Tips and Tools: Fitting Spouts

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1 Tiffany Hilton’s teapot, wheel-thrown stoneware, fired to cone 8 in oxidation, 2015. Photo: John Polak.

Fitting teapot spouts can be a difficult task. Try using a circle template to make the process easier.

Making teapots can seem like the ultimate challenge. Cutting spouts at the right angle to fit the body has always been the hardest part for me. Recently I had a revelation when I thought to use one of my circle templates to trace a line at the angle I wanted while fitting spouts (2). These plastic templates are readily available at your local art supply store or online and come in various sizes.

A practice that I keep and recommend to my students is to always throw several spouts for each teapot so that you have multiple options to choose from. Try making teapots in a series of 3 or 4 at a time and throw at least 8 spouts to work with. Start with a larger diameter circle that fits your spout and move the spout to find the angle you are looking for (3), then mark the line and cut with a knife (4, 5). Remember you can always cut more or adjust the angle slightly as you work to find the right fit. Attaching spouts at a soft leather-hard state offers the best results as you can still mold the cut edge to fit the body (6, 7).

the author Tiffany Hilton is a full-time potter in Northampton, Massachusetts , who loves teaching people how to make pots. Learn more at www.tiffanyhilton.com.

2 All of the tools (including the plastic circle templates) used to fit and attach a teapot spout. 3, 4 Use the circle template to determine what angle the spout will need to be cut at and trace a line. 3, 4 Use the circle template to determine what angle the spout will need to be cut at and trace a line.

5, 6 Cut with a sharp knife and smooth off the edges for a clean line. 5, 6 Cut with a sharp knife and smooth off the edges for a clean line. 7 Test your fit and make adjustments as needed. Attach the teapot spout.
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