Wheel-thrown Tips

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How do I Use a Throwing Stick?

Using a Throwing Stick

Using a Throwing Stick

Perhaps you've seen these gizmos called throwing sticks. There is a photo at the bottom of this page in case you haven't. Learned from my friend Ben Ryterband at Mass. College of Art. The stick takes the place of the left hand (if you throw counterclockwise) on the inside of the form. Strategy used with throwing sticks is also useful in throwing forms you CAN reach into.

If you make a bottle-ish form without a stick, you pretty much HAVE to form the lower part before you "neck it in" because you can't go back an change it when the neck is too small to reach into. You can move the lower wall clay inward by pushing from the outside....... but not move it outward. Possible....but HARD.

I am sure that you have noticed that certain shapes of clay on the wheel tend to collapse easier than others. Physics in action.

So you pull a cylinder. Then you lightly bulge the middle just a tad. Then you start to narrow in the neck. You rough out the neck area pretty close to the finished diameter. Then you finish the shoulder curve and finally the neck details. Then the foot area. Bingo.

The stick can be used both to compress and move clay....or to simple stretch from the inside. The use of the stick (also called an egote in Japanese) allows this change of approach.

It takes some getting used to. You have to have FULL control of the stick, and learn to read sensation through it. Don't expect to master it overnight. I find that for most uses that you want the fingers of the left hand to wrap around it like you were grasping a pole to steady yourself on a subway or trying to hold a live ant in your hand until you could get it outside.... For me the KEY is the thumb position. It shouldn't be wrapped over your other fingers like a fist. This is the power and the sensitivity all at once in using an egote.

   
What is the history of the Potter´s Wheel?

Clockwise or anti-clockwise wheel

Most potters learn to throw anti-clockwise and if a power wheel is used it is unlikely to be reversible. However, some experience with throwing clockwise is beneficial because it makes one analyse one's actions thoroughly. Also some clays, notably those containing only a small amount of naturally plastic clay, eg, special bodies like porcelain, sometimes tire of being turned one way only. Some tear if the leatherhard trimming (turning) is done with the same wheel direction as the throwing. In such cases throwing is done anti-clockwise and turning is done clockwise. Also after throwing many potters reverse the wheel direction and burnish the leatherhard clay surface.

   
How do I centre my clay?

Centering

Centering the clay

The theory of centering is simple. A lump of malleable material (clay) is placed on a revolving surface (wheel head), forced into a symmetrical form by contact with a fixed object (the hands), and lubricated to reduce friction..........

Read this entire article 'Centering the clay' in the Articles section on this site
Or go to:
http://www.ceramics-tips.com/RscArticleV.asp?id=389

   
How do I avoid pinholes ?

Prevent trimming pinholes

Glaze pinholes often form in areas that have been trimmed, as trimming tends to open holes in the surface. To prevent, slightly burnish the trimmed area with a stone or spoon, while still on the wheel, or rub the slip from throwing over the area to fill the holes.

   
How do I centre my clay?

Opening up

Hints for successful openings

* Opening is performed at the same wheel speed used for centering, and it also involves the tensing of opposing sets of muscles when pressure is applied. The pressure used to open the clay should be sure and even, and the downward movement should be direct, smooth, and relatively fast........

Read this entire article 'Opening the clay' in the Articles section of this site
Or go to:
http://www.ceramics-tips.com/RscArticleV.asp?id=394

   
How do I avoid S cracks in wheel thrown ware

Avoiding s cracks

Have you ever had trouble with cracks developing in the base of your wheel thrown work? This problem can be avoided by following a few simple guidelines.
Cracks develop for two main reasons: uneven drying and uneven compression in the throwing process.
 Avoid uneven drying
OK, so you put your wheel thrown work in a drying cupboard. You even additionally cover the work with plastic sheeting, trying to ensure even drying. But if you are throwing on a bat, no air reaches the bottom of a platter, vessel or other thrown object. What happens? The top dries a bit slower. As the top dries, it shrinks and pulls together, cracking the slightly wetter and therefor larger surface at the bottom. Once a crack has developed, it is near to impossible to get rid of, even by turning (trimming). One way to avoid this might be to turn over the work halfway in between the drying process, but this is not usually feasible. So what to do? How to get that bottom drying at a similar rate? The answer: throw your work on plaster bats. (How to make plaster bats will be the topic of a feature soon to come.)
The bat will need to be moistened, otherwise the clay will pop off too soon and throwing will become an impossibility. After throwing your work, the piece can be lifted off while still on the bat, and the bat, work and all, can be placed in your normal drying area. After a few hours, depending on moisture content of the bat, the work will pop off all by itself, and may even be ready for turning that same day.
 Avoid uneven compression when wheel throwing
Cracks may not appear until in the firing itself, often even until a second high temperature firing, especially in fine clays like porcelain or porcelaineous stoneware. Rougher clays like raku are generally not so prone to cracking, unless you really treat them badly, as the grog tends to absorb a lot of tension. For finer clays, the best technique to get a consistently compressed clay throughout is to center the clay on the wheelhead, then cut off the clay with a cutting wire. Invert the clay and recenter 'upside down'. This ensures that the clay will be quite compressed at the bottom as well as at the top.
Combined, these two techniques should be able to cure most cracking problems with wheel thrown work

   
How do I centre my clay?

