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QotW: How do you prefer to organize your tools for your work areas?

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Hi folks, once again it seems the pool of questions is dried up with nothing new offered. Again, I will try to offer a question of interest:  How do you prefer to organize your tools for your work areas?

 I have several work set ups, that I use in the studio.

My wedging table does multiple duty and has a few plastic trays that are attached to the front for tools, like the wire cutters and a putty knife for scraping. I also have a shelf underneath that the banding wheel and scale store on. I have a flip down cover that fits tightly over the original surface that is made of plywood to wedge the white clay on, the darker clays on the original concrete surface. I also have two containers stored underneath of magic water. . . one lighter, one darker. I also have a tray near the wall where the table is attached with a brush, and round dowel like rib, and tooth brushes for joining handles and pieces to pots.

For throwing, I have a CXC with a stand up square wooden trimming guard that stands in front of the wheel on end. This allows me to set a kitchen wire basket with partitions to hold numerous ribs, stamps and other tools. I also keep a bucket on the wheel tray, and a few most often used tools.  When I start trimming, I remove the top kitchen basket, and remove the CXC splash guard to slide the trimming tray in place. On the right of the trimming tray is a magnetic strip where I hand may trimming tools not in use. I also have cabinet next to the wheel with several drawers I can open and retrieve tools or stamping materials as needed. 

There are many of you out there producing many more pots than I, and have excellent organization skills to set up your work areas. . pass these ideas along! So I will ask once again. . . How do you prefer to organize your tools for your work areas?

 

best,

Pres

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Each of my work stations (for functions in the process) has its own array of most-used tools and assists placed as neatly near by as possible. I use little household bins to hold horizontals and jars for uprights, bowls/catchalls for sponges, hooks for hanging things, carefully chosen shelving, and planned use of spaces under tables. My clay is in 5 gal buckets set on those plant-moving things with wheels, I use carts with drawers to store smalls, labeled by category.  I label everything so I can remember what's what (i.e. this shelf is bisque for glazing, that shelf is greenware etc.). I write the type of clay and cone, and type of glaze and cone, on masking tape and put that where I can see it at a glance. I try to put like items together-by size or type or function.  

I have such a small space and I don't tolerate mess very well, especially my own, that I just have to keep it functional or I get put off and back out when I need to press ahead. It's kind of a mental containment strategy, to keep my studio so that I can walk in and just get to work and have what I need at hand without having to search for things  or clean them off first. 

Edited by LeeU

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both big "tools" in my studio are actually work stations.   the slab roller is mounted on a heavy solid cord wooden door on top of a table built for the purpose.   i hang many tools off the front of it in a line.   i have marked the location of those tools with a sharpie dot so i can reach down without looking and get the tool i want.   i return it immediately to the same place so i am free to use the slab roller as an assembly table.

the wheel is surrounded by a table and has tools hanging from nails on left and right.   these also are returned to their proper location after use so i can get that tool again without searching through a pile of discarded, dirty tools all over the table top.

the rest of my studio might have piles of assorted things all over but those work areas are kept very clean.  those piles contain very important items i might use.  (in other words, my hoard.)

two small boxes screwed to the slab roller are for the tiny crumbs that would otherwise stick to the bottom of the fabulously beautiful, extremely expensive things i make.  (HAH!)   those crumbs are otherwise a darn nuisance.    i have an album that shows all this.

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Two utensil holders (cylinders), one for throwing tools, the other trimming tools - tools that I actually use - switch places in the wheel's built in tray, right next to the one gallon water bucket; next to the holder are three tools that are used for both activities, needle tool, flexible metal rib, cut piece o' sponge. Right next to the wheel, a small table supports a slop plate (pie plate) that receives bits to be recycled, also a pen, pencil, and a dirty piece of paper to write notes on't'. In front of the wheel, a milk crate supports the other utensil holder, and two polishing/smoothing tools.

Most other tools are on tool shelf - spares/duplicates, rarely used tools, glazing tools …in utensil holders, small plastic toolbox. Wire tool (used to have two, hrrmm, have to get another one) sits next to wedge board, mostly, else next to slop plate.

Key for me being put the tool in "its place" - and when done for now, cleaned as well. In the machine shop, in the building trades, at the steel mill, in the local JC ceramic studio - have seen, on one hand, folk casting about for a frequently used tool (which may or may not be ready for use), as it/they are put down in different places, depending; on the other hand, folk who snap up the ready tool, as it has "a place!" ...big difference, imo. That said, the extremes of tool organization are demonstrated by beginners through the most experienced and skilled, it seems... 

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One combination of tools is a set of shade brackets mounted on the wall above a desk that I use for a photo station. When not in use as a photo station, I have a large painting on the wall and a wedging platform on the desk,  but when I want to shoot photos, I take down the painting, remove the wedging platform, and install a white window shade that I pull down and use for a seamless background to shoot my pieces. When done with the photography, I roll and remove the shade, hang the painting, and put the rest of the stuff back in place.

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hulk, may i suggest a simple replacement for the cutting wire??    i have always hated the ones with wooden toggle handles because they are too long and i have never gotten one out of its package without crimping it.   years ago i got some leader wires from walmart's fishing gear section.   i think at that time there were 6 of various sizes for about $1.   they have ends that fit on a key ring.   one without keys, of course.   the round rings are sold lots of places, walmart wants too much for the ones in the automotive section.   hardware stores are better value.

i can use the longer ones but find i really like the 9 inch size and the 12 inch one is perfect for slicing slabs from a new bag of clay.  AND THEY DO NOT TANGLE UP!

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43 minutes ago, oldlady said:

hulk, may i suggest a simple replacement for the cutting wire??    i have always hated the ones with wooden toggle handles because they are too long and i have never gotten one out of its package without crimping it.   years ago i got some leader wires from walmart's fishing gear section.   i think at that time there were 6 of various sizes for about $1.   they have ends that fit on a key ring.   one without keys, of course.   the round rings are sold lots of places, walmart wants too much for the ones in the automotive section.   hardware stores are better value.

i can use the longer ones but find i really like the 9 inch size and the 12 inch one is perfect for slicing slabs from a new bag of clay.  AND THEY DO NOT TANGLE UP!

If I did put my keys on it I might stop losing my cutoff wires (and my keys)

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Thanks Lady, been putting off new cutting wires - I want some useful length ones, as you described, with rings, and a few framed ones as well.

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