[Clayart] AUTOMATION -
robertgharris at gmail.com
Fri Sep 10 15:54:35 UTC 2021
During lockdown I started making my own ribs. I used purpleheart, which is
a readily available (and sustainable) wood that, while not quite as oily
as teak, is fine grained and very very hard, much harder than teak or koa
(and wear resistant!). And much much cheaper and easier to find. Added
bonus it really is attractively purple.
I treat with a 1:1:3 mix of Tung oil, marine spar varnish and turps (make
sure to dry for several days before use). I've been using them, without
much care (including leaving them in water overnight on occasion), for
about 6 months and they look new.
The original impetus was to make some throwing sticks with a particular rib
shape at the end. I liked them so much I ended up making a whole range of
ribs that replace my flexible metal ribs, when I want something stiffer.
My local Rockler shop sells purpleheart in 1 1/2, 3 and 5 inch widths and
1/8" and 1/4" thickness. I found that it is strong enough that 1/8" is
plenty thick enough. Use a fret saw or coping saw with a good blade, finish
and bevel with a file and then sand to a fine polish. (I went up to 2000
grit which is probably a bit excessive, but boy they feel nice). If your
local wood shop has a scrap bin you can probably find off cuts that are
plenty big enough for ribs. My Rockler store sells them for $5/lb. Despite
purpleheart's density (everyone who picks up my ribs is quite surprised!),
that is a lot of ribs!
You can also buy metal jewelry blades for fret saws and I made a few ribs
out of 0.032" brass too. They're great if you want a stiff but thin rib for
On Fri, 10 Sept 2021 at 05:26, Ric Swenson <ricswenson0823 at hotmail.com>
> Handmade tools are always a joy to make and use. IMHO.
> One of my favorite ways to make my own roulette wheels is to find old
> plastic (or even hard rubber) casters from carts that have been discarded.
> I use a grinder or a drill or a saw or knife to carve into the caster
> wheels (tread) surface in a calculated form or even a random pattern.
> Random is more interesting.
> I throw a cylinder and starting at the base I press the texture wheel into
> the clay as it slowly rotates and with fingers inside to apply
> pressure...bring the wheel slowly up to a few inches from the top. I then
> use the inside hand to press outward to get the bulbous shape I desire as I
> come up the form. Then collar the top few inches inward to form a bottle
> shape or form a galley for a lid. Most times, I thrown a lid off the hump
> then use the remaining clay to make the cylinder when making a jar. The
> texture can be a bit rough, so I use a small sponge to lightly knock the
> roughness down just a bit.
> After bisque; textured this way, a wash of red iron oxide or other oxide
> can be applied and sponged off the top surface of the piece...and then
> apply glaze if desired. I learned this basic technique from F.C. Ball in
> grad school in Tacoma.
> Application of more or less pressure when doing the texturing and the
> speed of coming up the cylinder can change the effect. If I find I don't
> like the texture I can go over it again...or use to a rib to erase.... and
> try again.
> I make my own stamps too and just bisque them.
> I have made most of the ribs I use. Koa or teak wood is best because the
> wood is oily and hard and not likely to crack or warp going into and out of
> the throwing slip/water in years of use. I always drill a 3/4 inch hole in
> most of my ribs to make them easier to grasp when wet with slip....and easy
> to hang on a peg board above your wheel. Ribs can be made of many
> different materials. Metal, plastic, stone or even animal "ribs". Needing a
> rib once during a demo I used an old CD to make the inside of a bowl form.
> Be creative !
> I wrote an article about ribs for CM back in the 70s. I will send you a
> copy of the article if you email me directly.
> Handmade is well made.
> From: Clayart <clayart-bounces at lists.clayartworld.com> on behalf of
> kathi at lesueurclaywork.com <kathi at lesueurclaywork.com>
> Sent: Friday, September 10, 2021 8:36 AM
> To: Clayart international pottery discussion forum <
> clayart at lists.clayartworld.com>
> Subject: Re: [Clayart] AUTOMATION -
> I don’t object to the clay stamps and rollers that people use. It is how
> they use them. It seems those tools only become a problem when they are
> sold by ceramics suppliers. What is the difference between using a gear
> from a toy for texture or a wood roller from a ceramics supplier that looks
> nearly the same. I used the top grill of my studio heater to roll out clay
> and then smash it into a handle. When I replaced the heater I kept that
> grill. A friend who does whimsical clay took a roller I use, roller it onto
> a piece of clay cut out a shape, rolled that up, fired it and now had his
> own unique roller. We all have found things to make texture on clay with.
> The creative part is how we use them.
> Kathi LeSueur
> Sent from my iPad
> > On Sep 9, 2021, at 4:58 PM, Carolyn Curran <cncpots2 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Ah, the everlasting debates we so love to engage in.. art versis craft,
> > hand building versus wheel, commercial versus original glazes...
> > Adding my own two cents, I have nothing against the wheel, plaster
> > extrusions, even 3D printing as long as the design and the idea come from
> > the potter, but I guess I have a real thing against clay stamps and
> > imprinted design rollers which are not designed by the potter using them
> > but are manufactured by someone else. I occasionally use clay stamps
> > imprints in my work, but they are ones which I have designed myself.
> > Snobbish maybe, but so be it. There are wonderful stamp and roller
> > designs out there which are commercially available, but it bugs me that
> > potter is not the originator of the design he or she uses. Yes, some
> > potters do creative things using stamps and rollers they have not
> > and of course nature has provided many found objects we incorporate in
> > work (like leaves, shells, flowers, interesting rock textures, etc.).
> > Some of my most creative slab work a few years ago was the result of
> > plaster molds i made of huge elephant ear leaves. I would roll out a
> > clay slab on the mold, selecting one area or/or angle to use in the
> > and no two were alike. I had taken something from nature and made it my
> > own. And how many potters have impressed leaves and other plant
> > into clay and created their own individual form or treatment ? Well,
> > guys, who feels like adding to this discussion?
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