A how-to overview

The evolution of a pot
What are the steps from your hand to finished piece?

It begins with clay. Many potters today use pre-mixed clay which is added to water and left to age in large bins or we can purchase it pre-made weighed out in 25 pound bags.

First, wedge your clay thoroughly, 40-50 kneading
motions for a 6-8 pound lump of clay should yield good clay for throwing. When your clay is properly wedged and you have checked for air bubbles by cutting a cross-section to see if any air is trapped inside the clay body, you can affix it to the wheel head........

Read this entire article 'The evolution of a pot' in the Article section on this site
Or go to:
http://www.ceramics-tips.com/RscArticleV.asp?id=388

   
How do I attach a bat to the wheelhead?

How to attach a bat to the wheelhead

To attach bat to the wheelhead, you must throw a small
ball of clay, flatten it out to cover at least 15cm of
the wheelhead Create two grooves in the disc of clay,
then create a channel from the centre of the disc to the
outside,( this will drain excess water and stop the
bat bed from becoming too moist). The wooden bat can
now be centred on the clay disc, and ware thrown and
removed on the bat.

   
How do I avoid S cracks in wheel thrown ware

Introduction

Wheel throwing with standard clay. Again, a kiln is required. And once you are an experienced thrower you will undoubtedly want a large kiln, since you will produce pieces much more quickly than in hand-building. However, at the beginning I would recommend joining a class if at all possible. You can learn to throw from books or even better, videotapes, and some people do. But it is difficult. It takes a while to get the knack for throwing, and can therefore get frustrating unless you have interaction with an instructor and see other students struggling as you are. I think most people with no experience, buying a wheel and trying it out on their own, would get frustrated and give up. A class will offer you instruction, a kiln, and glazes so you don't have to worry about that quite yet. Your only investment will be the cost of the class, and perhaps some materials costs such as clay and a basic tool set for under $20. At some point you may find that you don't like to be constrained by the hours of the class, that you want complete control over your work (so someone else doesn't smudge the glaze, break, damage or steal your pieces), or that you want to do things beyond the capability of our class studio. At this point I would recommend getting your own wheel, and kiln unless you have access to someone else's kiln. However, if you are patient, you could continue to build your throwing skills, never firing anything but instead recycling the clay to be thrown again. It is tempting to want to finish each piece at the beginning, because you are very proud of it, but soon you will hate the look of those early pieces! so not even firing them at all would be a fine strategy. While you are in the intermediate stage, assuming you are firing your work, I would recommend an extruder. The reason is that you can make use of the hundreds of small cylinders you will throw, by putting nice handles on them and making mugs. Otherwise practice making hand pulled handles (shown in most pottery technique books.)

   
How do I centre my clay?

Defining the rim

Completing the form

When a successful form is pulled, it is completed with
refinements of the lip (also called the rim) and removal from the wheel head. During both of these activities, speed of rotation varies according to the stability of each shape thrown - greater stability allows faster rotation. Horizontal ware, such as bowls, will require a considerably slower speed. Fifty rpm is a starting point to experiment with for
slow rim refinement.

Refining the rim

Once the shape of the rim is defined, it is finished with a wet chamois, a wet sponge, or a lubricated finger. The finishing action leaves a smooth clay surface and may also make subtle adjustments in lip thickness and shape. Uniform lubrication is important for maintaining a centered rim during finishing.

   
Any tips for handles?

Protecting rims

Another use for a mouse pad is to protect the rim of a piece when you turn it upside down to trim, attach feet, etc. Resting a piece on its rim can weaken it. Even if you don't notice a crack, one might occur during firing.

   
How do I thin my walls when throwing?

Thinning the wall

Thinning the wall
The wall is thinned by squeezing the clay between a
surface of each hand and moving the hands (and thus the lay) upward while squeezing. You can pull clay from the outside, inside, or both sides of the clay wall, but pulling from both sides produces the best results. Customarily, the distance between your hands remains constant throughout each pull............

Read this entire article 'Thinning the wall'
in the Articles section of this site
Or go to:
http://www.ceramics-tips.com/RscArticleV.asp?id=396

   
How do I centre my clay?

