Throwing really large pots, and trimming them, is hard work. This is especially true when your pot gets to be several feet tall and you need to keep your arms and hands steady as you stand to finish your pulls. In today’s post, an excerpt from the June/July/August issue of Ceramics Monthly, Jim Wylder shares the tool he invented to lend a helping hand.- Jennifer Harnetty, editor.


PS. To see an adaptation to this tool, which can help with even glaze or slip application, check out the June/July/August 2014 issue of CM!




I like to throw very tall pots and this means I need to steady my hands while finishing the top. So I created an armrest to steady my arms and gain more control at the top of my taller forms.



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The armrest is made from a maple futon frame purchased at a second-hand store. The uprights are drilled with ½-inch holes, 2 inches apart on center (1). Two boards on each side of the wooden crossbar that extends over the wheelhead secure it front to back, and a ½-inch bolt on each end pins it vertically (4).The way the uprights attach to the pottery wheel will be different for each type of wheel (2–3). Crossbar The length of the crossbar will be different for each type of wheel. The crossbar has two holes on each end and uses half-inch bolts and the two holes for the bolts (4). One is in the center of the wood. If these holes are used, the crossbar cannot be moved up or down. The second hole is a half hole on the bottom edge in the shape of a slightly extended, upside down U (5). This hole allows quick adjusting and removal by lifting up. The center hole on the left end can be used as a hinge so that the crossbar can be pivoted up or down in smaller increments. The crossbar will be slanted if this is done. Coat the crossbar ends with Parowax so it will easily slide in the uprights. Set to a specific height, the crossbar can be used to steady your hands as you work on taller forms (6).





For more great handbuilding techniques, be sure to download your free copy of Five Great Handbuilding Techniques: Variations on Classic Techniques for Making Contemporary Handbuilt Pottery




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