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LogicalHue

Did You Buy Your Slab Roller New?

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Did you buy your slab roller new? Was it super flakey? What was your experience?

 

Mine is covering my canvas (and me) in tiny metal flakes. I'm pretty sure metal flakes are bad to have in my clay even when they're tiny... And they will definitely get in my clay. I just got it, this is my first time using it, it is a North Star.

 

(Googling this issue has yielded exactly no results.)

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My mother taught me to say nothing of I could not say anything nice

Thats how I feel about northstar equipment same with speedball

No flakes with my now old but bought new Bailer slab roller same with the Bents (not a fan of the Brent shim system)

I did hear Northstar is not using plastic gears anymore-not sure if it true?

Where are flakes coming from?? the roller or gears?

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I did hear Northstar is not using plastic gears anymore-not sure if it true?

Where are flakes coming from?? the roller or gears?

the gears are covered in grease so its hard to tell what they are made out of, i can tell you that they are black.

 

the flakes are from the rollers so my entire canvas is coated in metal flakes. as though when the diamond pattern was cut they just left all the metal-bits dust on it.

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Call them and ask about it. Who knows-they may offer a replacement. I bought the Bailey table top. I love it. And they absolutely stand by their products. I don't use the canvas though-I use either Slab Mat or 2 pieces of a used printers blanket. (Got that tip from here. Free from a local offset shop-like a big mat with smooth rubber on one side-just cut to size w/utility knife.)

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i bought my bailey new way back in about 1991-2.  it is 24 inches wide drive board style and it was one of the last ones available in that size.  the bigger ones are what you can buy today.  it was a full 8 feet originally and when the wall was built a number of years ago, it was just a little too long so it was shortened to about 7 feet.   and ruined by the carpenter who would not do what i asked, just cut it.   he took it apart and stuck screws back wherever he liked so the drive board was angled to the point where it shredded part of the board itself before i fixed it.

 

i also have a northstar because it was available for a few hundred dollars and had been used only to make some tiles for the kitchen of the owner who bought it new for that purpose.  took that one to florida and hated the tiny tabletop.  last year i found the perfect board to extend that table and make it much more useful.

 

i prefer the bailey absolutely.  i really need to take it to jim bailey and get the gears fixed.  but, even with that problem, the bailey is better.

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to fix yours, i would recommend you get a wire brush and open the slabroller as wide as you can and thoroughly brush the knurled roller/s until nothing else comes off.  then vacuum as well as possible, take the canvas and if you are really going to use those silly little pieces, shake them against a brick wall to remove the flakes.

 

you would be better off using printers blankets like Lee does or at least use a long piece of duck (called canvas) folded over with the clay inside.  the fold goes into the rollers.  you can buy this fabric from bailey in 8 foot lengths which gives you a 4 foot piece to work with.

 

if you have the room, extend the table so you can use it to work on.  you can also add shelves and other things to the table to make it useful in many ways.

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to fix yours, i would recommend you get a wire brush and open the slabroller as wide as you can and thoroughly brush the knurled roller/s until nothing else comes off.  then vacuum as well as possible, take the canvas and if you are really going to use those silly little pieces, shake them against a brick wall to remove the flakes.

 

 

 

Mine didn't flake till I did the above. I'd call them, it shouldn't do that. Sounds like a bad plating job. We have two; one bought new the other used. (30 an 24 supers).

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I have a tabletop Northstar.  I absolutely love it, but......I have never used anything else, Well, I guess I did use an old Bailey that wasn't in that great of condition......but yeah, I use that Northstar all the time.  No metal flakes.  And yes I bought it new.  It arrived with a broken shelf and Northstar was so nice to replace it.  Perhaps just give them a call.

 

Because of Old Lady I have crossed over to the "printer blanket" side of life.  I love them!  I use the canvas only for a few things that I want that canvas texture.  Yep call your local newspaper and you can get them for free and cut them to the size you need.  I also use the printer blankets for wedging. 

 

Roberta

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take the canvas and if you are really going to use those silly little pieces, shake them against a brick wall to remove the flakes

 

I was surprised by the pieces of canvas they sent. I've always used one large piece of canvas folded over before, but I like having extra pieces of canvas around so I'm still glad to have gotten them. Luckily, for my first slabs, I used a scrap piece of canvas I had lying that I don't mind throwing away rather than trying to clean off the flakes.

 

I am interested in these printer blankets everyone's talking about and will look into this further!

 

 

SITUATION UPDATE:

I have given in and called the manufacturer and certainly the rollers are not supposed to be like this. It sounds as though a batch got through without being cleaned after they put the markings in (as I suspected). They gave me instructions on how to clean them using a green 3M scrubby pad and vacuum. I was told that I could ship them back so that they could clean them for me but I would have to pay to ship them. I might have fought that if I thought that shipping them back would actually be easier than cleaning them myself, which I really don't. They are sending me some extra canvas as a bit of a consolation.

 

I will report back on the cleaning process after I've dealt with it, which might not be until this weekend.