Pulling the clay

Basic Throwing -

Pulling the clay

You are ready to pull the wall if the outside of the hump is
centered and the clay is opened in center. As your skill increases, it will become apparent that pulling can also have a centering function - many professionals use this technique. But as beginners, it will be important to pull from a well centered and opened form. If the opened hump is off center, the probable causes are either insufficient hand tension, allowing the rotating cylinder superior force, or
releasing pressure too quickly.

Pulling has three main purposes: thinning the wall, extending the form, and directing the shape.

Note: If further spreading of the bottom is needed, the indentation is made prior to pulling. The lowest portion of the wall is squeezed between a surface on the inside and another on the outside of the wall. This helps trim away excess clay which spreads out at the base of the wall by a method similar to the undercut described earlier, besides defining the base of the walls visually it helps the fingers in raising the clay up from the bottom of the pot.

   
How do I avoid S cracks in wheel thrown ware

avoiding cracks through uneven drying

Have you ever had trouble with cracks developing in the base of your wheel thrown work? This problem can be avoided by following a few simple guidelines.

Cracks develop for two main reasons: uneven drying and uneven compression in the throwing process.

Avoid uneven drying
OK, so you put your wheel thrown work in a drying cupboard. You even additionally cover the work with plastic sheeting, trying to ensure even drying. But if you are throwing on a bat, no air reaches the bottom of a platter, vessel or other thrown object. What happens? The top dries a bit slower. As the top dries, it shrinks and pulls together, cracking the slightly wetter and therefor larger surface at the bottom. Once a crack has developed, it is near to impossible to get rid of, even by turning (trimming). One way to avoid this might be to turn over the work halfway in between the drying process, but this is not usually feasible. So what to do? How to get that bottom drying at a similar rate? The answer: throw your work on plaster bats. (How to make plaster bats will be the topic of a feature soon to come.)

The bat will need to be moistened, otherwise the clay will pop off too soon and throwing will become an impossibility. After throwing your work, the piece can be lifted off while still on the bat, and the bat, work and all, can be placed in your normal drying area. After a few hours, depending on moisture content of the bat, the work will pop off all by itself, and may even be ready for turning that same day.

Avoid uneven compression when wheel throwing
Cracks may not appear until in the firing itself, often even until a second high temperature firing, especially in fine clays like porcelain or porcelaineous stoneware. Rougher clays like raku are generally not so prone to cracking, unless you really treat them badly, as the grog tends to absorb a lot of tension. For finer clays, the best technique to get a consistently compressed clay throughout is to center the clay on the wheelhead, then cut off the clay with a cutting wire. Invert the clay and recenter 'upside down'. This ensures that the clay will be quite compressed at the bottom as well as at the top.

Combined, these two techniques should be able to cure most cracking problems with wheel thrown work.

   
How do I trim and turn my pieces?

Early trimming

Trimming pots that aren't quite leather hard
Sometimes it is difficult to catch a pot at the perfect leather hard stage for trimming. But if you try trimming when the clay is too wet, the trimmings gum up your tools and get stuck to the piece. But you can do this if you keep the pot well lubricated with water during trimming. Dip your hand in a bucket of water and spread it over the pot. Do this periodically, and the trimmings slide off easily. Try it! Just be careful of pushing too hard if you've trimmed a lot and used a lot of water, as your piece may have softened up and you may push it out of shape.

   
How do I store my tools?

Prevent losing your Chamois

Lose your Chamois in your bucket of throwing water?

Stick a corner into an empty film canister, close the lid, and it will float. Or tie the chamois to a 1” fishing bobber.

   
How do I centre my clay?

Pulling and collaring troubleshooting

Troubleshooting
When learning to pull and collar, you may encounter some problems with the clay. Hard lumps or soft pockets of clay, air bubbles, and foreign matter (pieces of sponge, cloth, etc.) become more apparent and problematic in the body as the wall is pulled thinner. If you find such a defect, probe it with a needle tool to discover its composition and size.......

Read the entire article 'Troubleshooting' in the Articles section of this site
Or go to:
http://www.ceramics-tips.com/RscArticleV.asp?id=395

   
What are the basic throwing tools?

Tools of the trade

Beginning potters who doubt their ability to throw, or believe that throwing ability is an innate talent rather than a learned skill, should be pleased to know that history shows without question that nearly anyone can become proficient at throwing on the potter's wheel.

Because of their inexperience, beginning potters may
assume that most of the problems they encounter while
throwing are the result of a lack of skill. To improve their skills, beginners should be concerned with the advantages and disadvantages of the various tools, equipment, and materials used for throwing. At times a simple adjustment in tools, equipment, or materials will solve a problem.

