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Building A Work Table


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Melamine would work for a hot minute, a laminate counter top would be better, a laminate glued to a cabinet grade plywood would be best.

 

I started with a canvas top and tossed it after I found you needed a different canvas for different colors of clay. Canvas works great for rolling clay or with a slab roller.

 

My current set up is like JBaymore and it works well.

 

In the spring I'll be making a new baby butt smooth thin cast reinforced with rebar high PSI concrete counter top for my existing 4x4 and 2x4 frame.

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When I was teaching pottery at a community college the dept teacher wanted to change the canvas on the existing tables. Mind you when they re-canavassed the time years before, they put new canvas over old worn out canvas...so they pulled off the newer canvas black mold had grown between the two layers! Solid black mold! Not sure if there is a good black mold and bad mold...we assumed it was bad!

 

Speaking of tables and dust in the studio, does CAD recommend an air purification unit? I looked at different modules on Amazon and the price ranges from $30.00 to $500.00! Any thoughts?

 

Alabama

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  • 3 years later...

Wow, this thread is great. I would definitely have gone with canvas before reading but now I am looking at some other options and will likely be building a table once I figure out what I want out of it.

I have some leftover duron boards from a project. How does that seem as a starting surface? I need to lay something on top of my current studio table because the current surface is not suitable. Should I paint it or add oil, as I've seen in some other comments?

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Had to look up what Duron was. If it’s the Masonite I’m familiar with, I’d be worried about it degrading with constant wetting and drying. I switched from canvas to a smooth patio block and haven’t looked back.
 

I do however have some 3/4” MDO bats that I made 20 years ago that are still going strong with no sign of warping. They have never been treated in any way. If I were to make a wooden worktop, I’d be inclined to use that. 

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having just read this whole thread from the beginning, i found that everyone mentioned "dust"  without saying that the dust is silica which gets into lung tissue and kills people at some stage.

canvas is just bad, BAD stuff in any studio.  

duron is great for bats.   i have used them since building some in the 1970s.  the best part is that the pots thrown on duron bats will pop off the bat on their own.   ASSUMING they were not thrown with a gallon of water per ounce which i see on youtube often.   less water will allow for much easier finishing, a cleaner studio and shorter working time to finish.

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  • 5 months later...

Hi Shan!

As you no doubt found in your google search, tyvek is DuPont's brand name for a synthetic (polyethylene fiber) materiel - rather like paper, or cloth, that is used for many things, particularly "house wrap" (vapour barrier). House wrap materiel is typically available at building supply stores; try online retail giant (am a zon) for precut rectangles - 3x7', 9x7', etc. - marketed as ground covers for camping.

Counter tops in my studio/workshop/bike shop are repurposed doors; they take wet/wipedown well.

Edited by Hulk
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Hey @Hulk  thank you!  I wasn’t sure if it was just one format or came in different formats.   I spoke to my pottery teacher today. She said she didn’t like tyvek because if you accidentally cut into it, it can be toxic. She said she likes to use canvass that you clamp on Ie clean everytime you use it not a permanent fixture. I think I will still try the linseed oil idea first and go from there.  I don’t think I would accidentally cut into it, so still making up my mind!  
I found a pottery workbench plan online that I need to adjust dimensions for my space!  Happy to receive any recommendations for a workbench  my space is:

in the garage in a humid climate, 7’x10’ which can be expanded eventually to include small townhouse backyard maybe another 7’x7’  I plan to go slow with this new hobby and only invest in a solid workbench that I will make and use the three bucket system  to clean etc.  Honestly I am good with that as I want to learn to reclaim clay    And focus on hand building. I will glaze and fire at local pottery studio until i am potting for at least six months...

Any recommendations on must have tools for hand building also appreciated. Banding wheel will probably be my biggest investment after the workbench. 
also favorite YouTube channels?  
thank you!

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45 minutes ago, Shananigans and Friends said:

I spoke to my pottery teacher today. She said she didn’t like tyvek because if you accidentally cut into it, it can be toxic.

Perhaps she could supply where she is getting this information.

From Duponts Safety Data Sheet for Tyvek, Section 2. Hazards Identification:

"This product has no known adverse effect on human health. Additives in this product do not present a respiration hazard unless the product is ground to a powder of respirable size and the dust is inhaled. All dusts are potentially injurious to the respiratory tract if respirable particles are generated and inhaled. Dust may form explosive mixture in air. Potential Health Effects Carcinogenicity None of the components present in this material at concentrations equal to or greater than 0.1% are listed by IARC, NTP, or OSHA, as a carcinogen."

