Tag Archives: claystamps.com

Tool Review: Bevel-o-Matic

I picked up some new tools at NCECA last month. One of the tools that I bought from Bracker’s is the Bevel-o-Matic from Todd Sholtz of Claystamps.com. I had wanted to talk with Todd about his new tool, but I kept missing him. So I brought it home from Pittsburgh and started using it… without any directions. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out how to use it, and I instantly loved it. After I got home that night, I checked in online to see what sort of info was up about this new tool. That’s where I discovered that I was using it incorrectly. Oops! But I liked how it worked and I’ll have to play around with it some more to see if I want to change my ways.

The Bevel-o-Matic is a simple tool for beveling the edge of a leather hard slab with a razor sharp cutter at a 45 degree angle so you can create a clean, sharp mitered joint. I’ve used several other bevelers that are designed with an angled wire to cut the edge but I didn’t love them. For the way that I use a beveling tool, I prefer the Claystamp.com beveler’s sharp razor edge better than the wire ones.

Here are some images of the Bevel-o-Matic in use:

Above you can see how I used the tool. (correct/suggested usage is the last photo). I hooked the metal Bevel-o-Matic over the edge of the table and pushed the leather hard slab over the tool. The clay is easily cut away leaving a very clean beveled edge. Caution: By using it this way, you do have the possibility of cutting yourself. I did like how hooking the bevel tool over the edge of the table allowed me to have lots of resistance and made it easy to cut a slab that was pretty firm. 

I have all the parts for my box waiting to be joined with the nicely beveled edges:

The parts went together perfectly thanks to good measuring and nicely beveled edges.
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Here is the proper way to use the Bevel-o-Matic. You’re supposed to drag it across the top of the clay instead of hooking it onto the table and running the clay over it.

Thanks to Bracker’s for this photo. 

 

Of course there are other options for beveling, and you don’t need a special tool…but I appreciate a tool that makes a job a little easier. If you’re a big hand builder, and you’ve been using this tool regularly, I’d love to hear from you.

 


Another note on Claystamps.com… I wrote about this company 3 years ago on this blog after I got a signature stamp made: A Potter’s Mark: Signing Pots.

A Potter’s Mark: Signing Pots

I just got a new stamp with my signature to sign the bottoms of my pots with. I ordered the stamp at NCECA, and it arrived in the mail last week. Todd Scholtz, owner of claystamps.com was set up at the Brackers Good Earth Clay, Inc booth.

He had me sign a piece of paper to get the right signature. I think that I wrote it about 40 times to get the feel and look that is most consistent with how I usually sign my work. The 10th signature ended up being the one that I used.

He then scanned the chosen signature into a computer and resized to my specifications. He then engraved the stamp and added a nice wooden handle. I am really happy with the results. It stamps beautifully- wet, leather hard, and even a little past leather hard all come out clearly and easily. If I want another stamp- smaller or larger, I can have the same signature, just resized. If you have some other sort of mark, it would work as well- whether you have it as a digital image already, or you have Todd scan it in for you.

I’ve tried to figure out a good signature stamp for years. I don’t like the chunkiness of a clay stamp for my signature, and the fragility always worried me. Rubber stamps are easy to have made, but they aren’t deep enough or firm enough for stamping the bottom of a trimmed, leather hard piece. This stamp seems to be a good alternative.
Take a look at the results:

The flashing from the soda kiln on the bottom of this plate could not have been any more picture perfect!

I have always felt that it is important for me to sign my work. Here are some thoughts on signing or not signing pots…

  • It is an historical record of the maker. There are lots of books about the marks on old pots. I’m not saying that my mark is going to end up in a book, but the idea of being able to figure out who made a pot, a print or a painting is still interesting to me. Having a clear and identifiable signature would make that much easier.
  • I own several pots by different potters that aren’t signed (or it’s hard to make out). When I bought them, I remembered clearly who made them, but as time has passed, some of those names have left me. If I wanted more work by the same artist, I’d sort of have to wait to come upon it again at a gallery.
  • Ceramics Monthly has started including the stamp or mark of each of the ceramic artists that are featured in their magazine. This seems to be some sort of recognition of the importance of the stamp even in contemporary ceramics (as opposed to the historical documentation that I talked about above).
  • The Potter’s Council is asking for potter’s to send in their marks to create an archive of stamps and signatures. They can be sent to: Jennifer Poellet, 735 Ceramic Place, Suite 100, Westerville, OH, 43081.
  • Over time my signature or stamp have changed and evolved. All clearly are by the same maker, but it is a way that I can sort of “date” my pieces, without actually recording a date on them.
  • I come from a family of artists, and the bold signature of MURPHY is something of a common occurrence on our work. Here is my dad’s signature (Jim Murphy) from one of his paintings:

I think that this blog entry will be the first of many about signing work. There is much more to talk about. I’d love to hear your ideas about signing or not signing pottery, or what your method is.

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