Tools of the trade:

There are many tools available to aid throwing techniques.
A basic group of tools for beginning potters might include the following:

Elephant ear sponges for adding or removing water

Wood modeling tools or pencils for incising and for
undercutting the base of a piece of ware prior to
removing it from a wheel head

Wood ribs with one curved and one straight side to use in place of the fingers for pulling, flattening, or
straightening a surface
Needle tools with the wood end sharpened for cutting
and incising

Cutting wire or string for removing a piece of ware
from a wheel head (see tools to make one yourself)

There are a number of commercially manufactured tools
which you can add to this list as needed, and you can
improvise with common items such as pencils, dish
sponges, etc. Personal experimentation will help you
decide which tools and materials work best for your own needs.

   
How do I store my throwing tools?

prevent losing your pin tool

Lose your Pin Tool?

Glue a block of foam to the side of your wheel or another handy place, and poke the pin tools into the foam for storage.

   
How do I make a teapot?

Drying evenly

If you have ever had trouble with spouts and handles not having the same moisture content you can try this: when pots are firm enough place the spout and handle inside the pot and wrap in plastic, either until the moisture content has equalized (overnight should usually do the trick, depending on the ambient temperature), or until you are ready to assemble the pot. If you are storing pots for a longer period, make sure you use a thick plastic, or double wrap. Spraying the inside plastic layer with a spray bottle really helps to preserve moisture in the summer months, without any danger of the ware soaking it up and slumping.

   
How do I centre my clay?

Collaring

Collaring
Collaring is the term applied to centering or reducing
diameter of the form after opening. The hands collar in the same manner as centering - passing over the outside of the walls and squeezing them inward from the bottom to the top of the desired area..........

Read this entire article 'Collaring' in the Articles section on this site
Or go to:
http://www.ceramics-tips.com/RscArticleV.asp?id=390

   
What are suggested Storage Jar, clay weights?

Serving dishes, clay weights

Serving dishes.
Large cooking/serving dish. 2500 5 lb. 8 oz. 3.5 8.5 15 37.5
Small cooking/serving dish. 1350 3lb. 2.25 6 10 25.0
Cheese bell. 2000 4lb. 6 oz. 6 15 10 25.0
Base. 1500 3 lb. 6 oz. - - - -
Butter dish. 600 1 lb. 5 oz. 3 7.5 5.5 13
Base. 600 1lb. 5 oz. - - - -
Salt and pepper shakers. 400 14 oz. 4.5 11 3 7.5
Egg bakers. 400 14 oz. 1.25 3 3.5 8

   
What are suggested weights for pitchers and coffee pots?

Teapot, lid and decanter, clay weights

Large teapot. 2000 4 lb. 6 oz. 8 20 8 20.0
Lid. 250 9 oz. - - - -
Medium teapot. 1500 3 lb. 6 oz. 6 15 6 15.0
Lid. 200 7 oz. - - - -
Small teapot. 1000 2 lb. 3 oz. 4.5 11 5 12.5
Lid. 150 5 oz. - - - -
1-litre decanter. 2000 4 lb. 6 oz. 12 30 6 20.0
Small decanter. 1200 2 lb. 11 oz. 8 20 5 12.5
Liqueur or sake bottle. 1000 2 lb. 3 oz. - - - -

   
What clay weight do I need for mugs, jugs, teapots?

Clay weights for bowls, plates and casseroles

SUGGESTED WEIGHTS FOR SPECIFIC POTS.
This is a suggested general clay / weight guide to start a domestic potter on to what may be a great discovery of ones own venture. You must weigh your clay every time before you start work, and keep a record so that next time you will know exactly how much clay to use.
Item Fired size Weight lb./ oz. Weight kg. / gms.
Cereal bowl. 5 in / 12.75 cm dia. unturned. 1 lb. 2 oz. 510 gms.
Yunomi. 4 in / 10 cm – 3 in / 7.5 cm. 1 lb. 4 oz. 566 gms.
Tea plate. 5 in / 12.75 cm dia. (flat) 1 lb. 8 oz. 792 gms.
Dinner plate. 9 in / 23 cm dia. (flat) 2 lb. 8 oz. 1358 gms.
Casserole. * 10 in / 25 cm dia. 3.5 in / 9 cm. 5 lb. 8 oz. 2490 gms.
Casserole lid. 6 lb. 2718 gms.

   
What are some Hints for successful pulling?

Qick tips for pulling

Hints for successful pulling

* Keep the clay evenly lubricated throughout the process by periodically squeezing water onto the form from an elephant ear sponge or using the sponge over your fingers on the outside of the pot.

