Jump to content

Pieces warping/getting stuck to bats


Recommended Posts

I have always struggled with getting my pieces off the wheel cleanly. Here are some of my issues. 

1) When I throw directly on the wheel the piece warps either when I try to lift it off or when I set it down. I've tried the pot lifters and I have issues with those too. 

2) When I throw on my plastic bats I have a lot of trouble removing them when they are leather hard. They stick firmly to the bat.

Once I get them off I put them on a tile lined with wet newspaper which seems to prevent sticking. 

Any advice?

 

Thanks!
Miriam

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We started to show folks this and for many it has helped: throw your piece, dry it off with your rib as much as practical. Place your needle tool under about a 1/4” and prescore a nice line under the foot, no more than 1/4”.  Very neat line! Now wire off nicely. Get a paper towel and put it on your bat or ware board. Pick up your pot with dry fingers as gently as you know how and set it on the paper towel on the board or batt. Cover loosely and let it dry to leather hard. The bottom will dry as fast as the sides because the water will wick out the paper towel. The bottom will not stick to the batt or ware board because of the towel.

If you are leaving these on the batt to dry a bit more, the score line from the needle tool under the foot will help guide your wire later and it will be much easier to remove when you do.

For really new folks we will let them heatgun stuff just enough to firm it up so they can pick it off the wheel until they become better throwing with less water. Generally the heatgun dependency thing becomes annoying and they learn to throw dryer and lift with more confidence.

Hope that  helps.

Edited by Bill Kielb
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Miriam!

Regarding 2) throw on my plastic bats

   You might try wiring the piece earlier - when it is starting to stiffen up, but not yet ready for trimming. Later, when it is ready to trim, you might need to wire it again, however, it will be easier.

 

Before taking the bat off the wheel, trimming away the skirt at the base - leaving a groove may make removing the piece easier later on.

Some potters wire the piece before moving the batt off the wheel, then wire again later.

I'll typically wire pieces and remove them from the batt when they are stiff enough to move, but not yet ready for trimming.

Timing!

As for 1) throw directly on the wheel

   There are tricks, e.g.

leave a thicker base

reset to round via the way the piece is set down - takes practice

reset to round when leather-ish hard using a tapered tool. I have a collection of tapered plastic containers I use. Here's a "rounder" that Bill Van Gilder demonstrates in a video.

1561695444_bvgrounder.JPG.ee265e9253a73c96cb9dead1ad063448.JPG

He used to have them for sale on his website as well. I prefer a steeper taper...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

51 minutes ago, akilspots said:

have you tried the trick where you lay a piece of paper on the rim of the pot then cut and lift it off the bat? the paper creates a seal that helps it not warp

I haven't- at what stage do you do this? Do I just use a regular piece of printer paper?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With anything on bats, I don’t bother with a wire at least until the shine has come off the pot. Usually I don’t cut them off until rims are stiff enough to support the pot when they’re flipped. If you cut them off and leave them in place when they’re wet, they’ll just reattach themselves.

I lift pots off the wheel head usually only when the height is more than the width, and the base is relatively narrow. Mostly with small jars or mugs or similar items. When lifting, take all the slip off the pot with a rib, wipe your hands clean and dry, and lift gently from the base. Ribbing compresses the walls of the pot so that they resist warping more.

As far as the paper thing goes, most people just use what they have to hand: that coarse folded paper towel from public washrooms, newsprint, computer paper. 

Edited by Callie Beller Diesel
Grammar
Link to comment
Share on other sites

miriam, this is a skill you will learn once you start using less water.   everything said so far should help you figure out how to do this.   the most important thing is having dry hands and to lift as low as possible.  keep a towel hanging nearby.   i have not wired a pot since the 1970s when i started using Duron bats.  i remember pot lifters being useless.  fingers work better and you can control them easier.   good luck and remember you are learning a skill, not making a pot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 minutes ago, Hulk said:

Hi Miriam!

Regarding 2) throw on my plastic bats

   You might try wiring the piece earlier - when it is starting to stiffen up, but not yet ready for trimming. Later, when it is ready to trim, you might need to wire it again, however, it will be easier.

 

Before taking the bat off the wheel, trimming away the skirt at the base - leaving a groove may make removing the piece easier later on.

Some potters wire the piece before moving the batt off the wheel, then wire again later.

I'll typically wire pieces and remove them from the batt when they are stiff enough to move, but not yet ready for trimming.

Timing!

As for 1) throw directly on the wheel

   There are tricks, e.g.

leave a thicker base

reset to round via the way the piece is set down - takes practice

reset to round when leather-ish hard using a tapered tool. I have a collection of tapered plastic containers I use. Here's a "rounder" that Bill Van Gilder demonstrates in a video.

