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QotW:  What matters the most to you when throwing?

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Hi folks, we had a question a while back on the QotW pool that I thought I would stretch a little for better response. liambesaw asked if wheel direction is something that is important to you? I am going to stretch this a bit to ask. . . Is it wheel direction, wheel speed, variation of speed, smoothness on the wheel or another factor that is most important to you.

All of you probably remember that I was a teacher. When teaching we often had to deal with righty's and  lefty's. Interestingly enough, Handedness would be used as an excuse to not try at a task, and in most cases I could overcome that by demonstrating any technique by using the other hand. This when drawing, painting or other flat work was easy, with the wheel a little harder. However, I came to be able to center both directions open, and throw. Not as well, but reasonably.

For me wheel direction is important, as its the ability to have varied speeds. Our only wheel in the department was an old Amaco 2 speed wheel. Neither speed was very robust, and throwing on it was limited in size. . . I usually torque stopped it when throwing more than 12#. Later the motorized kick wheels worked well, and trained one to move slower as the form rose. . . a natural attribute of any kick wheel. Moving on to the direct drive belt driven wheels was at times and embarrassment, but they were fabulous for larger pots, or faster production. My only complaint was when a belt would be worn in an area, or pick up some sort of crud  where the wheel would have a Whomp Whomp every time you went over that area. This usually ended up with strained nerves, and pots with some sort of twist line.

What are important wheel qualities to you when throwing, and what type of wheel do you throw on?

best,

Pres

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For me it's probably torque and speed control.  I use a vintage shimpo rk-2, the ring-cone drive is very torquey, the one gripe I have is that I can't take my foot off and maintain speed.  If I take my foot off it either goes to full speed or to zero.  Another thing I like, but isn't quite as important is that in neutral it spins freely like a banding wheel.  Makes on-wheel alterations very easy.

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Speed control is definitely a thing. I have a Brent C which was the largest capacity wheel from that company that didn't need to be rewired to cross the border at the time. I had a friend in college who got the CXC, and it never did work quite as it should after being brought up to code. The C is strong enough and variable enough for my purposes: 75 lbs is still a pretty big pot if I wanted to really max it out. I tried out a number of wheels while I could at school, and I found that kick and treadle wheels were hard on the body:  you're not supposed to have back problems at 22. The pedals on the shimpos at the time weren't nearly as sensitive.

I'm sure there are better things on the market now, but I bought this sucker 15 years ago and I have no reason to replace it. 

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I have a early 2000's pacifica gt 800; variable speeds and torque are my two big criteria; followed by smoothness at low speeds/change from speed-speed, lastly by quietness. I have a reversible option on my wheel, but very, very very rarely use it; Im right hand dominant so I guess that's not a big one for me.

The vast majority of pots that have been thrown on this wheel are under 5# which it handles relatively well; my belts are getting worn, so if I hog down on 3# I can feel them slipping, but with new belts it handled centering 30#+ with no real issues. I dont know if its the number of miles on my wheel or what, but at low speeds I am starting to notice a little choppiness in my wheel speed when changing from one RPM to another. Could just need a tune up.

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9 minutes ago, hitchmss said:

I have a early 2000's pacifica gt 800; variable speeds and torque are my two big criteria; followed by smoothness at low speeds/change from speed-speed, lastly by quietness. I have a reversible option on my wheel, but very, very very rarely use it; Im right hand dominant so I guess that's not a big one for me.

The vast majority of pots that have been thrown on this wheel are under 5# which it handles relatively well; my belts are getting worn, so if I hog down on 3# I can feel them slipping, but with new belts it handled centering 30#+ with no real issues. I dont know if its the number of miles on my wheel or what, but at low speeds I am starting to notice a little choppiness in my wheel speed when changing from one RPM to another. Could just need a tune up.

Is that a DC motor one?  I use a small DC handpiece at work and it gets choppy at low speeds when it needs new brushes.  Very cheap fix if that's what it is

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@liambesaw Not sure what you mean by DC motor? Runs off of alternating 110 current.

I know I also need to flip the wheel over and lubricate the main bearings; Ive got a nice "....squeek....squeek....squeek..." at low speeds. Sounds like a small bird in my wheel....highly annoying.