* Although lubrication is essential, the less water you use when throwing, the more strength and support the clay will have. There are structural limits to the support clay provides. Water, basic clay formation, centrifugal force, and the shape of the ware will all determine whether or not your pot will be successfully completed. If water begins to build up in the bottom of the form, use a damp sponge, inserted into the opening as the wheel turns, to absorb the water.

Shapes thrown on the wheel consist of walls which are
vertical or walls which move out or in from the vertical plane. Learning to move clay in these directions will help you throwing various shapes. Pulling and collaring are the methods of directing clay. Generally speaking, collaring moves clay in; pulling moves clay up or out.

   
How do I make a teapot?

Making Holes

If you make holes for a strainer, try using a drill. This is much faster than doing it by hand. A cordless drill is handy, as you don't have to worry about electrical cables or plugging it in.

   
How do I cast Plaster bats for throwing Porcelain

Throwing Porcelain

Throw fine porcelain work on plaster bats. The work will dry and pop off the plaster base when ready for turning.

   
How do I make a teapot?

A good teapot

To see whether a teapot is good or not, one of the many indicators is flipping the teapot over and see whether the mouth of the sprout, the opening on the body and the handle are at the same height, thus the teapot should be able to stand firmly on the table upside down. However, this rule does not apply on some teapot shapes that are unusual. It applies to most conventional shapes though.

   
What are suggested casserole clay weights?

Pots for pouring, clay weights

Pots for pouring.
Cream pitcher. 400 14 oz. 5 12.5 3 7.5
1-pint pitcher. 650 1 lb. 8 oz. 6.5 16.5 4 10.0
4-pint pitcher. 2600 5 lb. 12 oz. 14 35 6 15.0
Coffee pot. 1800 4 lb. 11 27.5 4.5 11.0
Lid. 400 14 oz. - - - -

   
How do I make a teapot?

#7

Hint 7
If you have trouble with glaze blocking up your strainer holes you can cut up a piece of sponge and stick it into the spout, butting up against the strainer. This will prevent glaze flowing through the holes. An alternative is to pour out the glaze through the spout, which also prevents the strainer holes from blocking.

   
How do I apply a coiled foot?

How to apply a thrown coil foot

Adding a Thrown Coil Foot
For many potters, trimming the foot is a process fraught with frustration. If the pot was not cut off evenly to begin with, the whole pot may list a bit, like a ship after hitting an iceberg. The same defect, if not visually dramatic, may yield a warped bowl in the final firing, as uneven parts of the foot settle when the clay reaches maturity. Add to
this the problems of soft centers, bottoms that are too thin to trim, and the sharp edges on trimmed feet, and you will see some of the advantages to adding a foot instead of trimming one.......

Read this entire article 'Adding a Thrown Coil Foot' in the Article section of this site
Or go to:
http://www.ceramics-tips.com/RscArticleV.asp?id=393

   
What are suggested plate clay weights?

Bowls, clay weights

Bowls.
Large, general purpose. 2600 5 lb. 12 oz. 6 15.0 12 30.0
Medium, general purpose. 1800 4 lb. 4.5 11.0 10 25.0
Small, general purpose. 600 1 lb. 6 oz. 3 7.5 6 15.0
Onion soup. 600 1 lb. 5 oz. 3 7.5 6 15.0
Large mixing bowl. 1800 4 lb. 4.5 11 10 25.0

   
How do I trim and turn my pieces?

Trimming and turning

How to easily trim pots

This section will help beginner potters to understand the basics of trimming. If you take our advice, you'll save time, energy and probably a few pots down the line. We hope it helps!

Trimming can enhance the look and lines of any shape you make. There are two secrets to getting it right.
You must trim at the leather hard stage.........

Read this entire article 'How to easily trim pots' in the Article section of this site
Or go to:
http://www.ceramics-tips.com/RscArticleV.asp?id=398

   
How do I release my lid?

Releasing a stuck lid

If you have fired pot and lid together, and find that they have stuck together after all, and you can't get them apart with normal means (tapping) you can try the following trick. Fill the pot through the spout half with water and place in a freezer until the water has frozen. Remove the pot from the freezer and wait until part of the ice has thawed and the block has released itself from the pot. (You could place the pot in warm water to speed this up.) The released block of ice can now be used to knock the lid off from the inside.

   
What is the History of tea?

The teapot

The teapot is not just a pot, but rather an ambassador of culture, a form of expression, a carrier of ideology and beauty alike. Clarks Brief History of Tea and The Rituals of Tea give us an insight into the 4,000 year oriental history of tea and its more recent embrace by occindental societies (17th C). The Japanese Tea Ceremony is described in detail as are other "rituals" of tea drinking.

Amidst the legends and traditions of tea are the more eccentric examples of the pots made to hold the golden liquid..........

