During the COVID-19 lockdown, I decided to learn how to make pottery and, as a newbie, came across a problem when I threw a little vase on my wheel that had a smaller rim than its base. I had seen people online using some sort of chuck to wedge their pieces into so that they could trim the bottoms, but I had no idea where to get such a thing. I am a bit of an impatient perfectionist, and I needed something right away to finish my vase before it dried completely. 

1 Stack two egg-frying rings and tape them together with duct tape. 2 Lay a piece of soft cloth over the rim of the chuck to protect clay work while trimming.

I looked around my kitchen for inspiration and found two rings used for frying eggs in a pan and duct taped them together (1). I made some clay lugs to keep the chuck firmly in place on the wheel. Fortuitously, the size of this homemade chuck was exactly the same as one of the concentric rings on my wheel head, which made centering really easy. I then placed a piece of cloth in the rings (2) and gently wedged the vase in it. The soft cloth helped keep the vase in place and protected it from getting damaged while I trimmed the bottom (3). 

3 Center the chuck on the wheel and secure it in place with clay lugs. Place the vase into the opening and make sure it is level and secure prior to trimming.

I was so pleased that I had come up with a solution to trim my narrow-necked vase. Now I know I can throw more vases and I will be able to trim them using a homemade chuck, made out of everyday items found in my kitchen. Not such a newbie after all!