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Chop design features

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My talented kids have designed a wonderful chop for me, and one son will be making it from metal in his basement engineering shop!

But should it be embossed or incised? Raised letters or sunken (better term??) letters? It will be inside a one inch circle. (The circle is not necessary—maybe just the letters themselves!)

I don't want to have to put it in a circle of clay and then attach that. I'd like to be able to use it directly on the bottom of plates and bowls. 

(If I can have a second, smaller one I would use it at the base of handles on mugs, but that would come later!)

So my question is: which is better for a chop— embossed or incised?


Edited by Ginny C
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Bill, when you say embossed stamps, do you mean the stamp itself has raised letters so it produces an incised design in the clay?   Or the  opposite!?

I am not great on spatial relations (not helpful in a potter!)!  I can see that if the stamp itself is incised, to give a raised design on the clay, then it needs to have a border around it, presumably a circle. And if the stamp has a raised design, the design in the clay will be incised, with the letters impressed into the clay, with n o circle around it needed.

Is that right??

Thank you for helping this old lady! Who has for many years just written her name in the clay with a pencil. At this late stage, I'd like to look sort of professional, even though I do not sell any of my pots!

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I believe A stamp with the letters sticking out or raised to create an impression is easier to use. To impress a circle around it you could create a stamp that includes a raised circle. All would be impressed in the clay. In the picture below an encircled stamp on the right with its own border and on the left - no border.


Edited by Bill Kielb
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1. If the letters/image on the stamp are raised, you can press it into leather hard clay fairly easily. This type of stamp works well if you're using it on the bottom of the pot where it will be left unglazed, and you don't want raised letters that could scratch a table.

2. If the letters/image on the stamp are recessed, it is very difficult to press it into leather hard clay. In that case it's best to attach a tiny pad of moist clay to the pot and stamp that, as the soft clay will go into the recesses of the stamp more easily and give you raised letters on the pot. This method is easier to make the stamp, since you are cutting the image into the stamp material, rather than cutting away the negative space, and the raised image on the clay looks nice and is less likely to get smothered by glaze. Use this method if you're going to be stamping on the side of the pot where glaze will cover the stamp.

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Thanks!  That's a very clear explanation. I've asked him to make it raised, and he's going to try. If he can't do it, I will order one from 4clay.com. 

Once the chop is made I will post a photo of it, because it's a very clever design. Reads the same upside down!

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