Read this entire article 'The Teapot' in the Articles section of this site
Or go to:
http://www.ceramics-tips.com/RscArticleV.asp?id=401

   
How do I allow even-drying?

Line your shelves

Lining your ware shelves with newspaper is an easy way to keep the shelves from getting stained, and also keeps the pieces free of leftover clay particles. This is especially useful if you alternate between red and white clay.

   
What clay weight do I need for mugs, jugs, teapots?

Drinking vessel clay weights

Weight. Height. Width.
Item Grams lb./ oz. Inches Cm Inches cm
Drinking Vessels.
6-oz. Coffee mug. 275 10 oz. 3 7.5 3 7.5
8-oz. Coffee mug. 400 14 oz. 5 12.5 3 7.5
14-oz. Beer mug. 600 1 lb. 5 oz. 7 17.5 3.5 8
Chalice(cup only). 500 1lb. 2 oz. 4 10.0 4 10
Goblet(cup only). 340 12 oz. 5 12.5 3 7.5
Cup. 300 11 oz. 2.75 7.0 3.75 9
Saucer. 350 13 oz. 1 2.5 5.5 13

   
Is there a trick toThrowing Porcelain?

Breathing

Don't stiffen up or quit breathing while you are
throwing.

Relax and enjoy the experience at the wheel - even if it is frustrating at times. As a beginner many people develop a rigid posture at the wheel and worse yet they all but stop breathing as they are in the throes of throwing a pot or taking it off the wheel. Over time you'll develop a comfortable position for throwing. You should keep your arms stiff from the elbow to the point at which your hands contact the clay while you are trying to center it or compress it and when you make any major changes to the form. Otherwise you need to relax and breath and move
around while you are throwing.

   
How do I make a teapot?

Easy release lid

When glazing, try waxing the rim and inside lip of the lid with hot wax with some 100 mesh calcined alumina in it. This will stop the lid and pot sticking together (provided of course you fire them together!) and make for an easy release of the lid after firing.

   
How do I prepare the wheelhead?

Preparing the wheel head

Preparing the wheel head

Prepare the wheel head for throwing by applying a thin film of water or slip with your hand (wetting the wheel head is particularly useful when the clay is rather hard; when soft clay is used, this step is not necessary). Next, place a lump of clay on the wheel head and twist it back and forth until it is firmly secured. If there is too much water on the wheel head, it will take a long time to seat the clay.

Beginners should use soft clay, because it is easier to work with during most of the throwing operations. If the clay is too stiff to work with, you can dip it in a bucket of water and wrap it in plastic or wet cloth. You can also cut stiff clay chunks and wet enough, it can be re-wedged. If not, you can wet it
again, wrap it in plastic, and stored it until it is softened.

To attach clay to the wheel head without applying a film of close to center as possible. As the wheel rotates slowly, firmly slap the lump into relative center. No lubrication (water) is applied to the clay during this step. Peaks and valleys on the surface of the lump should be smoothed with firm, rhythmic slaps, and the overall contour of the clay should be forced into a symmetrical shape. If this is difficult, the clay is probably too hard. Only when the clay is firmly secured to the wheel head and relatively in center are you ready to begin the centering process.

   
What are suggested Teapot, lid and decanter, clay weights?

Storage Jar, clay weights

Storage Containers.
Large storage jar. 2250 5lb. 12 30 5 12.5
Medium storage jar. 1500 3 lb. 6 oz. 10 25 4 10.0
Small storage jar. 800 1lb. 12 oz. 7 17.5 3 7.5
Jam or honey pot. 450 16 oz. 3.5 8.5 4 10.0

   
How do I throw a pot?

Cylinder to rounded vase

Once you have pulled the cylinder to approx 1/2" thickness, start pulling out and forming the shape, usually 2 pulls, supporting constantly. Once you have the basic shape, work with a rib to perfect the roundness, usually two pulls. Remember to compact the rim often. If you have problems seeing the shape on the wheel, cut out a template and work with that to achieve perfection.

   
What is The History of the Way of Tea

#6

Hint 6
If you have fired pot and lid together, and find that they have stuck together after all, and you can't get them apart with normal means (tapping) you can try the following trick. Fill the pot through the spout half with water and place in a freezer until the water has frozen. Remove the pot from the freezer and wait until part of the ice has thawed and the block has released itself from the pot. (You could place the pot in warm water to speed this up.) The released block of ice can now be used to knock the lid off from the inside.

   
How do I attach pulled handles

Handles and lids

When pulling handles and making lids, it is often useful to make more than one of each. Then you can choose the ones that match your pot the best.

   
What does A gap between the lid during firing mean?

Weights for mugs, jugs, teapots

Item Fired size Weight lb./ oz. Weight kg. / gms.

