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QotW: What tool or piece of equipment non related to Ceramics would you recommend?

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Hi folks, ONCE AGAIN, no new suggestions in the question pool. I will fall back on something touched on a while back, but maybe mentioned in a different way: What tool or piece of equipment non related to Ceramics would you recommend? 

All of you have probably heard me brag about my re-purposed  electric caulk gun, and the use of plastic plumbing parts for trimming chucks, or using bamboo kitchen utensils to make wooden ribs, or stick blenders for mixing glazes in the commercial ceramic sprayer. I will not go through these again. However, I would recommend that anyone getting into ceramics not waste their time on cheap shelving, as it can only lead to disaster when a shelf collapses from weight, or tips over for some reason. Years ago I purchased a few commercial grade shelving units from a big box store that would hold over 2k lb. in weight. This holds most of my dry glaze and clay materials without the worry of tipping or collapsing.  The other advantage of shelving for these heavy bags is to keep it off the floor to stay dry, and to save on my body when moving them around or filling bins etc. . That also brings me to another tie with the shelving. a good steady metal cart that allows you to move a bin under the bag, and cut the bag on the shelf to fill the bin.

 

Have a good day folks, and think about What tool or piece of equipment non related to Ceramics would you recommend? 

 

best,

Pres

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The first thing I thought of was a paint sieve that fits on a 5 gal bucket.   I had bought several of them when I painted the house and had a extra one.  I tried one out when I was mixing a 3 gal batch of glaze.   I sieved it through the paint mesh before I sieved it through my 100# mesh sieve.   Doing it this way seem to make the whole process easier and faster.   They are also very inexpensive,  about $3 each.   For people who work with slabs a seam roller for wallpaper can help mesh your seams together.    A vinyl layout pad with measurement marks for fabric  can also be helpful for slab,  both are also inexpensive.    Denice

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rolling bakers' racks with drywall shelves.  self explanatory.   too bad there aren't very many old refrigerators with wire racks in them.  i have about 18 and have not seen any more of them for years.   they are wonderfully useful for carrying pots after hot waxing and glazing to the kiln.   cannot use when the work is fired because the metal marks the foot. or foots?

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How about a large plastic storage tub with lid made into a Damp Box? Mix enough potters plaster to make about a 2" layer in the bottom and after it sets hard, add a cup of water to the tub. (I add about a cup of water every 4 to 6 months and as long as I keep the lid closed, that's all it seems to need to keep things moist.)  I checked mine today and I have a pair of bowls that I threw in 2013 and they are on the damp side of leather hard...too soft to trim. I want to see how long I can keep them there before they start to fall apart. Place the box on a dolly from Harbor Freight and it can be rolled anywhere!

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Used to use an old fridge outside to keep pots in for trimming. I could keep them for a week or so in the fridge section with occasional spraying. I also could keep smaller pieces, mugs, small bowls, chalice pieces, in the freezer section for 2 months before to dry to trim. Got rid of the fridge a few years ago as it was just to ugly and space consuming outside. Now I just cover with plastic and trim the next day or so.

 

bet,

Pres

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Six years JohnnyK? Gettin' any mold yet? I'm using plastic one gallon size planters - drain holes taped- over pieces to slow drying, two and five gallon buckets over larger pieces; periodic spray of water arrests drying - mold begins to form after a week or so. The weight of plastic sheeting can distort/mar wet pieces - then I'm sad. Plastic sheeting, so many perils! ...wind, falling things, bump - oops, stick to wet clay, drying clay flakes off and blows aroun', etc. I do like the wet box idea, hmmm ...which involves removing from the bat. 

Other equipment/tools:

  Commercial grade mop, bucket and wringer

  Large (Hulk sized) sponges ("grout sponge" and/or large clean up sponge, car washin' sponge, etc.)  - sees all sponge work except where small and/or purpose cut piece of sponge is required

       Credit Bill Van Gilder on purpose cut sponge bits

  Inexpensive plastic calipers (leave the spendy metal ones in their case, in the drawer) handy for many things!

       "Standard" gallery/lid sizes (e.g. on the half inch - the only standard unit measurement in my studio!) - Bill Van Gilder on this one as well

       No guess foot trimming; get rim to inside bottom (millimeters for me), invert, trim - subtract overall from initial to get base thickness. You can tap, feel, just "know" if'n't works for you.

image.png.bfe68a9dfdcab8f1852ffbc66cf237a1.png

  Straight edges - an old hacksaw blade is about the right size for me, for most things. If straight, they stay straight (very little sag), light, rounded corners... handy!

  Rulers - six and fifteen inch stainless, inches and mm

  Hacksaw blade trimmers and chatterers - grind off the teeth, heat and bend, grind shape and edge(s), voila! A file touches up the edge just fine.

       Credit Hsin-Chuen Lin on repurposed hacksaw blades

  Pointer/pin tool ground from an old screwdriver. I like the handle, it's shorter than the pottery tool, it doesn't roll around, and easy to pick up.

  Light! Repurposed articulated arm desk lamp and clip on utility lights  put the light where I need it; overhead two tube eight footer doesn't hurt.

  Buckets and bins, lots. Each clay has slurry bucket for reclaim, a bin for dried/drying reclaim. There's a settling bucket for wheel and clean up water - use, reuse, reuse reuse…

  Ditto on shelving, lots! I've built one big heavy shelf along one side, which I've set two large bookshelves on (and pinned to the wall); there's enough room under said shelf to store five gallon buckets. Above that, track shelving; on the other three walls, more track shelving - adjustable, no floor footprint, strong.