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23 minutes ago, hitchmss said:

@liambesaw Not sure what you mean by DC motor? Runs off of alternating 110 current.

I know I also need to flip the wheel over and lubricate the main bearings; Ive got a nice "....squeek....squeek....squeek..." at low speeds. Sounds like a small bird in my wheel....highly annoying.

Yeah I just looked, permenant magnet DC motors.  Don't know if they're brushed or brushless, the literature doesn't say.

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What matters most to me when throwing is not giving up. The internal dialogue goes something like this:

"I should be able to throw just as well and just as much as I did years ago."

"Oh really? Who sez?"

"OK, let's just see (again)."

"OK, I observe and concede-it just ain't happening."

"OK, practice, practice, practice."

"OK, I am bored, bored, bored."

"OK, I admit that the wrist, back, neck, right knee,  and left hip are not happy campers."

OK, no one can make me and I don't wanna. "

"OK, we'll just call BS on that one."

"OK, I accept reality."

" I'll give it a rest for a few days. "

"Time's up; try, try, and try again. "

"Good girl!" 

It's not about the wheel, which is smooth as silk, reversible (which is useful & I enjoy for some pieces), and the speed is highly variable, readily responsive throughout the process. I'll never use enough weight to worry about torque & my current model Brent would more than handle it if I wanted to pull a whopper some day.  What I'm not up for,  having done my homework, a bit of experimenting w/chiropractor's help, and thinking a lot about what I want out of the time/money I have for this activity, is a brace for standing. I'm OK with a reduced engagement with throwing, and thankful for those bowls that make the cut. What matters most is, as noted, not giving up. 

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What Lee U said,  I am going out to  my shop to practice again and again.  I found a clay I like throwing three months ago, that has been a big help.  I threw a large set of dishes right before my MS messed up the motor control on my right arm.  I don't plan to do that again,  I just want to be able to thrown for fun or make something I need.  I am lucky that handbuilding was always my first love and that I never gave up working with clay.     Denice

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love my pacifica.   got it in 1972, went through some problems caused by lightning and had to replace the foot pedal.    have replaced the belts once, never realized how the wheel worked until then.  

the biggest things i have made were maybe 10-12 pounds.  no problems.

i have a clay boss down here.  there was a man who was selling a kiln on craigslist.  i knew him and when he arrived at my home with a wheel instead of a kiln, i bought it since i did not have one here.   someone else got the kiln and he felt bad about it so sold me the wheel instead.   it is fine for what i do, mostly bowls of various sizes, lots of empty ones.  

reliability is the most important, silence is a very close second.

 

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I think good music matters most when throwing .I know that is a little out of the box but for me its true.A nice large light  gathering window in front of me keeps me chipper as well

The other smaller things are speed control  and a good throwing seat.

The speed control needs to work well.

(The pedals on the shimpos at the time weren't nearly as sensitive.) I think Callie thats an understatement as all those old Shimpo's have teriable speed control .The foot pedal on the ring drives seem really outdated-even back in the day.Sure thay are cute but thats about it.

All 5 of my wheels spin only one way-never thrown the other way. No reason to.

 

Edited by Mark C.

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I haven't given counter clockwise much of a chance  (flipped that switch right away) - only when demo-ing for a counter-clocker; hence, clockwise is important. Also important, true (not wobbly, or not a lot wobbly...) wheel head and (agreein' w'Mark and several others here) smooth gas pedal. 

I like my Skutt, however, also liked the Brents and Baileys I've had a chance to drive.

Other important stuff include well prepared clay that be behavin', not cold and/or smelly water, clean-ish work area, an' that I'm actually ready to rock.

That last bit seems to make rather a big difference - comfortable, relaxed, not cold, hungry, tired, distracted, impatient. Also agreein' with Mark that almost always music or a radio show me like.

I just added more light. There is a large window behind, garage door windows on the left, and shop lights above and to the right, however, depending on the time of day, I'm flipping on lamps that shine from behind (over shoulders), right and left; doesn't take much eyestrain to drain mah poor lil' brain.

Add the few tools that I like and use, ready to go - each in they place an' not encrusted w' filth.

...oh yeah, decent bats, an' tool to lever'm off with.