Mug. 3.5 in / 9cm – 3 in / 7.5 cm. 12 oz. 340 gms.
Jug. 1/3 pt / 0.2 L. 12 oz. 340 gms.
Jug. 1 pt / 0.6 L. 1 lb. 4 oz. 566 gms.
Teapot body. 5 in / 12.75 cm – 5.5 in / 14.25 cm. 2 lb. 4 oz. 1020 gms.
Teapot spout. 8 oz. 226 gms.
Teapot lid. “Sit on” type. 8 oz. 226 gms.

   
How do I cut the Holes for teapot strainer?

Tips for Teapots#1

If you have ever had trouble with spouts and handles not having the same moisture content you can try this: when pots are firm enough place the spout and handle inside the pot and wrap in plastic, either until the moisture content has equalized (overnight should usually do the trick, depending on the ambient temperature), or until you are ready to assemble the pot. If you are storing pots for a longer period, make sure you use a thick plastic, or double wrap. Spraying the inside plastic layer with a spray bottle really helps to preserve moisture in the summer months, without any danger of the ware soaking it up and slumping.

   
What is the History of tea?

#4

Hint 4
If you make holes for a strainer, try using a drill. This is much faster than doing it by hand. A cordless drill is handy, as you don't have to worry about electrical cables or plugging it in.

   
How do I pull a handle?

Pulling Handles

Pulling Handles

This is the most common technique among studio potters, as it is time and energy efficient and gives the most professional result.

1. Roll a coil of clay approx.1” round.
2. Holding your arm straight up to the ceiling hold the coil and wet the other hand, pull down the length of the coil wetting your hand as necessary until it is approx. ½” round.
3. Just pull the last 2” of the coil now, keeping arm extended, pull handle between index and middle finger alternately with a rounded hand pull, until desired thickness(approx. twice the finished handle).
4. Place the pulled handle on a wooden board and continue these steps until the required number or handles have been pulled.

Note: Handles will go askew if arm is not held rigidly straight.
See notes for attaching pulled handles.

   
How do I ADD EXTRUDED HANDLES AND ATTACHMENTS

Additions

Adding extruded handles and attachments:

These are the easiest handles and lugs to make, though making them look a part of the pot is quite a challenge, but can be achieved with practice.

1. Crosshatch and slip joins and pot at locations of adhesion.
2. Press handle on firmly, wiggling until adhesion is felt.
3. Sponge to clean.

   
How do I centre my clay?

Alternative centering methods

Alternative centering methods
You can use different methods of centering when throwing large amounts of clay and/or wide-based forms. Because most hands will not cover the entire surface of large humps, more strength or leverage is needed to manage these forms. Consequently, the clay is manipulated from the bottom to the top of the hump - pressure is applied and your hands move slowly upward as the clay below is centered.......

Read this entire article 'Alternative centering methods' in the Articles section on this site
Or go to:
http://www.ceramics-tips.com/RscArticleV.asp?id=391

   
What is The History of the Way of Tea

#3

Hint 2
Try using a slip trailer for slipping joints when assembling parts - spouts, knobs, handles etc. If you find slip trailers from commercial ceramics suppliers too expensive, an empty plastic ketsup bottle works well.

   
How do I make a teapot?

Slipping joints

Try using a slip trailer for slipping joints when assembling parts - spouts, knobs, handles etc. If you find slip trailers from commercial ceramics suppliers too expensive, an empty plastic ketsup bottle works well.

   
What are suggested plate clay weights?

Notes on suggested clay weights

SUGGESTED WEIGHTS FOR SPECIFIC POTS.
This is a suggested general clay / weight guide to start a domestic potter on to what may be a great discovery of ones own venture. You must weigh your clay every time before you start work, and keep a record so that next time you will know exactly how much clay to use.

* Note: the wider a pot becomes, the greater proportionately the weight for the lid.
With this casserole, the weight for the lid is slightly more than for the pot. This is
because the lid requires considerable turning.

A rounder, less flat pot with a small opening would require less clay.
REMEMBER : these weights are only a guide. All sizes are approximate no
two potters would make the same sized pot from a given weight or type of clay.

Particularly important is to keep an exact record of the amount of clay required for the lids in a range of diameters.

If you record clay weights you use, you will soon develop an intuitive feeling for the required weight of clay to a particular volume or height.

In the early stages of throwing you will probably find that you use more clay than you really need to. By keeping records you will know how much to lessen or increase a weight should you feel the last batch of pots were either too large or small.

   
What is the Chinese wedding tea ceremony ?

#5

Hint 5
When glazing, try waxing the rim and inside lip of the lid with hot wax with some 100 mesh calcined alumina in it. This will stop the lid and pot sticking together (provided of course you fire them together!) and make for an easy release of the lid after firing.

