[Clayart] homemade tools

Mahaffey, Rick rmahaffey at tacomacc.edu
Mon Jan 9 14:00:36 EST 2017

We have made tools out of either Power hacksaw blades or heavier bandsaw blades.   You will need to heat them to red heat to bend them without breaking and then re-harden them by re-heating to red heat and quenching them in water or oil (place the red hot tool into a bath of water) after sharpening the first time.  You will need to grind off the teeth once you have softened the blade since metal cutting blades are really hard.  Be sure to wear eye protection when using a grinding wheel and NEVER stand in front of a grinder on start up - if the wheels are cracked they will explode on start up so stand to the side until the grinder is running full speed for safety.  Also, no loose clothing or unsecured long hair, necklaces etc.

You can go by a machine shop or metal fabricator and tell them what you want to do and ask if they have any discarded blades.  The tools I have made this way or really good and don't often need sharpening despite trimming groggy clay.

To sharpen them I use a Green grinding wheel meant for carbide tools.  The green wheels are great for grinding glaze drips on the bottom of pots and last a long time as a bonus.

Rick Mahaffey
Ceramics dept.
Tacoma, Community College
6501 So. 19th St.
Tacoma, WA 98466

office phone: 253-566-5260                 ceramics studio phone:  253-566-5346

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