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Faceting tools

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Having watched a post from Lisa Hammond recently in which she did a  demo of her faceted baking dishes. I now what to try learning this skill. I used a cheese cutter for some cuts but it was very difficult to control the depth and surface. Anyone have experience with this and any recommendations on which tool to use. I saw Dolan has a straight cut for facets. Favourite tools?

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I have a xiem fluting tool, it's nice.  But it doesn't matter what tool you use, everything will look bad until you get used to it.  Practice on some reclaim until you're getting results you like and then move to your pot.  Cheese cutters are nice but the depth changes with the angle, and any hesitations will come out as horizontal lines in the middle of your cut.  So you need to practice going steady and keeping it at the same angle

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Like Liam said; there is a confidence in your depth and speed of cut which makes the results look better, than choppy, hesitant ones. Any tool you use to facet, including just a wire in your hands, is going to require a lot of trial and error, and you're gonna slice through some sides of pots until you get the hang of it. IMO a lot of faceted work looks a little choppy/chunky because there is  a lack of fluidity to the marks; when I facet work (which granted, isnt much) I like to manipulate the pot after the faceting; not only does this create more "organic" looking facet lines, but helps to hide any goofy looking marks I made.

For straight walled cylinders, try to position your hands/arms so that as you work from top to bottom, or bottom to top, that you're keeping the same depth of cut, by moving in the same plane as the pot. If you're sitting, and resting your elbows on your legs, there is a tendency to create curves and not straight lines. The same applies to curved pots, but you need to move in/out with the curvature of your pot. Its kind of a like a dance in some ways; once your body gets into it, and not just your hands/wrists, it becomes almost like an extension of your fingers and not just a tool in your hands. Might help to kind of shake your arms out, and limber up.

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So because I follow Lisa hammond's former apprentice Florian Gadsby on Instagram and I watched Lisa do that same demo, I know that she's carving those pieces on the dry side of leather hard using an antique spokeshave. You can scroll about 18 months or so back in his IG feed, and Florian talks about the process he used to make faceted creamers and other small pots like this. Even he mentioned there being a bit of a learning curve. Unfortunately a spokeshave is not a tool we're likely to find readily, but I think if you want to work with that style of faceting, the closest analogy would be to use a utility knife blade held by the dull side. If you're doing a lot of pots, it's probably a good idea to find some kind of duct tape and bailing wire soloution to a handle for that though. 

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For faceting on leather hard, a Sur-Form shaving tool works great. It's not as fast as simply making a single cut with a blade, but it gives you a lot of control. It leaves a slight texture, but that can easily be soothed with a couple passes of a metal rib. Personally, I prefer to cut facets on wet pots with my cutoff wire, then clean them up at leather hard with a shaver or metal rib or both, depending on how much cleanup is needed.

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A wire, when you have enough practice, will cut the cleanest on freshly thrown clay. Anything wider will have some drag.

Making curved facets is probably best done on leather hard when you can use a wider, flexible band like the back of an old worn bandsaw or hacksaw blade.

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On 2/20/2019 at 7:15 PM, liambesaw said:

I have a xiem fluting tool, it's nice.  But it doesn't matter what tool you use, everything will look bad until you get used to it.  Practice on some reclaim until you're getting results you like and then move to your pot.  Cheese cutters are nice but the depth changes with the angle, and any hesitations will come out as horizontal lines in the middle of your cut.  So you need to practice going steady and keeping it at the same angle

Thanks for you insight and agree I need lots of practice.

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14 hours ago, Rae Reich said:

A wire, when you have enough practice, will cut the cleanest on freshly thrown clay. Anything wider will have some drag.

Making curved facets is probably best done on leather hard when you can use a wider, flexible band like the back of an old worn bandsaw or hacksaw blade.

Good points. I need to practice with various tools until I get some proficiency.

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14 hours ago, neilestrick said:

For faceting on leather hard, a Sur-Form shaving tool works great. It's not as fast as simply making a single cut with a blade, but it gives you a lot of control. It leaves a slight texture, but that can easily be soothed with a couple passes of a metal rib. Personally, I prefer to cut facets on wet pots with my cutoff wire, then clean them up at leather hard with a shaver or metal rib or both, depending on how much cleanup is needed.

Thanks Neil. I am really pleased to get these responses. 

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14 hours ago, Rae Reich said:

A wire, when you have enough practice, will cut the cleanest on freshly thrown clay. Anything wider will have some drag.

Making curved facets is probably best done on leather hard when you can use a wider, flexible band like the back of an old worn bandsaw or hacksaw blade.

I just really love faceted pots when done with definition and control. It isn't easy to master the skill for sure.

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23 hours ago, Callie Beller Diesel said:

So because I follow Lisa hammond's former apprentice Florian Gadsby on Instagram and I watched Lisa do that same demo, I know that she's carving those pieces on the dry side of leather hard using an antique spokeshave. You can scroll about 18 months or so back in his IG feed, and Florian talks about the process he used to make faceted creamers and other small pots like this. Even he mentioned there being a bit of a learning curve. Unfortunately a spokeshave is not a tool we're likely to find readily, but I think if you want to work with that style of faceting, the closest analogy would be to use a utility knife blade held by the dull side. If you're doing a lot of pots, it's probably a good idea to find some kind of duct tape and bailing wire soloution to a handle for that though. 

That is so interesting. I follow both Lisa and Florian also but didn't see that particular post. And thank you for your suggestions so very helpful.

 

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On 2/20/2019 at 9:06 PM, neilestrick said:

Are you cutting facets on wet pots or leather hard?

I am going to try variations on all these conditions. So far it has been not fresh but a little stiff. I just need to keep up the efforts to get somewhere with this. Lisa's pot seemed to be a little on the stiff side but that might have been because of the tool she was using.

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On 2/20/2019 at 7:15 PM, liambesaw said:

I have a xiem fluting tool, it's nice.  But it doesn't matter what tool you use, everything will look bad until you get used to it.  Practice on some reclaim until you're getting results you like and then move to your pot.  Cheese cutters are nice but the depth changes with the angle, and any hesitations will come out as horizontal lines in the middle of your cut.  So you need to practice going steady and keeping it at the same angle

Practice is what I need to do for sure. 

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a good faceting exercise is to take a big chunk of moist clay and roll the chunk into a vertical log about the length of a bowl or tall mug.  Then take your faceting tool and start using it on the log.  When the log is whittled down to a tall splinter, collect the trimmings, roll them all into a new log and start over.  After a couple of rounds through this cycle, your brain, eyes, hands, and tool will become friends and will quite fighting each other. 

LT
 

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Use a cheese cutter wire with adjustable roller. Hold your thumb on the roller while you cut or glue it so that it won't roll.  Hold the wire against the rim of the pot, and adjust the depth of the wire to the roller to 1/3 or 1/2 the width of the clay wall. 

Then when you cut the roller will prevent your from cutting too deep (assuming consistent clay wall thickness). 
 

 

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