Equipment

Before using any studio equipment, ask for an orientation from your instructor. All equipment must be cleaned thoroughly after each use.
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Potter’s Wheels :    Three brands of potter’s wheels are available at CAW. They are electronically controlled to hold speed when load is applied, and all have bat pin holes drilled on a 10 inch diameter.

Characteristics:

The wheels are pretty rugged, but they can be damaged if misused. Students are asked to take the following precautions:

  1. Turn the power switch Off before plugging the wheel into a wall outlet.
  2. Push the speed control lever/pedal to Zero before turning On power.
  3. Do not switch to reverse direction while your wheel is spinning.
  4. Do not let an excessive amount of water collect in your splash pan.
  5. Do not contact the wheelhead with metal trimming tools, or otherwise scrape the finish. Use only plastic or rubber tools to scrape clay from the wheelhead.
  6. Turn OFF your wheel when done using it; that is, push the speed control to zero, and turn the electric power switch to Off .

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Slab Roller: Our Brent SR 20 slab roller (shown below) can make slabs up to 20″ wide and 52″ long. A slab’s thickness is controlled by placing one or more hardboard, rectangular “shims”on the rolling deck. There will already be shims on the deck from the last person who used the roller. Try rolling out a small piece of clay to see if the thickness is right for you. If you want to change the shim thickness, more shims are stored between the roller and the concrete wall. Without any shims on the deck, the machine will make a 1 1/2” thick slab.

Canvas mats for use with the slab roller are stored on the shelf under the rolling deck. There are separate, labeled mats for each type of clay. Use only a mat labeled for the clay you are using; this will avoid contaminating the mat and your ware.  Cover both the top and bottom of your clay so that it can’t make contact with either the roller or shim during use. Fold and return the mat when you are finished.

Download a copy of the user’s manual here:  Brent SR-20 Slab Roller

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Extruder: …. We have a Brent 4 inch diameter extruder mounted on the shelf to the left of the main sinks. It is the best size for general studio use. An assortment of dies is stored just behind the extruder. You can make your own dies by cutting a circular piece of 1/2 inch plywood to 4 1/4 inches in diameter, and creating a through-hole design.

To use the extruder, remove the bottom end cap (pictured below), insert the rubber washer from the die box, place the die you want to use on top of it, and then reattach the end cap to the barrel.  Next load some clay; the easiest way is to insert a pugged log directly from the clay barrel; it holds about 10 pounds. Put the plunger into the clay tube, and begin pulling down the handle to compress the clay and force it out the die. The shackle will advance down the guide pipe as you pump the plunger handle.

 

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Spray Booth: A Paasche FABSF 3‘ commercial spray booth and power ventilator are located in the back of the ware room, along with a small air compressor for glazing.  Either a respirator or face mask is recommended for health reasons when using the spray booth. For instructions related to spray glazing and booth use, see Spray Glazing .

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Bench Grinder ; Dremel Tool : …..Glazes can sometimes overrun the foot of a pot during high firing. If that happens to you, excess glaze can be removed from your piece by using the grinder or Dremel Tool. A rush of sparks are often created during grinding; be sure to use a face mask to avoid particles from impacting your face and eyes. Also, the ground surface can have sharp edges, and be very hot; so be careful with your hands and fingers while grinding. Use the vacuum to draw grinding dust away, and a wet sponge to pick up any remaining glaze dust when you are done.

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Porcelain Wedging Bat : ….. A porcelain wedging bat is available on the studio potter table for wedging and reclaiming porcelain and white stoneware. Never use it for brown stoneware or terra cotta clay, and be sure to leave the bat clean after each use. Clean the bat with fresh water and a thoroughly rinsed-out sponge.

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Studio Scale : ……. An accurate pricing scale to weigh your finished ware is located on the bench in the ware room . The scale is powered ON using the rocker switch under its right side. Use the keypad to type in the price per pound, and the scale will read-out the weight of your piece and its total price.  Leave the scale’s power cord plugged in at all times.
Click on the following link to open the owner’s manual, which describes other functions, capabilities, and specifications:…….Scale Owner’s Manual.

scale

The Studio Scale

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Blow Dryers : Several blow dryers are available to speed-dry wet clay. Students are cautioned that accelerated drying may lead to cracks. Try to dry your piece evenly, all around. Avoiding large moisture differences will help prevent possible cracking later.

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Ware Boards : ….. Ware boards are located on shelves adjacent to the patio door. Use them to mount ware for slow drying. Please clean them with a sponge before returning them to the shelf.

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Chemical Room : …. The Chem Room is available for use only in conjunction with class projects and with the approval of your instructor. In that case, the class may mix small test glaze batches of about 500 grams. The instructor must remain in the Chem Room with you at all times. For your safety, it is recommended that a mask and gloves be worn while working in the Chemical Room.

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Kiln Room : ….. There isn’t any student equipment located in the kiln room.   It’s not a good idea to go in there and put wet greenware on a kiln lid to speed drying. The lids are simply fire brick, they are fragile and the underside can crack with applied weight. They are not designed for use as drying tables.

The kilns need training to operate, which is considered beyond the scope of our courses.

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