1561695444_bvgrounder.JPG.ee265e9253a73c96cb9dead1ad063448.JPG

He used to have them for sale on his website as well. I prefer a steeper taper...

I have noticed timing is everything! Until now I have been a part of a studio and so I had different habits that lent itself to better timing- for example, I set a piece aside after throwing it and let it dry for a bit without being wrapped. In my own studio I can come and go with more frequency so I end up wrapping my pieces earlier.  I do wire twice, once right after I throw and once when I am trying to lift the piece from the bat. 

I have been using cups, bottle, etc to try to restore the shape. I had no idea this tapering tool existed! Will have to try that too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the many reasons I don't like plastic bats.  I throw on masonite and it just pops off when the object is leather hard.  

If I have to pull off the wheelhead I dry my hands real well, make sure the pot has all the slip scraped off, and just cut and lift with dry hands.  Sometimes they go out of round a little and I kinda give the wareboard a little shake to try to settle it back into round.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Miriam Ash said:

I haven't- at what stage do you do this? Do I just use a regular piece of printer paper?

I use newspaper. It's thinner than printer paper but still keeps the shape, is cheap, and is flexible when wet so is very easy to peel off.  Do it while the pot is still wet and the rim can stick to the newspaper.

Clear off any extra slip on the rim and then gently lay the paper on top. Make sure to get contact all the way around the rim by very gently running your finger along the rim (you'll see where it is sticking) .  Move the pot off the wheel onto your ware board and then gently peel off the paper. You may have to smooth the rim a bit if it looks rough, but it will be perfectly round!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, liambesaw said:

One of the many reasons I don't like plastic bats.  I throw on masonite and it just pops off when the object is leather hard.  

If I have to pull off the wheelhead I dry my hands real well, make sure the pot has all the slip scraped off, and just cut and lift with dry hands.  Sometimes they go out of round a little and I kinda give the wareboard a little shake to try to settle it back into round.  

What masonite bats do you recommend? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Sorcery said:

Wire type matters too.

Something braided or like the Mudtools Squiggly wire will create a better gap to lift off.

A thin smooth wire will just keep it stuck.

Sorce

I have the Mudtools wire but not the squiggly one. I will give that a try too!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I use wood batts (high density fiberboard) I wire off as soon as I've finished throwing them. Thickness of the wire makes a difference, doesn't have to be a wiggle wire just a thicker wire will do the trick if they are re-sticking to the batt. Also, just make one pass with the wire, if you run the wire under more than once you can get little wafers/layers that are more work to deal with when it comes to finishing the bottoms, especially if you use a sticky high ball clay body. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Miriam Ash,

I have worked with students in the past where they would warp a piece when trying to take it off the wheel, or a bat. There are a few tricks that work when working with bats. First as others have said, wire off the bat (especially for a non porous bat like plastic), and leave a little extra clay in the bottom for stability and trimming. When throwing of the hump, I use a putty knife to cout and remove at the same time when throwing small cups or bowls for chalices. When throwing larger pieces on a bat, leave them on the bat, until the rim is leather hard, then put another bat over the top and flip the whole assemblage. Then you can gently peel of the base bat as it is on the top. Lots of tricks over the years, and with time and patience it will come for you.

 

best,

Pres

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, Miriam Ash said:

I have always struggled with getting my pieces off the wheel cleanly. Here are some of my issues. 

1) When I throw directly on the wheel the piece warps either when I try to lift it off or when I set it down. I've tried the pot lifters and I have issues with those too. 

2) When I throw on my plastic bats I have a lot of trouble removing them when they are leather hard. They stick firmly to the bat.


1. when throwing on the wheel, use a tarpaper, canvas, or paper bat. ( https://www.vincepitelka.com/handoutsinformation/ and  http://www.vincepitelka.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Throwing-on-Canvas-Bats-as-an-Alternative-to-Rigid-Bats.pdf ).  run the cutting wire under the bat, use the edge of the bat to slide the bat and clay form from the wheel onto a ware board; peal the canvas bat off at leather hard stage.   

2. for plastic bats: I let the pot dry until it is ready for trimming and trim as much as possible with the pot stuck to the bat, then let the pot dry until pops loose from the bat, then finish trimming the foot; or cut the pot off with the wire tool and the wheel turning slow.  

3. remove as much extraneous clay from the pot as feasible (within the limits of the wet clay strength) while still wet and on the wheel; the pot dries quicker, and makes trimming easier.  

LT 
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My students all float their pieces off the wheel, and have very few warping issues. Make a puddle on the far side of the pot, pull the puddle under the pot as you cut the piece loose with your wire, then push the pice toward the puddle to slide it off. It may take 2-3 cuts to get the water fully under the pot. Slide the pot onto your palm, then place it on a bat. Do not try to slide it directly onto a bat. If it warps a little when you put it on the bat, just flex the piece from the base and it will settle back into round.

