Wheel Reviews Has anyone made a recent purchase?
Posted 08 October 2010 - 06:53 AM
Stewart wheels...excellent and a workhorse. I had one with a motorized fly wheel.
Bailey , my current wheel. It is not really fast, but fast enough for my purpose. I like the easy-to-clean splash pan with a drain and the leg extensions.
Lockerbies, heavy and smooth, but tough to relocate.
Brent wheels..we had these at the U. Student abuse like stomping on the pedal can really create problems. The foot pedals needed adjustment frequently. For individual use, you probably wouldn't abuse it.
Arista..a little table top model. Good little wheel to haul to demos or to use with kids.
I built a kick wheel 40 years ago. the fly wheel had 2x4 s separating the "grapefruit sections to load with gravel. Then cover with a plywood top. Could empty to move it. The design is probably online somewhere.
Go to a supply store and test drive one. Wheels all have idiosyncratic appeal.
Posted 08 October 2010 - 12:11 PM
I figured for my use, best bang for the buck.
Only thing I've noticed is that it tends to speed up when trying to center over 12 or so pounds of clay. Odd deal that. But explained here.
The foot peddle is (was) very accurate, though I'm going to have to reserach the adjustment part, it seems to be sticking.
Any knowledge of this is welcome...
Posted 08 October 2010 - 12:56 PM
I also have a Lockerbie kickwheel...... a real beauty. Love it for certain forms and trimming. And a couple of Randall kickwheels. Those are all almost indestructible.
I've had older Brent C wheels at a number of the schools that I've taught at over the years. They stood up VERY well to abuse. BUT.... the newer ones since they were bought out are not made as well as the older ones were. Prone to little issues due to cheaper construction.
We also have some Shimpo Whispers at the school now. They are great for the classroom....... VERY quiet and reasonably powered for most student work. However, I find that if I try to throw large on them (centering 25-50 lbs) that I can bog them down instantly. I keep waiting for them to come up with a higher horsepower version that is as quiet. I'll buy it. My old CXC is a workhorse.... but it is noisy.
Shimpo makes some wheels in Japan that they do not ship to the USA. Expensive... but great.
Maybe attend some workshops at a couple of larger institutions that have various wheels and see what you like. Hobby type needs differ from a professional's concerns.
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art
Posted 10 October 2010 - 09:02 PM
Posted 10 October 2010 - 10:17 PM
Yes, the wheel must fit the potter. that said, I used several different wheels. Learned on a Randall motorized kick in college, and as with all motorized kicks you needed to learn its way to get larger-heavier amounts of clay. You also learned a lot about timing and slow down with the friction. The other motorized kick I used was Amacos with the cast aluminum pan. Large flywheel, so a large frame. I was a good wheel, and again it would throw large if you learned its rhythm. In grad school I used my first motorized wheels-Brent C's dumped a bucket of water on the Prof's feet first time out-looked like an idiot when that 15lb ball of clay flew into the bucket! The C was a real work horse, and I got to realize a new type of rhythm-one I controlled. Then in HS teaching I had Creative Industries MP and HP wheels. The MP didn't like me as it groaned when I threw on it. The HP would take anything I threw on it and keep right on spinning! When they were too expensive in the late 90's I switched to Bailey's with the removable splash pan for real easy clean up. They were the larger motors, and a real smooth wheel to work on at a good price. My personal wheels though are an Amaco motorized kick that I bought for $125 used, and a Brent CXC that I bought in the 90's because I wanted a direct drive wheel. I love the CXC and it has held up really well even when I throw a 40 lb piece on it and center in a few minutes. I open up pounding, and then throw mostly dry. The wheel takes it all well!
Posted 10 October 2010 - 11:36 PM
Heh. I think we all felt this way at one time. But here's how it goes:
You start making pottery (or carving wood, or weaving tapestry, or whatever), and you find that you like it. So you make more. Soon, you have all this pottery sitting around your studio, then in the house, everywhere. Your significant other starts gently reminding you how much pottery you have. So you give some to family. You give some to friends. It magically gets replaced with more! So you give more away.
Soon, family and friends politely decline your offer of another serving bowl or mug or garlic keeper. If you persist, they IMPOLITELY decline, or cross the street when they see you coming! So the pottery mounts up even more. You want to make more pottery (addictive? Don't get me started!) but you can't afford to add an addition to your house for your growing pottery collection. So what do you do to get rid of some pottery, buy supplies and tools to make more, and keep learning? You start to SELL pottery! Then, my friend:
YOU ARE IN THE POTTERY BUSINESS.
As far as buying a wheel goes, I remember the agony I used to go through when buying stereo or photography equipment. I used to compare prices and features for weeks, until I couldn't decide what to do. One day I decide to just STOP, and when I found something I liked, to stop looking and buy THAT item, and live with my decision. It's worked out pretty well.
I bet you are old enough to remeber the old Ford/Chevy rivalry that went (goes?) on if you live in the US. It's the same with wheels. Brent is good. Brent sucks. Shimpo is best. Shimpo is no good. Skutt rules. Skutt is a joke. To each their own, so my simple, blunt, and circuitously-arrived-at advice is : buy a Brent C and start making things to give to your family and friends.
To quote Tim Gunn : "Go,go,go!"
Posted 18 October 2010 - 11:54 PM
It all depends on what fits you. Like the other posters , learned on a randel kickwheel , then a brent electric and shimpos. I went w/ creative industry 30 yrs ago and never looked back - the quietest at the time.
Remeber whatever brand you get to adjust it to your sitting hght to keep your back straight.
Best resource is to try to get to NCECA if it's ever near you > try different wheels out, also if there is university, art centers, ceramic guilds anywhere near you > see if you can test drive the wheels - everyplace has different setup and wheels. Enjoy the search , pick the one that's the best "fit" because it'll last you forever.