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Rolling Slabs Without Texture Imprints

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Has anyone discovered a material other than the heavy canvas that can be used with a slab roller that won't leave texture that has to be smoothed out? I am doing a big school project and need 140 7" squares without a texture and don't want to have to smooth all of them. I have 1 slab mat but it gets wet if I use it for much on the same day.

 

Could I use the fabric backed vinyl?

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I also use slab mats. To extend the use of the mats when doing multiple slabs, I dust the slab mats with corn starch (I put corn starch into a small muslin bag and shake it over the slab mat; you can also use a soft paint brush.) That helps keep moisture from the mats from absorbing clay moisture. Also, you can use a plastic plaster trowel to take the canvas impression off of a slab -- I get mine from the paint department at Home Depot. A couple, three swipes covers an entire slab -- much more efficient than using a throwing rib.

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Has anyone discovered a material other than the heavy canvas that can be used with a slab roller that won't leave texture that has to be smoothed out? I am doing a big school project and need 140 7" squares without a texture and don't want to have to smooth all of them. I have 1 slab mat but it gets wet if I use it for much on the same day.

 

Could I use the fabric backed vinyl?

 

 

We also use old sheets, and pillow cases, to get a fairly smooth surface. Another approach for even less pattern (there is a very minute pattern left by the cloth form a sheet or pillow case) is to place several layers of newspaper onto the slab roller, on the canvas; place the clay onto the paper near the rollor, and lay several more sheets over the top to receive the stretched-out piece of clay when you've run it through the roller. The paper is not re-usable afterward, but if you have a sack of old newspapers for recycling, this is one good way to re-use them, and get even less texture on your rolled clay.

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You can also try contacting a local printing company (a large one that does offset printing, not a small one that only does digital printing), and ask if they are throwing out any "printer blankets." These are thin rubber mats with fabric bonded to one side. The fabric has a very fine weave texture like a bed sheet, so they don't leave a visible texture. And I also use corn starch to keep them from getting soggy, but only if I have a lot of slabs to roll in one day.

 

Printers throw these out on a regular basis, I once asked a printer for one, and she gave me six. They will stink like printing ink at first, but the smell goes away. Their useful life for the printer is over, but they will still last a lifetime for a potter.

 

They're free, and recycled!

 

Mea

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I also use a 24" sheetrock metal edge when needed to smooth the slabs, but usually the slab mat smooth side is sufficient.

My slab are transferred to sheetrock covered with newsprint paper and left to dry. This fast action leaves the slab matts dry.

If they ever do get wet from absorbing moisture from the slabs, they dry out quickly...at least in Montana where humidity is low or in S. Texas where the A/C runs in the studio.

Marcia

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Has anyone discovered a material other than the heavy canvas that can be used with a slab roller that won't leave texture that has to be smoothed out? I am doing a big school project and need 140 7" squares without a texture and don't want to have to smooth all of them. I have 1 slab mat but it gets wet if I use it for much on the same day.

 

Could I use the fabric backed vinyl?

 

 

I use Tyvek, and have for decades. A search of this site will yield more info.

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