Tag Archives: trimming

Trimming splash pan

One of the things that I knew I wanted to build in my new studio was a nice big splash pan for my trimming wheel (I have a separate one that I use for throwing). I often use a large foam bat or a Giffen Grip, so a regular splash pan just doesn’t work. Plus the clay trimmings can sort of fly all over the place, so I needed something with tall sides. Over the course of the studio construction, I’ve been brainstorming different designs. Mostly, I’ve been over thinking it and over designing it. Suddenly last week I had a moment when it hit me- and the solution was the simplest design of all.

I always like having my trimming wheel in a corner.  Since I don’t clean up my trimmings every day, I like having it out of the way so I don’t track the trimmings around the rest of the studio. So I already had 2 walls  next to my wheel. Separating my two wheels is a wedging table. It’s bolted to the wall and I decided to add some sides to the table to keep trimmings and wheel splatter from getting over all the stuff stored under the wedging table. So that gave me the 3rd side of my box.

So this is what I came up with:

built-in-splash-pan

My trimming wheel is a Brent wheel that I picked up 2nd hand from a friend. Brent wheels have a metal plate under the wheel head. A normal splash pan fits under that metal plate. If you put the splash pan above the plate, you’ll end up with a spinning splash pan. So I definitely wanted to avoid having anything above the plate, but with plywood, I couldn’t fit it below, so I just went around the plate.

brent-wheel-splash-pan

Here’s a close-up of the plate and how the board fits around it.

close-up-splash-pan

I wanted to be able to remove the “splash pan” for cleaning, or if I wanted to use the wheel to throw occasionally. So it sits on top of 2 strips of wood screwed into the wall and the wedging table.

splash-pan-support

So there you have it. My super simple solution for my trimming splash pan. Of course, odds are you don’t have the exact same space as me, but the idea is adaptable.

I would love to see other photos of homemade splash pans, or other studio solutions. Send me an email with a photo and description if you have something to share: emily (at) emilymurphy.com

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Besides the new splash pan, it’s been a busy week around the studio.  The building out of it is just about finished.

I also installed a new clay trap under my studio sink. I’ll be posting photos about that on the blog soon. My last work table is built and the casters for it arrived today.

Over on the Emily Murphy Pottery Facebook Fan Page, the conversation has been continuing between blog posts. I can’t believe it took me so long to make a Facebook page, I’m having so much fun with it! It’s been a great way to connect with people and I’m getting a ton of ideas for blog posts from it. Everyone wants more tool making tutorials!

I recently caught up with several months of pottery blog reading. My Google Reader was full of unread posts. Now that I’m caught up, I’ve been adding lots of new blogs to my blogroll. I’ll be posting about that soon, but if you want to get a jump start, check out my updated list here. Let me know if there are any that I should add that I’m missing. My 2 main criteria are: it must be mostly about clay, and it must have real written content, not just posts that update Etsy, etc… My blogroll is connected to my Google Reader, so I read every blog on the list. So I have to have some sort of limits on it!

I’m heading over to Continental Clay right now to pick up some Grolleg Porcelain! It’s (finally!!!!) time to start throwing! I can’t wait!

Simple Tweaks to a Better Wheel Set-up

I have seen too many potter friends suffer with back problems over the years. It’s made me be very conscious about the health of my back and my efforts to stop any problems before they begin. Every potter who throws at a wheel has a different set-up. Although mine is based on a pretty traditional set-up, I have tweaked it enough to be both a more efficient work space and back friendly.
You might notice that there is a 2nd wheel in the background. I have a throwing wheel and a trimming wheel. I love being able to move back and forth between the two wheel and not have to clean up and change the set up. I keep either my Giffin Grip or my foam bat on my trimming wheel. I have it set up in the corner of my studio so I do not track any clay trimmings around my studio.

I know many potters who throw standing up to alleviate any potential back problems. For me this just creates another problem from being on your feet all the time. I think the most important thing I can do is to constantly change my tasks (throwing, trimming, wedging, decorating, glazing, paperwork, cleaning, etc…) and my sitting and standing positions throughout the day. Sometimes I will even give up efficiency for this.

Another thing that I did to help keep my back happy is to get a new throwing stool. After a ridiculous amount of research, I found this great potter’s stool: Artisan S-2 Stool that I bought from Clay King. It’s totally adjustable- both the height and the tilt. It tilts your hips into your work so your back can stay nice and straight. This has made a HUGE difference for me. I also put my non-pedal foot on a brick to keep me balanced and symmetrical.

You might have also noticed from the picture the mirror in front of my wheel. I started doing this a couple of years ago and it has also made my throwing life much happier. It took me about 2 days to get used to it (I had to remember to look up!). It stops me from constantly cranking my head over to the side to see what my piece looks like. It also makes a huge difference in the forms that I thrown. I can see exactly what is happening by looking straight ahead. You can make sure that each piece you throw actually has the shape that you think it does. The result is that both me and my pots have better posture. My back and neck are straighter and my pots end up having more lift.

I feel like I’ve lost a lot of time over the years looking tools on the other side of my splash pan. To stop this problem from continuing, I built this little shelf on the right side of my wheel. All the tools I use regularly are kept right there- nice and easy for me to find. (The mini-Altoids tin is perfect for a pair of bat bins). The tools in the picture are on the list of “clay tools that I cannot live without.” (I’ll talk about that in another post.) This little shelf mean less bending forward trying to search for the clay covered rib that has slipped under the splash pan…. My throwing bucket sits right in front of the shelf also for easy access (I’m right handed).

I realize how much I miss my tweaked space when I am teaching and do not have this set up.
A couple of (cheap!) things that you can do, even if it’s in a shared space, like a classroom:

  • Tilt a standard throwing stool by sticking a 2 x 4 under the back 2 legs. You can even drill into the wood about 1/4 – 1/2 an inch so the stool won’t accidentally slip off the wood.
  • Get a mirror. A hardware store, thrift store or Ikea are all great places to find a mirror. The just lean it up against whatever is in front of the wheel- shelves, a table, a wall. You’ll really see a difference in your throwing, and your back might be a bit less achy.
  • Keep your tools and water bucket on a stool next to your wheel. You can keep the stool clean by putting a bat on top of the stool, and tools and bucket on top of that.

update (10/29/07)- a post from John Zentner about his standing wheel set-up on his blog pots and other things.

update (10/30/07)- another great post from Anne Webb at Webb Pottery about her favorite tools and her wheel set-up.

update (10/30/07)- an article from the archives of Studio Potter magazine on back problems and potters.

update (10/31/07)- a post from Jeanette Harris about tools that she can’t do without.

How to: Make a Foam Bat

A foam bat is endlessly helpful for trimming large pieces, and having a soft surface to work with altered pieces on.

You will need:
*A new clean bat. I used a 22″ Hydra Bat from Continental Clay.
*High density foam (it won’t flatten out when you put a heavy piece on it).
*A can of spray adhesive.
*An electric knife.
*A Sharpie or any permanent marker.

Take the bat outside and spray the bottom of it with spray adhesive.

 

Spray one side of the foam with spray adhesive. Put the adhesive sides together and press evenly.

 

Put the bat, bat side up on a banding wheel and cut off excessive foam with the electric knife. This will give you a nice clean edge.

 

Place the bat on your wheel using bat pins to ensure it’s perfectly centered. Use your marker and ruler to make concentric circles. 
Until you get to the outside edge. 
Then trim away!