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SITUATION UPDATE:

 I was told that I could ship them back so that they could clean them for me but I would have to pay to ship them. I might have fought that if I thought that shipping them back would actually be easier than cleaning them myself, which I really don't. They are sending me some extra canvas as a bit of a consolation.

 

 

 

 

I'd do it out of shear principle after being told that.  That's complete and total BS!  :angry:

 

Pay for shipping to have the manufacturing process completed correctly, seriously?... :blink::wacko::rolleyes:

 

 

I understand where you're coming from completely but if I were told that;  I wouldn't stop till I breach loaded someone with it....but that's just me... ;)

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...so, the metal finish, that is, pint or powder coat is flaking off?

actually no. its not a coating. its the metal that the roller is made out of. they start with smooth metal rollers, then create the diamond pattern which creates a lot of metal dust - that's supposed to happen - but they're also supposed to clean it off before shipping it out to someone, obviously.

 

 

so i got some 3m pads and tried cleaning it myself and just got really frustrated. it seemed really endless, the metal flakes just fly everywhere - like somewhere else on the roller or onto the other roller for instance - and even though i got it to be less sparkly its just hard to imagine it ever really being clean. glitter is not an easy thing to clean off of a highly textured surface, which i'm sure everyone reading this is thinking "no duh".

 

anyway i purchased the slab roller through sheffield pottery and decided it was time to give them a call. it was a very brief phone call, the woman i spoke with said north star should really be sending me a clean one. of course north star isn't open today so she's going to leave them several messages and get back to me. we shall see what happens, i'm still not looking forward to putting this thing in my car and shipping it even not paying for it.

 

 

if any of you printer blanket users are still reading. doesn't the clay stick to the surface of the smooth rubber? that's what they are right? i'm a little confused. and since i don't want to use the stupid individual canvas pieces i need to figure out what i will be doing instead.

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"actually no. its not a coating. its the metal that the roller is made out of. they start with smooth metal rollers, then create the diamond pattern which creates a lot of metal dust - that's supposed to happen - but they're also supposed to clean it off before shipping it out to someone, obviously."

 

That actually sounds more like a galvanization process that was botched. It may never stop flaking.

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That actually sounds more like a galvanization process that was botched. It may never stop flaking.

 

I agree; it does appear to be galvanized. It certainly isn't stainless in any grade by appearance, performance and manufacturing technique. I can't see anyone knurling even 304; not at that price at least.

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so sorry to hear your sad story.  hope everything works out well.

 

as far as printer's blankets go, they are a very good thing to use for a slab roller.  the rubber layer is under a very fine broadcloth looking fabric.  think very finely woven tuxedo shirt fabric.  the advantages are obvious with the first use.  clay goes on the fabric side.  rolling it through inside 2 printers blankets gives a very smooth slab because of the fabric.  removing the very fine pattern with a wallpaper smoother leaves a perfectly clean work area on the clay.  i usually roll out slabs about 22x24 so i can make lots of items at once. 

 

when the day is over, wiping the cloth side with a wet sponge removes all the dust that would have worked its way down into the duck cloth people call canvas.  it dries very fast so the surface is clean again.

 

the rubber side goes outside.  after rolling a slab, i peel off the top blanket slowly, lifting the end that went through the rollers last just to make it easier.  this leaves the slab visible but still stuck to the bottom blanket.  i put the top blanket back and flip the entire thing, clay and both blankets, to expose the bottom blanket so it can be peeled off the slab, too.  (never peel the clay off the blanket, it will tear.)   now you have the very firm blanket that had been on top supporting the slab.  you are able to move it to a work area of your choice without it losing that support the heavy rubber gives. 

 

extra blankets make great work surfaces for hand building.  sometimes when interrupted, i put the cut pieces i am working with inside the 2 blankets with the rubber side facing the clay.  have left this overnight on occasion and the clay is in great shape when i start working with it the next day.  

 

hope you can find some.

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About the printer's mat--clay does not stick to it unless rolled truly wafer thin. If I am going that thin I use a cotton ball and spread a fine sifting of cornstarch on it, which prevents it from adhering to the rubber. If there is any slight residue after rolling the slab and removing it, I just wipe the mats off with a damp sponge. The backing is some kind of tough canvas-like material, so I think you could actually wash the things if you had to. 

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...so, the metal finish, that is, pint or powder coat is flaking off?

actually no. its not a coating. its the metal that the roller is made out of.

 

i wrote this after speaking to the manufacturer. several people have since suggested / insisted that it is a coating flaking off. so….please stop saying that?  :huh:

 

 

moving on.

i first called sheffield on a friday. north star is not open on fridays and the woman at sheffield did not have the gumption to call them again on any day that i didn’t call her first. i tried again - two weeks later - but it was a friday again so that didn’t work. when i called her on a monday i heard back from north star the next day. they are building me a new slab roller, and shipping it for free. not only are they sending a label for me to ship back the faulty one for free but ups will pick it up at my studio.

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