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brownbear

Advice For Centering Clay - Slipping

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Hi everyone,

I've been throwing for a little while now and bought a wheel to keep practicing. I'm working towards a raku fire next month so have been working with a fine grogged raku clay. I can't seem to centre more than 550g of clay on my wheel without it slipping from the center of the wheel. I'm using particle board bats. Not sure if i'm using too much/not enough water, wheel is too slow. Any help to prevent slipping when centering would be great.

Thanks

 

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Damp wheel head, no water on clay. At 1.25 lb (550 g) I would thing that this is a technique problem, not the wheel or clay or even the bat. I would also suggest you are working too small, maybe go up to 1350 g. This larger amount is usually a beginners amount. As crazy as it may seem, working with the smaller amount is more difficult for a beginner. When you say a little while at the throwing, how long?

 

 

best,

Pres

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​Are you cutting off and reusing the bats or grabbing a fresh/dry one?

​

​​Particle board bats will absorb moisture and have given me the same grief.

Hi C.Banks, I'd been grabbing fresh ones. I'd only recently made them so they were super fresh, perhaps after a bit of use they will rough up a bit. I did think dry bats would be better too. Thanks for the help :)

 

 

Damp wheel head, no water on clay. At 1.25 lb (550 g) I would thing that this is a technique problem, not the wheel or clay or even the bat. I would also suggest you are working too small, maybe go up to 1350 g. This larger amount is usually a beginners amount. As crazy as it may seem, working with the smaller amount is more difficult for a beginner. When you say a little while at the throwing, how long?

 

 

best,

Pres

 

Hi Pres, I threw for about 5 months last year, had a gap due to travelling and started up again in March. I'll give a larger amount a go, i'm slowly building up to larger amounts, I managed 900g the other day with the grogged clay, but the 2nd and 3rd attempts following this 900g were not happening. I think I do use too much water and maybe over work the clay due to finding my "technique" with centering. Thanks for your help, Stay tuned!

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Absorbent bats (mine are all plywood)  need to be damp (just damp, not wet),  If I'm going straight on the wheelhead I like it dry. Smack the clay down harder, also when your clay is wedged and ready to go on the wheel,  round off the bottom a little by rolling it around until it's like one of those toddlers toys that wont fall over, this will prevent any air pockets underneath and ensure good contact if you smack it down hard enough.

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Most of the time I use non absorbent bats that I have recycled from a previous life or rescued from the trash. When I was in the remodeling business I had access to formica or corian sink cutouts. They were usually big enough for 2 round 14" bats. The formica bats had a particleboard core and I sealed the bottom and edges with 3 coats of Diamond Varathane or a polyurethane spar varnish. If you don't seal them, over time they will swell and become useless. The corian bats were waterproof to start with, so there was no deterioration with exposure to moisture. In either case you have to use them dry or your clay will definitely slip with too much pressure.

JohnnyK

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Thought I'd give an update. I tried throwing the grogged clay on a standard metal wheel head on a more powerful machine at my pottery class and did experience it coming off while centering a couple of times, so now I know its definitely me. I threw a larger amount as suggested by Pres and now I have thrown a few pieces 1.3kg+. I'm slowly working up to bigger weights and trying to build up some big muscles!

 

I found actually switching around my normal hand formation for centering the grogged clay helped, to there was less drag on the clay. I tried to throw dry but it wasn't working, I used a tiny bit of water which was much better. Very hard to throw dry having been taught to use plenty of water on non grogged clays, but certainly an eye opener to how much mess I was making when using a tonne of water. 

 

I'm going to continue to persevere with the grogged clay tomorrow, thanks for your help!

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