[Clayart] tools 2/story

vincepitelka at gmail.com vincepitelka at gmail.com
Wed Feb 1 17:03:56 UTC 2023

Hi Snail - 
I remember those old Amaco wheels.  They were very heavy, indestructible, and relatively terrible.  They were noisy due to the gear-reduction, and had a very limited speed range.  Some were only two-speed.  When I took my first pottery class at Humboldt State in Northern California, they had several of those Amaco, a couple of Shimpo RK-1s, and a couple of the earliest Brents, plus a lot of kick wheels with wood frames.  People would show up early for the throwing class in order to get the Shimpos or the Brents.  

Amaco had been very proactive in networking with all the school districts and with the businesses who supplied art supplies and equipment for those school districts.  They became well entrenched, and even after much better wheels and kilns were available, school districts were buying Amaco wheels and kilns and Alpine wheels and kiln.  I am amazed that there is still a school equipped with those old Amaco wheels. 
- Vince  

Vince Pitelka
Potter, Writer, Teacher
Chapel Hill, NC
vpitelka at dtccom.net

-----Original Message-----
From: Clayart <clayart-bounces at lists.clayartworld.com> On Behalf Of Snail Scott
Sent: Monday, January 30, 2023 10:19 PM
To: Clayart international pottery discussion forum <clayart at lists.clayartworld.com>
Subject: Re: [Clayart] tools 2/story

> On Jan 24, 2023, at 3:15 PM, mel jacobson <melpots at mail.com> wrote:
> Many of you have had the experience of having to demo throwing or 
> building in a strange studio…

I just did a demo at a high school where one of my former students now teaches. I chose to use whatever tools and clay they provided, since that’s what the students would be using themselves. However, I did not anticipate the vintage Amaco wheels, all turning clockwise in spite of the reverse switch, which appeared to been entirely ornamental. Someone must have set them this way at some point in the legendary past. (They were decades older than the building they sat in.) 

I dusted off my almost-forgotten Japanese-technique muscle memory and dove in, but had to catch myself more than once, working on the 3:00 side of the clay. The students will likely do better, having no habits to forget! 


More information about the Clayart mailing list