and ease of it never being too dry), and wedge it into a stiffer state for throwing. I also use the tables to dry out & recycle slop, and I've even experimented making slabs using liquid clay left to dry on the plaster. They're super easy to wipe down and can be saturated if you don't need much moisture wicking from them. 

df, One thing I'd suggest if you're making slabs from wet clay is to flip them as early as you can to let the plaster work on both sides.  I've done some tests just recently with pouring casting slip on plaster to make thin slabs and one thing I found is they can be very prone to warping in the firing, because you get different compaction of the clay platelets on one side than the other.  Drawing water out of liquidy clay with plaster tends to line up all the clay particles on one side while they're all random on the other, leading to different amounts of shrinkage, different clay densities etc. that can cause the warping.

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I ripped off my canvas as I have been working with porcelain and my canvas was covered in dark red clay. I have been just wedging on plywood. I plan to get some hardibacker board soon, but for now. plywood... If you search "Wedging Table" with the quotes you will find tons of threads about this. It is a highly discussed topic.

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