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I have a cement wedging table that is covered with canvas. However, the last several years I have covered the table with plywood that fits tightly over top. As I am working now with a white stoneware, I don't want the contamination from the hazelnut that I work with at times. Plywood works really well, once you adjust your wedging technique to the less grippy surface. I still prefer a wedging table  closer to hip height.  Plywood is also a very clean and stable work surface, and I often write down notes of sizes/weights for pots on the underside.

best,

Pres

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Great topic,  I am glad that someone brought up the Tyvek  chemical hazard,  I have a roll of it in my basement.   I have three work tables in my studio  one has formica as does my slab roller.  One them has masonite on it but I found a piece of formica for it  when I cleaned the basement.   The last one is still covered with canvas,  we are building a new garage that has a flat roof system,  we took a piece of the leftover material to cover the table with.   It looks like and feels like linoleum,  now I am worried about chemical hazards from it.  Time to do some research,  I am refreshing my studio some time this summer it has been 12 years since we built it.   I need to stop driving around in my Thunderbird convertible I got for mothers day and get to work.   Denice

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die cutter fanatics everywhere are using tyvek for stencils.  Yep, we are cutting it with the Cricut/Silhouette etc.  And then repeatedly using it.  I was unaware of hazards of tyvek.  

I stripped the canvas off my work table years ago and thanks to some great advice, I use printers blankets (thanks @oldlady)  I use those to wedge and lay things out on.  I have one for white clay and one for brown clay.  But my worktable in the studio is formica,  an old sturdy folding table on risers.   Out in the glaze area I have masonite.  But it does stain. 

Roberta

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Thanks Min for the help,  I did a quick search but hadn't got deep enough into it to see if polyethylene was hazardous.  I am heading out to my studio to work on a mural that I am finishing,  it will be ready to put up in a week.    I have another mural I need to start on but need to reorganize my studio first.    I am also going to try wedging on a patio paver,   I can find a good spot for it when I organize.  Denice

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Personally, I like canvas over plaster, but I doubt if anyone here has my advantage of working outside year round.  My studio is mostly open and under a covered patio.  The dirt road I live on puts more dust on our cars than builds up in my not very well maintained studio.  I believe air flow is better than filtration if you can do it. 

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i think the dupont safety data sheet went a little overboard.   maybe it should have stopped after saying "additives do not present a respiration hazard.   

full stop.   said it all.  

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I'm a fan of using good quality backer board on the top of my wedging table.  It is very inexpensive, and works well to dry out over-wet clay.  I keep a spray bottle of water on the table to pre-moisten an area of the board prior to wedging to prevent my clay from drying out too much while I'm wedging it.  It cleans up nicely with a damp sponge.

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I poured my wedging table in 1972 out of plaster -if I recall it was casting plaster (a bit harder than #1 pottery plaster) its about 5-6 inches thick and weighs a ton. Now nearly 50 years later

its still good as new-and I can slam a 25# pug on it with no cracks. Its open on all sides with a solid wood base. I store 500# of clay beneath it-I have two  of these made into one unit with 4x4 legs ,one for white clay and one for brown clay-they have held up to the test of time.  I had to move them in 73 when I bought this place .I would not move them again-to heavy.Back then that casting plaster was darn near free price wise.Overrall width is about 6 feet and about 28 inchs deep for the unit-a slot of 3 inches separates the two plaster sections.

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waiting for a phone call so i read this whole thing again.  when it started in 2016,  the OP just said "work table" that would be used for wedging sometimes.   wonder what she went with in the end?    if i wedged, i would use Callie's concrete patio paver.   i gave away the fabulous, thick,  piece of slate billiard table to a school.

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7 hours ago, Mark C. said:

I poured my wedging table in 1972 out of plaster -if I recall it was casting plaster (a bit harder than #1 pottery plaster) its about 5-6 inches thick and weighs a ton. Now nearly 50 years later

its still good as new-and I can slam a 25# pug on it with no cracks. Its open on all sides with a solid wood base. I store 500# of clay beneath it-I have two  of these made into one unit with 4x4 legs ,one for white clay and one for brown clay-they have held up to the test of time.  I had to move them in 73 when I bought this place .I would not move them again-to heavy.Back then that casting plaster was darn near free price wise.Overrall width is about 6 feet and about 28 inchs deep for the unit-a slot of 3 inches separates the two plaster sections.

Casting plaster is weaker now days, at work we switched from casting plaster to pottery plaster #1.  Much better quality and strength, and quicker setting time too!  

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