Being Busy

I have the opportunity to convert an old electric kiln to LP and found that leasing a tank is supposedly very inexpensive. This way I can get to cone 10 temperatures without shortening the life of my electric kiln, experiment with reduction and test glazes in an environment closer to a wood kiln. 

I’ve been working nights to get some more work done. It’s much cooler. The Georgia summers are just brutal with the heat and humidity. 

Night time in the stidio looks like something out of a dream. Living the dream 🙂

I’ve been using porcelain exclusively for a month and it’s a beautiful thing. I’m trying to push it to its limits, which means that my scrap bucket does not go hungry 🙂 

I am experimenting with some irregular shapes and found the issue of trimming the bottoms was a pretty simple solution. I used a large enough lump of clay as a chuck. I should turn a few sizes on the wheel and then bisque. I can use a small lump of clay (carpet under-matting or similar) as an adhesive. This will solve the secondary problem of not being able to bear down on the clay to get a good cut. 

I’ve been finding things to do indoors as well. So I have hijacked my own island in the kitchen for my small ceramics projects that don’t need the wheel. I have a beautiful backdrop thanks to my wife 😀

Been carving with the Mudtools brand tools. The Do-All Trim Tool is a Ferari of a tool and just gets better the more I use it.  The Drag Tool, I still need some practice with but there are a lot of possibilities there too. I’ve been making small guinomi chalices as they are small, quick jobs and keep my pinching skills up. 


Wheelheads and Trimming

Being a kickwheel kind of guy. I recently wondered if having a perfectly level wheelhead was a necessity when throwing as I’ve been having some trouble keeping my rims even and level.

trimming 20140505


I spent some good time throwing yesterday and creating a few new forms. Today when trimming I noticed that my feet were higher on one side of the pot and lower on the other. I was able to compensate for this by wedging the clay up under the rim of the pot by an 8th of an inch or so still keeping center and it cured it partially for that pot.

grenware 20140505.

I then put a level on the wheelhead measuring the level from front to back. Perfect. From left to right though we had a bit of a problem. Luckily on most ceramics wheels thee feet are of a screw type so that you can adjust up and down to compensate for level. Like if your garage has a bit of a slope like mine does.


So if you throw a pot and it has a “wonk” to it, when you flip it upside down to trim the foot you’ll see the problem where you are cutting unevenly. This is what you want it to look like front to back and left to right. Sometimes you might find that the axle has a wobble to it and the level might change as you turn the wheel. I don’t have this problem. Hopefully never will, but some folks say that a competent potter can work around that hurdle.


I’d say if you had a wobble in the axle or if the wheelhead was just really warped you should take it to a machine shop and have them resurface it and depending on what type of wheel you had they might even be able to straighten or create a new axle for you. Hope this helps as I spent a good bit of time wondering about this and finally solved it. It should make things a bit less frustrating.