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Dealing w pitted wheel head

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Yep, or just use 0000 steel wool on it to polish it up nicely.  As Mark C says I'd just try using it first and see if it's an issue but if it is, it's not difficult at all to polish it up.  If the pitting is deep enough you may need to sand it and then polish with 0000 steel wool.  Or fill the pits with clear epoxy, then sand and polish.  But I really don't think you need to go to all that trouble.

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2 hours ago, oldlady said:

just a question for all you chemists.  is this the result of hard water being used while throwing? 

Al U Minium  and  Al K Li  have been in a feud since the beginning. 

The issue here is corrosion of the metal from the wet clay body and the slips that develop during throwing sessions;, not just depositing lime from water.  

The alkali mostly comes from porcelain type clay bodies, but not necessarily always; depends on clay body recipes.  Cast iron wheels does not have that problem (iron wheels will just become iron rusts).  There are a few aluminum alloys that will not corrode in certain alkali environments, but the cost is very high.   

hard water will crust on the surface as lime and lime carbonate, but is not by its self a significant corrosion problem. 


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I have really hard water. I have to descale my kettle probably twice a month, but I’ve never known it to affect my wheelhead. To get lime scale you have to evaporate a few gallons of water, not the amount you throw with.

I used to get similar discolouration when I was using a cone 10 porcelaneous stoneware, but if you clean your wheelhead it doesn’t really form. I haven’t had any since I’ve switched to red clay. If it got bad, I’d occasionally take some 220 grit black sandpaper to it, but mostly it wasn’t an issue. 

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The wheel head depicted, looks like scoring, wear, and tool marks, and  - but not enough surface worn away where it's easily perceptible (where it looks unflat*).
Excepting that one deep scratch, it doesn't look bad at all, lots of life left. Maybe wipe if off and let it dry when you're not using it.
The only time I'd take any abrasive to the wheel head (or tool, like a file or scraper) would be to remove ridges or somewhat that sticks up. What's done is done; I'm not seeing any reason to remove material to clean up the markings/pits/scratches/divots.
If working directly on the wheel head, there's going to be wear.
If leaving a clay pad (wet dirt), or somewhat else wet on there for days, likely there's going to be some pitting or deposition.

*some of the older wheels in the local JC lab have significant wheel head wear. They don't run out (wobble up and down or shift side to side) at all, hence, they work just fine. When the material is so worn away that the head is weakened, well, that should take a while, and by then...

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I am throwing with a "imperceptible grog" white Spanish clay. @JohnnyKYes, water and clay dried there after throwing but in a humid environment for a few days, so corroded. I´d never seen this before and sort of freaked. I will be taking MUCH better care in the future. I throw directly on the wheel but will transition to plaster bats soon... she´s my baby and I just want her sparkle back! Ha ha. 

Thanks EVERyONE. Adore this community. 

xoxo H

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