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Jamie.Clark

Favorite Tools

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I know I've mentioned my obsession with my workbench before but, seriously, I can wedge clay right on it's thick masonite surface and clean it up with water and never have to use a cloth unless I want to. Also it's just the right size to fit in my one room house, meaning not too wide but just wide enough to wedge clay and keep a row of tools in jars at the back, and long, and has storage underneath, for about $80 bucks:

 

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Signature-Development-72-in-Fold-Out-Wood-Workbench-WKBNCH72X22/203083493

 

The only drawback is it's a little wobbly when wedging clay, but a few blocks stored on the shelf underneath fixes that, as would firmly attaching the legs to the shelf instead of leaving them loose as they are meant to fold up.

 

Other than that, I use both standard wooden tools for shaping clay and a few metal ones. I punch holes in my jewelry pieces a lot, and to do that I've collected drinking straws of various sizes and things to pop the clay out of them after making the hole, mainly bamboo skewers, toothpicks and thin round wood dowels.

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I have made a series of bamboo ribs using the handles and the end pieces(spatula, spoon, etc.) cut up and reshaped as wooden ribs. The spoon bowl is a great rib for throwing bowls and for expanding cylinders on pitchers and large jars.

The spatula blade works well as a straight rib, and the way I have carved and sanded the end gives me a nice foot bead at the bottom of a pot. The handles work very well as knife ribs for cutting into the bottom of pots to trim excess, and do other jobs that are often done with knife shaped ribs.

 

best,

Pres

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Sorry, I missed your question. Yea Pres has it covered. It is a really amazing tool. Use it as a cylinder shaper with the long side, a plate flatner with a nice edge for the rim, a bowl maker/smoother, a cup smoother inside at the bottom. i could go forever. its my most used tool nowadays. I have two of them in different sizes. 

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Interesting tool that cow's tongue.

 

I just googled this and mostly came up with recipes but I finally did find more info about this tool, Thanks

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Mine isn't so much a tool as a texture. I have sheets of raw beeswax that I use to imprint honeycomb texture onto my pieces (which I love the look of). I have used "honeycomb pattern" stencils, stamps, etc... and they just don't feel the same as the real thing! The store bought honeycomb patterns seem too geometric. Real honeycomb gives the piece such an organic feel.

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Just attended my first NCECA and yet somehow I managed to be restrained, probably thanks to paradox of choice.

 

Haven't had a chance to use my new hole punchers--at the push of a button they eject their little plugs of clay!--but have already figured out that the Xiem fettling/smoothing tool I picked up is my new favorite.

 

Usually use an X-acto for cutting, but the curve of the fettling knife and the feel of it means more naturalistic curves, and the smoothing tool is amazing for sgraffito. Now I'm wondering if I shouldn't have gotten a few more...

Does anyone run into a problem where they buy a tool and then just never use it? That's likely why I like to exhaust my choices/get frustrated with inadequate tools before picking up yet another bit of kit.

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My favorite tools to use on ceramics are chopsticks and used gift cards...because they're free and are easily customized into different things.

 

chopstick can be used as a stylus, shaped into chisels and carving tools, used as handles for brushes and other tools, it's one of my favorite tools to stir up a container of glaze while I've got it open.

gift cards are great for rib tools - they are flexible yet rigid, they won't rust or cut your hand like a metal rib, you can cut them with scissors to make custom shapes.  

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