Putting paper on the rim of the pot will keep it from distorting, but messes up the rim.

Plastic bats work fine and last forever, but pots will adhere to them. You have to cut them loose from the bat when they're ready to flip.

Some cutoff wires are very thin and don't work well. Specifically, we've had trouble with the Dirty Girl wires. My students and I mostly use 30lb monofilament fishing line. It's super cheap and works great, easy to replace when a wire breaks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2/26/2021 at 1:49 PM, Hulk said:

Hi Miriam!

Regarding 2) throw on my plastic bats

   You might try wiring the piece earlier - when it is starting to stiffen up, but not yet ready for trimming. Later, when it is ready to trim, you might need to wire it again, however, it will be easier.

 

Before taking the bat off the wheel, trimming away the skirt at the base - leaving a groove may make removing the piece easier later on.

Some potters wire the piece before moving the batt off the wheel, then wire again later.

I'll typically wire pieces and remove them from the batt when they are stiff enough to move, but not yet ready for trimming.

Timing!

As for 1) throw directly on the wheel

   There are tricks, e.g.

leave a thicker base

reset to round via the way the piece is set down - takes practice

reset to round when leather-ish hard using a tapered tool. I have a collection of tapered plastic containers I use. Here's a "rounder" that Bill Van Gilder demonstrates in a video.

1561695444_bvgrounder.JPG.ee265e9253a73c96cb9dead1ad063448.JPG

He used to have them for sale on his website as well. I prefer a steeper taper...

I love the idea of a tapered tool but Bill Van Gilder's is sold out. Can you give me some examples of plastic containers you use?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, neilestrick said:

My students all float their pieces off the wheel, and have very few warping issues. Make a puddle on the far side of the pot, pull the puddle under the pot as you cut the piece loose with your wire, then push the pice toward the puddle to slide it off. It may take 2-3 cuts to get the water fully under the pot. Slide the pot onto your palm, then place it on a bat. Do not try to slide it directly onto a bat. If it warps a little when you put it on the bat, just flex the piece from the base and it will settle back into round.

Putting paper on the rim of the pot will keep it from distorting, but messes up the rim.

Plastic bats work fine and last forever, but pots will adhere to them. You have to cut them loose from the bat when they're ready to flip.

Some cutoff wires are very thin and don't work well. Specifically, we've had trouble with the Dirty Girl wires. My students and I mostly use 30lb monofilament fishing line. It's super cheap and works great, easy to replace when a wire breaks.

I have tried the water trick! I have also been having issues where my pots are drying very unevenly. The outside dries quickly and the foot dries very slowly so I thought maybe the water on the underside might be the culprit. I tried flipping it as quickly as possible and lost a few pots because they weren't ready. I also tried just wrapping the rim which worked a bit better.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Miriam!

I'm re-rounding pots when

  a) they get a bit tweaked during the handling process - attaching handles, that is. There may be an ideal dryness where the clay is damp enough to take a handle attachment, but dry enough such that it holds its roundness. Yeah, well, sometimes I undershoot that by a bit.

  b) they start to go out of round whilst drying - perhaps due to the air moving from one direction, sunlight coming through the windows, a bit of uneven thickness; the first two can be ameliorated by rotating often enough.

I use bats - plastic, treated powder board, plaster; am having fairly good luck with allowing the pieces to dry enough such that they can be wired off and moved without disrupting the shape.  I've enough bats lying about that I'm not in a hurry to free one up. Wiring isn't needed when using plaster bats - the clay releases.

The base doesn't dry as fast as the rim, being thicker, and sealed by the bat (excepting plaster bat!!), particularly the plastic bats. Placing the piece on a plaster bat will speed up drying the base. I don't mind the base being damper than the rim when it's time to trim, not at all - not trimming the top two thirds of the pot, eh?

I don't throw off the wheel head - bat pins. When I do throw off the hump, careful handling and prod, jiggle, flex (as Neil suggests) gets it close enough to round. Plastic bats flex - this can be an advantage (or vexing)!

Any road, here are three slightly tapered plastic vessels; the tall one fits my mugs, the cut one fits soup mugs, and the white one sees use for larger pieces. Typically, I'm finding bowls keep their shape fairly well - a glaze fired bowl can serve as a rounder, when needed...

I'm still working on repeat forms - the two mugs on the left are within a millimeter or so, 450 gram mugs. The taller one is a 500 gram mug.

 rounders.JPG.a3d937e8f9a7be986b6f2faa19e4c58d.JPG

Drying can be delayed/controlled. I will mist (spray bottle) and cover (with a bucket) to arrest drying.

Edited by Hulk
oh yeah
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, Miriam Ash said:

I have tried the water trick! I have also been having issues where my pots are drying very unevenly.

