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Hello! I teach high school ceramics, with about 50-65 students per semester. I also teach advanced ceramics (wheel throwing) to about 10-15 students per semester. I use  plastic bats that are textured on one side and smooth on the other. We have always  used the rough sides, but after many  years of use, they have worn down and now have  smooth rings/cirlcle on each one.  I want to keep using them and don't really want to purchase new ones, but students have a hard time centering on the slick centers. I have already tried to roughen one up  by sanding the center with 60 grit sandpaper, but it does not seem to help much.  Does anyone have any suggestion on how to resurface these?  (Wood/masonite bats are not a good option for our set up.) Or suggestions in general? Thanks!

-10 years teaching... and still learning!

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If sanding doesn't work, then it may be time to replace them. The only thing I can think of is to take a box knife and cut a whole bunch of fine lines in them. The problem with that is that the results may be too rough and be abrasive on hands. Maybe hit it lightly with a torch to soften the cut edges? Might warp the bats, though. Tough call. I think any successful method will be terribly labor intensive. 

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8 hours ago, liambesaw said:

Don't get them wet before putting the ball of clay on and it should be fine.  I have some very smooth bats and this works a treat.  

In school we were taught to wet the wheel before putting clay on, in my personal life I have not found this to be good.

Yes smooth is fine

If you want bought put one on the wheel head at vey slow speed  use an 60 grit pad on an orbital sander at slow speed and round it up at low RPM. This will work you can aways go to 40 grit but I feel it will tear it up.

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Agreed that wet doesn't help, however, very slightly damp can be ok - where the dry forearm skin drags/grabs again't, and does not slide inna wet.

 I have one speedball bat, which I found too slick; scoring grooves ~3/16" apart with a box cutter (aka utility knife) helped - just out to about two inches, so not to interfere with fingers and other tools, definitely helped, and did not take but a few seconds (for just the one, granted). From there, touched it with a torch a bit too much by accident ("ooops" ...did me mention I don't particularly like the bat?), that helped too - just a bit o' texture there now, just in the middle.

I do like my map gas torch, use it just about every day - setting a bit too damp piece so it can be trimmed now, stiffening a piece before just one more stretch/blow out, hurrying up some handles, smoking off the too damp on a wet bat...

Some ready to go clay right out the bag I find a touch too stiff/dry; that stuff doesn't stick to a dry bat nearly as well as "properly" softened clay, imo.

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Very lightly wet anything that can draw the water out of the clay. Smooth plastic  batts, no water needed. Regular clay should stick like glue to a smooth non porous surface. Folks over wetting is a common issue though. Have them place the clay on the wheel, throw or pat  in place. Without water seal the lower edge of the clay to the wheel with a finger and couple wheel rotations. Now, no water can get underneath and no flying clay in the classroom.

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