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Slab roller build

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Well, I got my manual 30" Bailey slab roller.  You weren't kidding that the table wouldn't be cheaper or easier to build than to buy from Bailey.  It reminded me why I quit woodworking and found ceramics as an alternate craft.  As a woodworker, I'm comparable to the village idiot who loves the princess.  That is not an easy build.   Multi table, multi level, square within 1/16"?  It's done, it was fun, but it's not pro quality build.

Tools are the true super power.

This bad boy took: table saw, router, band saw, cut off saw, chop saw, every clamp I have, half a bottle of Gorilla Glue and 5 days.  Yikes.  Looks good though. 

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You can brag to visitors how you built that complicated table yourself.   I built a extruder from some Ceramic Monthly magazine plans.     I have improved it over the years from the original design,  my husband is always bragging to people that I built it without any help.  I hope you enjoy your Bailey slab roller.    Denice

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Fact of the matter is I'm a tool junky.  Power tools are the true super powers.   I think this will open some possibilities for new designs.  I couldn't roll a perfect slab by hand, not even with sticks.  My premier build is still my kiln. 

One question:  The instructions on the canvas call for soaking the canvas first.  Should the canvas be damp when using it?  What is the purpose of this?  I'll order some slab mats next week, but want to try the roller first with the canvas.

 

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I think the reason is to rinse something like starch out of it.   I use my canvas dry,  when it gets to clogged up with dust and fine clay I clean it on the driveway and the sprayer on high.   I leave it laying flat on the driveway to dry in the hot sun.  If you put it in a washer or dryer you will get wrinkles that might leave lines in your slab.   I finally bought a second canvas,  one for buff and one for red clay.    Even after using it for awhile your canvas will be stiff and a little awkward to handle it will soften eventually.    The first time you use it make sure it is straight and lined up with the edge of the roller.  The scale on the roller  include the thickness of the canvas but not the shrinkage of the clay final fired size.   I have been making some brick type tiles that will be a inch thick at C5.     I have been adding a additional 12 percent to  the inch mark so I will end up with  the right thickness.   You will need to know the shrinkage of your clay when making tile,  I am using Laguna Red Standard, even though Laguna site said it had 12 percent shrinkage I test the run I bought.  Good luck,  happy to answer anymore question you might have.   Denice

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I have never wet my canvas after 1st washing it-I may never have even done that as I have no memory of getting it wet. I use canvas on the down side (againest table and a slab Matt on the uop side (no texture).I also bought the 8 foot table from Bailey and it it steel and formica-it was cheaper than I could make of the same materials.

Edited by Mark C.

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YES!  FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS THAT CAME WITH YOUR SLAB ROLLER!  IT IS IMPORTANT EVEN IF I CANNOT EXPLAIN WHY IT WORKS BETTER.  PLEASE USE HOT WATER !

your canvas will shrink and stay flat if you do the soaking.   i did not when i replaced the original canvas and i got wrinkles.

no, you do not use the slab roller with wet canvas all the time.  the first hot water bath is for setting the fabric.   after that use it dry.

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My canvas grain must get filled with clay dust because I don't use a clay mat.  I just go over it with a rib,  this helps any bubbles that weren't obliterated by the roller pop up.  I am usually working with recycled clay.    When I am moving it around and notice dust fly off of it I know it's time for a good rinse.     Denice

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