I would encourage you to try this.
Remove  as much water from your pot with rib and sponge as you can,, trim any excess from the bottom you can. Take  a heat gun dry the pot evenly slightly more (30 seconds!) while the wheel spins.  Then undercut the foot with your needle tool about 1/4” and  wire off cleanly dry your hands, pick up and set your pot on a cheap paper towel on top of your ware board or another batt.  

I can’t tell you how many new folks  this has helped. From  developing confidence to lift to learning to throw dyer or rib dryer and just start picking their pots up without the heat gun ............ to evenly drying their stuff once removed and lightly covered. I find water and excess clay all an early enemy to things happening more easily for beginners. Ask your teacher to show you how to pre trim the bottom wall thickness a bit more evenly before removal. Until you become proficient at throwing, often the bases of your pots will be much thicker than they need be. Removing this helps drying and makes final trimming much easier.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

50 minutes ago, Miriam Ash said:

I love the idea of a tapered tool but Bill Van Gilder's is sold out. Can you give me some examples of plastic containers you use?

Any tapered cup.  A previous bisqued cup or bowl or vase. A  word of caution if you use a smooth round object it can get trapped by suction so careful how hard you push on this and make sure you can release it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2/28/2021 at 12:21 PM, Hulk said:

Hi Miriam!

I'm re-rounding pots when

  a) they get a bit tweaked during the handling process - attaching handles, that is. There may be an ideal dryness where the clay is damp enough to take a handle attachment, but dry enough such that it holds its roundness. Yeah, well, sometimes I undershoot that by a bit.

  b) they start to go out of round whilst drying - perhaps due to the air moving from one direction, sunlight coming through the windows, a bit of uneven thickness; the first two can be ameliorated by rotating often enough.

I use bats - plastic, treated powder board, plaster; am having fairly good luck with allowing the pieces to dry enough such that they can be wired off and moved without disrupting the shape.  I've enough bats lying about that I'm not in a hurry to free one up. Wiring isn't needed when using plaster bats - the clay releases.

The base doesn't dry as fast as the rim, being thicker, and sealed by the bat (excepting plaster bat!!), particularly the plastic bats. Placing the piece on a plaster bat will speed up drying the base. I don't mind the base being damper than the rim when it's time to trim, not at all - not trimming the top two thirds of the pot, eh?

I don't throw off the wheel head - bat pins. When I do throw off the hump, careful handling and prod, jiggle, flex (as Neil suggests) gets it close enough to round. Plastic bats flex - this can be an advantage (or vexing)!

Any road, here are three slightly tapered plastic vessels; the tall one fits my mugs, the cut one fits soup mugs, and the white one sees use for larger pieces. Typically, I'm finding bowls keep their shape fairly well - a glaze fired bowl can serve as a rounder, when needed...

I'm still working on repeat forms - the two mugs on the left are within a millimeter or so, 450 gram mugs. The taller one is a 500 gram mug.

 rounders.JPG.a3d937e8f9a7be986b6f2faa19e4c58d.JPG

Drying can be delayed/controlled. I will mist (spray bottle) and cover (with a bucket) to arrest drying.

This is SO helpful, thank you!!!! I am just getting used to throwing again (I took a 2 year break) but once I have the hang of it again I plan to work on repeat forms. I actually got a glass egg easter decoration that looked like the tool you posted and it worked well for some mugs I  threw recently. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2/28/2021 at 12:25 PM, Bill Kielb said:

I would encourage you to try this.
Remove  as much water from your pot with rib and sponge as you can,, trim any excess from the bottom you can. Take  a heat gun dry the pot evenly slightly more (30 seconds!) while the wheel spins.  Then undercut the foot with your needle tool about 1/4” and  wire off cleanly dry your hands, pick up and set your pot on a cheap paper towel on top of your ware board or another batt.  

I can’t tell you how many new folks  this has helped. From  developing confidence to lift to learning to throw dyer or rib dryer and just start picking their pots up without the heat gun ............ to evenly drying their stuff once removed and lightly covered. I find water and excess clay all an early enemy to things happening more easily for beginners. Ask your teacher to show you how to pre trim the bottom wall thickness a bit more evenly before removal. Until you become proficient at throwing, often the bases of your pots will be much thicker than they need be. Removing this helps drying and makes final trimming much easier.

I am throwing in my own studio so I don't have access to a heat gun :( I am going to try a more aggressive trimming though. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2/28/2021 at 12:30 PM, Bill Kielb said:
 

Any tapered cup.  A previous bisqued cup or bowl or vase. A  word of caution if you use a smooth round object it can get trapped by suction so careful how hard you push on this and make sure you can release it.

I learned this the hard way the other day!!! I have been recycling a lot of clay with all my mistakes. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.