Clay people have some darn impressive ingenuity when it comes to improving the efficiency of their processes. We get a lot of great studio tips sent to us from readers, and every month Ceramics Monthly publishes some of them in their Tips and Tools section.
Since I haven’t highlighted these tips on CAD in a while, I thought I would share a few on this fine Monday morning. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.
P.S. If you have a great tip to share, email it, along with photos, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lip Dip Doodad
Throw a flat lid shape with a knob approximately 6 inches in diameter and punch three holes at equal intervals around the rim. Fire this to vitrification (glazing is optional).
Clip the bottom section out of three plastic-coated wire coat hangers, keeping the curves at each “shoulder” of the hangers. One curve is used to loop through the holes in the handle piece described above, and the other is used to hook under the rim of an inverted vessel so it can be dipped in glaze evenly. Use the same sized hangers to begin with to ensure that the length of the wires are the same.
Place the bowl (or other vessel) upside down on a chuck or other support that will lift the rim off of your work table. This will aid in hooking the hangers on the rim.
Hold the knob on the handle with one hand and steady the vessel with your other hand and dip the rim into the glaze. Set the piece back on the chuck after glazing to dry.
Thank you to Doris Wadell of San Mateo, California!
In the past I would throw my trimmings into a plastic container and let them sit for a week or so to dry before reclaiming. We all know reclaiming works best when the clay is bone dry.
Here is a simple technique I use to speed the drying process. I purchased a pen/pencil container from an office supply store. It is made out of expanded metal so it contains many holes. The container was sprayed with black paint, so it does not rust.
When you trim or carve your pieces, throw the scraps in this container to air dry. It will take half the time to dry and you can swish the empty container in a bucket of water to easily clean it out.
Thanks to Craig Seath, Hudson, Wisconsin!
While it’s not cast iron with ball bearings, this homemade turntable is easy to make, inexpensive, and works nearly as well. PVC plumbing flanges can be purchased at any hardware store or home center and both flanges can be purchased for about $10. Just match the inner diameter of one to the outer diameter of the other. Cut two pieces of scrap wood; the bottom piece, which will become the base, should be approximately 2 inches larger than the PVC flange and the top piece, which will become the work surface, should be cut to whatever size is appropriate for you working needs. The top piece should not be unreasonably large and not more that a few inches larger than the base. Each board should about 1 inch thick and sealed to handle wet clay. Center and screw each flange onto the wood pieces. Add a little WD-40 for lubrication and you are in business.
Thank you to Dennis Allen of Lebanon, Ohio!
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