Edited by Hulk
oh yeah

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It's funny, this thread inspired me to contact shimpo about my drifting pedal, looks like it's a simple fix wahoo!  I'm skeptical of course, the thing is 50 years old, but hey it's worth a shot!  I got a copy of the rk-2 price and stock list and they have quite a few important parts completely discontinued now so looks like when this thing dies I'll be in the market for a fancy dc motor one.

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Constant speed, constant torque, constant horsepower.  I learned on a hand control wheel and to this day try and set the speed with my foot then away my foot goes only to return shortly after the speed changes after I load the wheel. When I back off, here goes the speed just a touch, Annoying!

Most of the wheels these days manage speed pretty well until they are loaded requiring more horsepower but when they do and are unloaded their speed ramps up a little. I think I am hyper sensitive to this.

We have 20 wheels mostly whispers and I do like them but they are certainly not the best ever.

You know I would marvel at my father as he matter of fact would tell me about smudge pots under the vehicle and boiling water to fill the radiator all while we were jumping on his tires as we changed them to snow tires in our basement.

My conclusion, I just need to improve my throwing and maybe take some drum lessons to cure the dead foot issue. Every time I watch old potters on a kick wheel I think what kind of whimp am I?

Edited by Bill Kielb

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I spent some time on an old estrin one winter and came away with a new feeling for the rhythm of a well made pot. The fly-wheel taught me the importance of wheel speed management and helped me find a rhythm of my own.

I still have access to that estrin and use it from time to time. It's a treat.

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My wheel is a Bailey that I got about 20 years ago. It is my 4th studio wheel since 1971. It is slower than Brents. I like that. Most important to me is the control of the form. I have been throwing some larger orbs. I had several go catty-wompus (sp?). I took them off the wheel,  jiggled them to straighten and hung them out until they stiffened a bit. Then put them back on the wheel and and continued throwing. I do give up on some and just re-wedge them.  Very excited about my new work with soluble salts.

Marcia

 

upsdiedownpot.JPG

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Pop said catawampus (an' a few other things, ahem).

Nice pot!

Also cattywampus.

Origin of catawampus

1830–40 for earlier sense “utterly”; cata- diagonally (see cater-cornered) + -wampus, perhaps akin to wampish
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Edited by Hulk
because

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Still use catawampus. . . after living all over the country I have found that some words are regional, and but have credence. At the same time some words really date you! Catawampus  might have been Wonky a few years ago, or even lop-eared, whatever the word is undeniably descriptive by sound of being misshapen.:rolleyes:

 

best,

Pres 

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Had a thunder/sleet storm last night , so were stuck inside today.      I have designs for my tile project all over my work table and I have plenty of clay to practice with so I am all set for this cold and nasty weather.    The word catawampus is used in this area still.     Denice

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On 1/23/2019 at 2:22 PM, Pres said:

Hi folks, we had a question a while back on the QotW pool that I thought I would stretch a little for better response. liambesaw asked if wheel direction is something that is important to you? I am going to stretch this a bit to ask. . . Is it wheel direction, wheel speed, variation of speed, smoothness on the wheel or another factor that is most important to you.

What are important wheel qualities to you when throwing, and what type of wheel do you throw on?

 The foot control not jumping from zero to 88mph when you barely touch it, good bat pins and the rest I don't care about, although I'm spoiled by the quiet nature of my Bailey, it's really grown on me and now all the wheels at the studio suck, lol.

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1 hour ago, shawnhar said:

 The foot control not jumping from zero to 88mph when you barely touch it, good bat pins and the rest I don't care about, although I'm spoiled by the quiet nature of my Bailey, it's really grown on me and now all the wheels at the studio suck, lol.

I want to get a wheel that doesn't do that, would be so nice for throwing bigger forms. So I could stand and pull.  Maybe this year if I am able to sell some mugs and bowls and whatnot.

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Yeah there is no way I could do without a pedal, you could get a cheap pedal and wire it to the motor maybe, I would try it if I had no pedal, soldering's not hard to learn, you'd have to find one rated for the amp draw of your motor.

Something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/d/Outlet-Switches/Variable-Speed-Pedal-Switch-Motor/B078TH6D84#feature-bullets-btf

 

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