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Beginners Wheel


Sile
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I wanted to open this up to advice and suggestions to purchasing a wheel. I have read that Shimpo, Brent, and Speedball wheels are the most popular for beginners. I have browsed through the specks on the clay boss and big boss wheels, Shimpo VL Whisper, and the Brent Model IE-X. They are all pretty similar.  I would prefer a wheel head at 14" so that I can create larger plates and bowls when I gain enough experience. I want to be able to throw more than 25lbs so that I can really put my weight and throw some big pieces later. I am looking for something that will last me probably the rest of my life (I am in my mid-20's). Reversibility is not that important to me since I am right handed (though I have heard that you can make unique designs with the reversibility function). Is there any other information that I should be considering?

The Shimpo and Brent are fairly similar in price, but the Speedball is about half. Is this because of quality? Are there any other models I should be looking at? What other suggestions do you have for me. I'd like to narrow my choice down to a couple soon so I can start saving properly. 

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Yes the price difference is because of quality.

I'd look at the comparable skutt wheel too before you make a choice between shimpo and Brent.  You get a beefier, better quality motor on a skutt regardless of HP rating.  Ignore anything that says "centers x pounds" because it's bogus.  

I'd avoid speedball unless you're just doing this on a lark.  It won't last you, I see DOA speedball wheels on social media often enough to know id never buy one.

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Don't get a 'beginner' wheel. They last 30 years or more, so get a good one. For Brent that means a C or CXC. For Skutt, anything with 1/3 or 1/2 horsepower. Not sure with Bailey, but anything that's higher end. Invest now and you won't have to invest again. FYI, big splash pans keep the studio a lot cleaner.

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Hi Sile!

Any chance you can test drive some wheels? Your choice may come down to personal preference in shape, sound, pan, height, feel, vibration, control, ?

Skutt is in Oregon; there are several big clay stores in Oregon as well (that carry several wheel brands).

My opinion, handed-ness has naught to do with preferred wheel direction.

I've driven several Brent models (at local JC lab) and my own Skutt, all fine wheels. I do prefer the heavy built in splash pan over the plastic removable - personal preference, eh?

I can't imagine ever needing more twist than my Skutt 1/2 horse provides - it's a beast - yet sensitive as well (aaaw).

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11 minutes ago, Hulk said:

it's a beast - yet sensitive as well (aaaw

:lol:

Yeah even my little prodigy is plenty beastful at 1/3 HP.  Motor is HUGE!  have centered 50lbs on it, I don't recommend it though...  Only because my arms and back were so tired afterward I couldn't open and pull it. Haha.  The wheel handled it just fine though.

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The 1/3hp Skutt wheels are plenty powerful for most people, but the upgrade to 1/2hp isn't much more expensive. I've got ten 1/3hp wheels, one 1/2hp, and I've never felt like I needed the extra power of the 1/2. I've thrown a lot of 15-25 pound pots on the 1/3hp without any issues, and made many 45 pound pots on them in sections. I prefer the built in pan, too.

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I've had a clay boss for 15 years and it's never let me down.

Granted that was before creative industries became "speedball".  I bought a second clay boss under speedball and it's been extremely reliable.

They also come with a ten year warranty. I feel like it all comes down to preference. 

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@HulkYeah there is a store about 30 minutes from me that I need to go check out. I'll try to check out that store and then post back here by next week. 

@neilestrickIt looks like the Brent wheels only have the round splash pans? The Skutts, some have built in splash pans, though it looks like you cannot remove them? Such as the Revolutionary 1/2 vs. Elite 1/2. Seems like these two have the same exact features except for the splash pan? Why would one want a splash pan that cannot be removed and cleaned?

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17 minutes ago, Sile said:

Why would one want a splash pan that cannot be removed and cleaned?

Because it's bigger and holds a LOT of trimmings. If this is your first wheel that is just for you and not shared with anyone else, you are in for a treat. You don't have to clean it!

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1 hour ago, Sile said:

Why would one want a splash pan that cannot be removed and cleaned?

It can't be removed, but it can be cleaned. You just pop the wheel head off and scoop it out. The benefit of that design is that the wheel is heavier so it doesn't move when centering large pots, and the pan is super solid so you can brace against it if needed. They're not at all difficult to clean, you just grab a big sponge and scoop it into a bucket. Many of my students prefer the built-in pan to the removable. If it's you're own personal wheel, you don't have to clean it spotless every time you use it, anyway. Either way, like GEP said, it holds a ton of trimmings so they don't end up on the floor nearly as much.

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I have thrown on a variety of wheels over the years some in college, some at the HS I taught at, and some I owned. I started on a Randall motorized cook wheel in 1970, nice all around wheel as long as you worked with the wind down of the fly wheel. Then I went to a HS with two wheels to teach. The  first wheel was an Amaco motorized kick, much the same as the Randall, the second was an Amaco two speed direct drive that I would not recommend to anyone. One of the first things I did was to add two Creative Industries wheels. The worst of the bunch was a Creative Industries MP (1/2 hp.). I could torque stop that wheel with 10# of clay on the wheel. The big brother was the HP with 1 hp, which became my favorite demo wheel for years.  I also had a 4 Bailey wheels that I liked, and for the price were a great deal. I purchased a new Brent CXC in the 70's that I still throw on, never changed even a belt on it, and it has thrown thousands of pots. In the end, you really get what you pay for when buying a wheel. The best of the best have hearty motors, and smooth foot pedals. Some are quieter, others not so. Point is, find your list of priorities and spend your money to match it up otherwise you will be disappointed.

 

 

best,

Pres 

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I started in 1970 with a Brent model C  from Robert Brent. I still have it and work on it. I bought a CXC in 1982-I am a fulltimer and have used these wheels well beyound most users in terms of tons of clay  on them. You can buy a 14 inch head model C I think if not its the CXC. as they only come with 14inch wheel heads . Both are great wheels that will hold very strong resale value over the decades. I also use a Brent model A to just trim on and use a model B for stoneware/salt pots which is in another area (my studio is all porcelain white clay)

These wheels where some of the 1st in quality wheels. They are built like tanks. There are better splash pans but In my view no better wheels.

We all have our bias on brands. I will add I have been arount someTomas  Stuarts (before Skutt bought out the name) that where very good wheels as well.I'm not a Skutt fan on kilns as I feel they are cheaply made hopefully they did not cheapen the wheel line as well.

 

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Bailey wheels have some splash pans that can be removed. The table in the front of the wheel lifts off then the splash pan. I like that I can really clean it out easily when I'm switching between claybodies. (have to admit it's not usually this clean)

DSC_0127.jpeg.1fa3ff987e35a7a2d64d008cdd354722.jpeg

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12 hours ago, Min said:

Bailey wheels have some splash pans that can be removed. The table in the front of the wheel lifts off then the splash pan. I like that I can really clean it out easily when I'm switching between claybodies. (have to admit it's not usually this clean)

DSC_0127.jpeg.1fa3ff987e35a7a2d64d008cdd354722.jpeg

wow you could eat off of that

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