   
How do I cut the Holes for teapot strainer?

Holes for teapot strainer

If you make holes for a teapot strainer, try using a drill. This is much faster than doing it by hand. A cordless drill is handy, as you don't have to worry about electrical cables or plugging it in.

   
What are suggested plate clay weights?

Casseroles, clay weights

Casseroles.
4-quart. 2600 5 lb. 12 oz. 8 20 12 30.0
Lid. 1600 3 lb. 8 oz. - - - -
2-quart. 1800 4 lb. 4.5 11 8.5 21.0
Lid. 1000 2 lb. 3 oz. - - - -
1-quart. 1000 2 lb. 3 oz. 4 10 6.5 16.0
Lid. 750 1 lb. 12 oz. - - - -
Individual. 600 1 lb. 6 oz. 3 7.5 5.5 13.5
Lid. 450 16 oz. - - - -

   
What are suggested Drinking vessel clay weights?

Plates clay weights

Plates.
Large dinner plate. 1800 4 lb. 1.25 3.0 11.5 29.0
Medium dinner plate. 1350 3 lb. 1 2.5 10 25.0
Side plate. 1000 2 lb. 3 oz. 1 2.5 8 20.0
Bread and butter. 600 1 lb. 5 oz. 0.75 2.0 6.5 16.0
Glutton plate. 2300 5 lb. 2 oz. 1.25 3.0 14 35.0

   
How do I make a teapot?

Strainer holes

If you have trouble with glaze blocking up your strainer holes you can cut up a piece of sponge and stick it into the spout, butting up against the strainer. This will prevent glaze flowing through the holes. An alternative is to pour out the glaze through the spout, which also prevents the strainer holes from blocking.

   
How do I make a coil pot

Burnishing

Burnishing

The technique of burnishing pottery can be traced back to ancient times.
Burnishing involves no more than rubbing the clay
surface with a smooth tool to produce a mirror-smooth surface.
In reality it has a compressing effect on the clay particles.
It can be done when the clay surface is leather hard and up until it is almost completely dry.

Most clays are suitable for burnishing although the finer the clay the smoother the burnished surface.

Suitable tools for burnishing include: Smooth rounded
beach pebbles, The convex side of metal spoons and smooth
knife handles.

After the pot is smooth, draw your design with lead pencil then scratch around design with a knife. Designs can either be geometric or organic

Once the pot has been blackfired it can be left without further treatment or polished with oils to enhance the shine.

   
How do I centre my clay?

cutting from the wheelhead

Cutting from the wheel head

When you are satisfied with the completed shape, cut it from the wheel head or hump. Throwing all ware on bats will temporarily avoid the problem, but you will eventually need to learn to lift ware from the wheel head to develop full use of your throwing skills.....

Read this entire article 'Cutting from the Wheelhead' in the Articles section on this site
Or go to:
http://www.ceramics-tips.com/RscArticleV.asp?id=392

   
Is there a trick toThrowing Porcelain?

Plaster bats

Plaster Bats

To throw - to form a ceramic vessel or other object on the potter's wheel. Throwing is not always a straightforward thing. It certainly is not something that is learnt in a few minutes. The finer the clay, the harder it is to work with. Sometimes a plaster bat can be useful when throwing these finer clays. Then, it is possible to remove a precarious piece from the wheel head without actually cutting it off -- it just stays on the bat and the bat is removed, freshly thrown vessel and all.
Here is a simple method for casting plaster bats......

Read this entire article 'How-to make Plaster throwing bats' in the Articles section of this site
Or go to:
http://www.ceramics-tips.com/RscArticleV.asp?id=400

   
How do I make throwing plaster bats ?

Make throwing plaster bats

Make throwing plaster bats easily with an old cake spring form. After the plaster has been poured and hardened, it will pop out easily from the mold. No more messy rings, no more messy clay sausages! Just make sure you do it on a level surface

   
How do I turn finely thrown porcelain?

Turning finely thrown porcelain

Ever had trouble turning finely thrown porcelain? Try glueing a piece of carpet cut in a circle to a bat and turning on that. The carpet stops the work from slipping with a minimum pressure on the foot, while the rims are protected.

   
How do I throw Porcelain

Throwing tips

Of the many types of clay, porcelain is the finest -- and the most difficult to 'throw' (form on a potters wheel). Porcelain, an 'artificial' clay, is certainly no material for the beginning potter, who would be much better off starting with a more robust clay like stoneware or earthenware.
But there are a few points that can be taken into consideration when throwing porcelain..........

Read this entire article 'Throwing tips' in the Articles section of this site
Or go to:
http://www.ceramics-tips.com/RscArticleV.asp?id=399

   
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