  Quality dust mask - use it!

  Medium size "French" kitchen whisk fitted with pin for chucking up in the battery powered screw driver - whip that glaze!

  Medium size straight scraper for corners of glaze buckets, where that ^ whisk doesn't quite reach, corner and edges broken just enough such that glaze bucket isn't scratched.

  Tile grout mixer chucks up in half inch power drill, makes reclaim almost fun (open doors and windows to vent the ozone) - don't be huffin' ozone!

Oooh, there's prolly more, but I'd have to go look.            :O

Edited by Hulk
'membered som'thin'

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I use the cap from a gallon milk jug when trimming. Just put the bowl upside down on the wheel head and put the milk cap on top and you can push the bowl down with the cap while you trim to steady it.  It's real slippery plastic so it acts as a kind of bearing. 

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23 hours ago, Hulk said:

Six years JohnnyK? Gettin' any mold yet? I'm using plastic one gallon size planters - drain holes taped- over pieces to slow drying, two and five gallon buckets over larger pieces; periodic spray of water arrests drying - mold begins to form after a week or so. The weight of plastic sheeting can distort/mar wet pieces - then I'm sad. Plastic sheeting, so many perils! ...wind, falling things, bump - oops, stick to wet clay, drying clay flakes off and blows aroun', etc. I do like the wet box idea, hmmm ...which involves removing from the bat. 

Other equipment/tools:

  Commercial grade mop, bucket and wringer

  Large (Hulk sized) sponges ("grout sponge" and/or large clean up sponge, car washin' sponge, etc.)  - sees all sponge work except where small and/or purpose cut piece of sponge is required

       Credit Bill Van Gilder on purpose cut sponge bits

  Inexpensive plastic calipers (leave the spendy metal ones in their case, in the drawer) handy for many things!

       "Standard" gallery/lid sizes (e.g. on the half inch - the only standard unit measurement in my studio!) - Bill Van Gilder on this one as well

       No guess foot trimming; get rim to inside bottom (millimeters for me), invert, trim - subtract overall from initial to get base thickness. You can tap, feel, just "know" if'n't works for you.

image.png.bfe68a9dfdcab8f1852ffbc66cf237a1.png

  Straight edges - an old hacksaw blade is about the right size for me, for most things. If straight, they stay straight (very little sag), light, rounded corners... handy!

  Rulers - six and fifteen inch stainless, inches and mm

  Hacksaw blade trimmers and chatterers - grind off the teeth, heat and bend, grind shape and edge(s), voila! A file touches up the edge just fine.

       Credit Hsin-Chuen Lin on repurposed hacksaw blades

  Pointer/pin tool ground from an old screwdriver. I like the handle, it's shorter than the pottery tool, it doesn't roll around, and easy to pick up.

  Light! Repurposed articulated arm desk lamp and clip on utility lights  put the light where I need it; overhead two tube eight footer doesn't hurt.

  Buckets and bins, lots. Each clay has slurry bucket for reclaim, a bin for dried/drying reclaim. There's a settling bucket for wheel and clean up water - use, reuse, reuse reuse…

  Ditto on shelving, lots! I've built one big heavy shelf along one side, which I've set two large bookshelves on (and pinned to the wall); there's enough room under said shelf to store five gallon buckets. Above that, track shelving; on the other three walls, more track shelving - adjustable, no floor footprint, strong.

  Quality dust mask - use it!

  Medium size "French" kitchen whisk fitted with pin for chucking up in the battery powered screw driver - whip that glaze!

  Medium size straight scraper for corners of glaze buckets, where that ^ whisk doesn't quite reach, corner and edges broken just enough such that glaze bucket isn't scratched.

  Tile grout mixer chucks up in half inch power drill, makes reclaim almost fun (open doors and windows to vent the ozone) - don't be huffin' ozone!

Oooh, there's prolly more, but I'd have to go look.            :O

Surprisingly, no mold. Even after all these years...

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In the summer I don't spend as much time in the studio as I would like, so I put a very damp tea towel or other towel-rag in my clay bags to keep the clay from drying out. Here's where the mold forms. This time around some of the blue dye in the towel leach out to combine with the mold and left some interesting striations in my extrusions...

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Used to place old bath towels wet in the Walker, for the Summer months as it got no use. Saved having to clean out completely before going home for the Summer. Also would put towels in the top of all the Brute garbage cans with sealed lids on. Clay in the Fall was always so fat when coming out of the buckets it allowed time for the new clay boxes to age a bit.

 

best,

Pres

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On 9/25/2019 at 10:23 AM, Pres said:

Add to the list a good convertible horizontal/vertical  hand truck, especially if your clay in dropped by palette in your front driveway and you have gates too narrow for a skid lift!  :blink:

 

 

best,

Pres

For smaller production & home studios like mine, the UpCart is invaluable. It's a dolly-type handcart with wheels designed to roll upstairs & downstairs. My chiropractor says it's the best thing I've done for myself re getting heavy clay from the street into and around the studio w/o stressing my back/spine/neck/shoulders in the process.  I love it! Plu it folds down flat!!

DSC00759.jpg

Edited by LeeU

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I would be working too hard with a cart like that, as I had to move 2K from the street to under the kayaks that are covered with a heavy tarp. I load up a horizontal cart, and in 30 minutes had it all moved and stacked on the 12X4 palette I had built to keep them off the concrete.

 

best,

Pres

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