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What do I cover my work table with?


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Hi, I'm trying to find a covering I could use to cover the table I use at my home studio for my ceramics. What I currently have is small square plywood piece that is covered with canvas that I took with me from my college before it closed for quarantine. I've grown used to the canvas covered tables that were at my college that this square board is too small for me. So I'm trying to make a home studio so I can continue working. Though, I'm lost at what to cover my table with. I don't think I want canvas because I don't like the amount of dust and it's not super easy to clean. I've looked into SlabMats, but I saw that it gets bad after a while with the constant contact to moisture. What are some suggestions you can give me? I would like it to be absorbent like canvas, but I'm open to any suggestions. 

Thanks! :lol:

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Yeah, like Liam said, bare wood works very well.  If you want something more porous, cement board is a great option.  It absorbs moisture well, and is pretty durable, unless you are rough with it. 

I have a couple dozen cement boards we use in my classroom, and they've worked extremely well.  The only downside is, they are heavier than wood, and can be damaged easily if you aren't careful.  But if I can keep mine in decent shape with teenagers using them, then it should be fine in a home studio. 

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if the table is large and you have any home construction nearby, you could ask for a piece of TYVEK or whatever store brand the builder is using.   staple that down on the tabletop and just take a little care not to cut it.  that can last for years.

 if you live anywhere that has print shops that do offset printing, you can ask for their used printers blankets.   some are small but the big city newspaper full size is a really useful one.   the back is rubber and that is what the printer used.   the front is a fine broadcloth fabric.   it might come with ink on the back but you can ask what to clean it with.   if you don't get it, they have to pay for trash pickup so they like to give them away.

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Kind of depends on what all you use the work table for.  I think the assumption everyone is making is mostly wedging.  If you want to pull moisture out of clay for any of several reasons, I like a poured plaster.  If you use more than one color clay, 2 different canvas covers works nice.  One can be mounted permanently and the other is on a removable frame.  A little bit of a building project, but it certainly doesn't wear out if done well.  Yeah, very heavy.

My newest work table is the 6ft  run off for the slab roller.  Formica over plywood.  Mostly for assembling handbuilt.  Sometimes on a banding wheel.  Very versatile, very useful. 

One criteria is whether the surface is going to add unwanted texture to the clay.  Another is whether reasonably soft clay will stick or not.

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sorry, daffy, i assumed you wanted a work table that would allow you to use clay on it without sticking.    you are wise to not use canvas.   if you want to verify how bad it is, wait until the room is dark, get a flashlight and thump the canvas.     what you see is just the tiny particles that are TOO BIG to breathe in.  it is what you do not see is what is dangerous when breathed in.

Edited by oldlady
correction
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