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QotW: Do you have a favorite tools for pottery production that you have repurposed or made? 


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Hi folks,  I am busy making chalices and patens for communion sets of late, and have been thinking of repurposed materials for throwing and trimming tools. I have wondered how many of you have repurposed another tool for throwing, or trimming pots in the shop. Yet I realize that many of you handbuild pottery. 

QotW: Do you have a favorite tools for pottery production that you have repurposed or made? 

I have a shaping rib for throwing that is a bamboo spoon with the handle cut off and rounded like some kidney ribs. However the curve of the spoon works even better than a flat rib of the same shape as the curve allows me to open up, and enlarge a form much easier.

My other favorite tool I used to day, and it is the trimming chuck that holds the chalice stems for trimming without messing up the form or any decoration on the form. This was made from common plastic plumbing parts and is really much better than any chuck that I have used for trimming these forms.

best,

Pres

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11 hours ago, Pres said:

My other favorite tool I used to day, and it is the trimming chuck that holds the chalice stems for trimming without messing up the form or any decoration on the form. This was made from common plastic plumbing parts and is really much better than any chuck that I have used for trimming these forms.

Details at https://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/2016/11/trimming-chalice-stems.html

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Favorite needle tool is a small screwdriver that my Dad had ground down to a point.
I like the handle - it's shorter than the typical pointer/needle tool - and larger in diameter. The entire tool is also rather short, which I prefer (except when a long one is needed).
It's also easy to find and doesn't roll far when dropped.

Taking inspiration from some of Hsinchuen Lin's early video clips (afore he began marketing his own line of stainless tools), I've an assortment of trimming and chattering tools made from hack saw blades. I've ground off the teeth, heated and bent the blade, then ground the profile. From there, I touch them up with a file. Some of the tools have been repurposed, as the original profile is long gone via sharpening. I don't mind the few moments it takes to resharpen them*.

My favorite (and only) cut-off wire was just the right length (it had been shortened several times!), then it was too short after the last break.
I'd tried several replacement wires, bah!
Now I'm using the core of a bike derailleur cable, which is holding out great. It's very slim, yet resilient.
Derailleur cables (the type I've been using for some time, by Jagwire) have filaments of metal wound around a core cable; I'm unwinding the outer filaments to reveal the core, boom!
Repurposed! Another use for replaced bike cabling! They're also handy for picture frame hanging wires - be sure to completely remove any grease first tho'.

A frosting spatula is so handy! At first I just used it to lever off batts, however, the small arc at the end is just right for mug lip recurve smoothing.

I'm trimming strips off the (automobile) chamois for lip smoothing.

Less often used, I've: several twist drill bits I use for making holes and dressing the holes' edges; a few small kitchen knives for cutting clay; a razor knife that's especially handy for trimming spouts; a few wooden knives/turning tools; a few wooden spoons for extending the inside hand when the hand won't fit; trimmed brushes for slip, glaze, and other stuff too.

At glazing time, there's a few soup ladles (one is a favorite), turkey baster, ear syringe, inexpensive electronic scale, masking tape**, kitchen whisks (one is fitted with a rod, which chucks up to the drill), blade tools for mixing in that bottom bucket edge ...and more, I'll have to take a look, it's been a long slog with no Studio time since October last!
 

*It's easier to keep them sharp then to re-sharpen when totally blunted.
Side note, dressing off the sharpened edges of frequently used metal ribs also doesn't take long; a square-ish edge can also cut, however, the honed razor thin/sharp by clay edge is so much more dangerous!

**plain half or three quarter inch tape makes a sharp clean straight line.
For curvy, I cut the tape into strips.
The pinstriping tape is nice, however, heh, masking tape is inexpensive, and works just fine, given it is cut with a sharp tool.

Edited by Hulk
emphasis and qualification
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Years ago I was involved in an overstock grouping for school districts and other gov. organizations. I got several useful things from them, but the most useful was a box of band saw blades that were 1/2 to 5/8 wide. I did not have a band saw that they fit, but found that they made excellent metal ribs for wheel thrown pot trimming and other uses. I cut the band saw blade into 4-6" lengths and rounded the corners. I also made some with angles and sharpened with grinder as in open trimming tools.

 

best,

Pres

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I have a plastic bench scraper that is the best thing for scraping down glaze buckets. It isn’t really altered from its original form, but it’s an off-label use. 

I don’t own tool making tools, like a grinder or a torch. But I find that if you use your metal rib as a trimming tool to refine curves, it takes the sharp edge off just fine. Word to the wise: don’t clean your rib off with your hands: scrape it on the edge of your bucket!

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I am not much of a tool maker but I do collect little wood ice cream spoons.  You can easily reshape them with a knife or dremel tool and make a tool to  smooth a odd corner when you are doing a sculpture or hand building.  They eventually break apart,  popsickle sticks will work but the spoon gives you more options.   Denice

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Bamboo chopsticks work very well for any modeling of fine areas. Using a dremel or even a knife to shape them gives you a variety of small tools. These also work well for making whistles. . .cheap way to make a classful of whistle making tools.

 

best,

Pres

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  • 1 month later...

One of my favourite tools is a stone I picked up at the river. I've sanded it smoother so it's got for burnishing, and shaped it so one edge is sharper and a little pointed while the other side is rounded. It fits comfortably in my hand and I use it for pinch pots, smoothing clay into joins, burnishing and plenty of other bits and pieces. 

Edited by Kit
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  • 2 weeks later...

For me it is the bottom of a plastic trash bucket that I cut and modified as a splash pan for my CI wheel, which was literally a "barn find" that I got from a friend. Another is the top of a plastic trash bucket that I use as a trimming shield for my Giffen Grip...another is an old ceiling fan that I turned into a banding wheel...Bandingwheel2sm.jpg.d0254668658610cb0bfaa78758859502.jpgCISplashpan1sm.jpg.62f8f7a550c13f87fe7a0098856db789.jpgCISplashpanwithRisersm.jpg.12472d7ac7e553bfdf327343dbfe33dd.jpgCIwheelwithPanGiffenGripRisersm.jpg.67efd67fd12c211e661cc33d46b40534.jpg

Edited by JohnnyK
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