Second DIY Clay Tools Video Contest – Finalist 3

Today, we are happy to present the last finalist in our DIY Clay Tools Video Contest: Christeena Gallahue and her recirculating water filtration system. Plus I have included the other finalists’ videos, for your review. Just scroll down the page!


You can vote for your favorite with the button at the bottom of the page!

We’ll announce the lucky winner of the Ricoh 430DN Digital Ceramic Printer from Digital Ceramic Technologies on Wednesday, October 3.


We hope you enjoy these videos as much as we have! – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.




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Finalist 3
Christeena Gallahue, Louisville, Kentucky


In this video, Christeena Gallahue explains how she created a recirculating water filtration system so that she could have running water in her unplumbed pottery studio.



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Finalist 2
Catherine Ries, St. Paul, Minnesota


In this video, Catherine Ries shows us how to make and use her multi-purpose slab cutter on the cheap.




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Finalist 1
Kevin Morris, Malta

In this video, Kevin Morris shows us the environmentally friendly and inexpensive water curtain spray booth he built.

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For more interesting homemade tool ideas, be sure to download Pottery Throwing Tools: A Guide to Making and Using Pottery Tools for Wheel Throwing, which is free to Ceramic Arts Daily subscribers.

  • Denise W.

    Wow! they are all so good. What if we make Kevin’s spray booth and run the water through Christeena filter?
    these two projects have a more limited number or us that need them, but I think every one will make Catheine’s cutter. Cudos to all!

  • Oops – whomever created this page gave short shrift to demo #2. That finalist would be my choice. Her tool was so simple and logically-straightforward that I could see myself constructing it as a good beginner’s project for a non-mechanical thinker.

  • Cissel G.

    I too have no running water in my “pottery barn,” and would love to recreate Christina’s system. Is there a way to get the instructions/materials in a written format or must I keep watching and write it down as I go. Brilliant!

  • My pottery studio is in an old horse barn… I have no sewage connection so this demonstration is very valuable for me! My only question is about water soluble components of glaze or clay???

    How often do you have to clean your five-gallon filter pails?

  • Bonnie S.

    I agree with the simplicity of the tool made bty finalist #2. I like to make tiles and this is such a straightforward way to accomplisgh the right size and square. The circle idea is also great. I use the circle form in my throwing with slabs and coils method and usually draw around a bat for various sized circles. This system seems much simpler and variable. I will adapt it to my studio use. I vote for #2

  • Christeena G.

    Thanks to all for viewing my video and for your vote!! It’s an honor to be a finalist! The items needed for my recirculating water filtration system are as follows: Silicone tube & caulk gun; 2 – 5 Gallon Buckets: 12″ worth of 4″ PVC: 2 re-washable air conditioner and furnace filters: one bag of each: play sand, concrete sand, pea gravel & lava rock; 10 feet of PVC pipe that is sized for your sink drain opening (mine was 1 1/2″); 8 PVC elbow joints; 1 T-joint; hose that is sized for your sink faucet and in-line house water filer (enough to reach the distance from your tank to your sink’ holding tank to your pump, and from your pump to your in-line filter -add an extra 2′ of what you think you’ll need -and make sure it can withstand the pressure of your pump); 2 drain hoses that fit the diameter of the intake/outtake of your pump; hole saw (diameter of your PVC pipe – this is a saw that attaches to your drill -about $12); drill with drill bit (any size – just to make holes in your PVC located at the bottom of your filtration buckets); You will also need some special PVC fittings(threaded) for directly under your sink drain(s)-just let your hardware store know the size of your drain and tell them you need PVC fittings for the openings; 8 -10 hose clamps (depending on your sink faucet – hardware store can help you with the correct number you’ll need); in-line house filter; holding tank, pump (I used an RV pump). Hope I didn’t leave anything out! Thank you again and good luck to the other two finalists! Very neat ideas!

  • Kathleen M.

    What great tool ideas!! All three are really wonderful ideas for tools and each video was done very well, great explanations and video. Thanks to all three of you. It’s a very difficult choice!! Good luck.

  • Loved Catherine’s video, but I sure would love to have the specific items needed to make one for myself…it went by too fast for me to get it written down. What a clever idea and just suits me because I do lots of slab work! Can’t wait to make one!
    Ann Byrd

  • Number 2 is not only simple but also more universally useful. The other two are very useful for those who need them, but I vote for number 2 and certainly intend to make one

  • All 3 videos are great ideas. I vote for #2, because this is a fantastic simple solution that can be accomplished easily and cheaply by most anyone. The other 2 tools are excellent solutions that will make potters in need of those solutions very happy…if they are handy with tools. I can see myself making a mess of those 2 projects. LOL. Thanks to all who took time to share their ideas.

  • Sylvia T.

    what great ideas from all three finalists. Good luck all.

  • I am always coming up with cool tools and loved all 3 finalists. My future studio was to have the same problems as Christeena. I love the idea. I may add a bucket to reclaim some of the clay before the other filter buckets she has, but will solve my problem. Kevin’s spray booth is a great tool for my friend. And Catherine’s tool seems so simple and easy. Thanks.

  • The Water Filter/Faucet entry really should be removed. It is problematic on so many levels.

    1. The filters she built are good for gray water. They will clog with any regular clay use. All such filters require maintenance. They need to be flushed, usually back flushed. There is no provision for this in her system. What happens when they get clogged? Does she break the PVC joints, take them apart, wash them and put them together again? Hours of wasted time.

    2. The idea of silcone sealing pvc pipes to buckets won’t work. The seal will easily peel off and the system will leak.

    3. The sump tank will quickly become a breeding ground for scum at best and pathogens at worst. Anyone have a hot tub they don’t disinfect? In a couple weeks or month, the tank will be full of gunk. E, coli and other germs will easily breed there. The germs can come from your hands, someone spitting etc.

    4. There should be a big sign saying “NOT POTABLE WATER”. Other people might think the water can be drunk or used internally or used to clean wounds etc. What other people? How about firemen, emergency workers etc.

    5. If the point is to wash her hands, she has a double sink. Put a bucket in each side. One will be the first wash (gets rid of most of the clay). The second for the final rinse and to use perhaps as water for slip etc. If the water is too cold, an electric hot water kettle would boil enough water to warm up a bucket.

    I’m a bit surprised that this entry made the final cut…. And I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but this is actually a very hazardous and expensive thing to put together.


  • Christeena G.

    D – My filtration system is meant for a private studio, not a university or public setting. If so, appropriate signs would need to be displayed. By no means is the water to be used for drinking. This would require active charcoal and other measures. The water goes through a filter system that is recommended for emergency measures when someone is stranded without water. The water in the holding tank goes through another filter-after it has been taken from the holding tank. You could always add another filter at the tap, along the lines to the faucet, etc. if you were concerned about E.coli, etc and have your water tested. I would assume there would be more bacteria in some of the clays we use. There isn’t a problem with the PVC clogging – if something is that large, it won’t go through the drain in the first place. The amount that goes through the PVC flows well and then lands on the top furnace/AC filters – which is easily removed. All-in-all, if someone were still concerned, a routine flush with bleach, etc. would be easy to do.

    The actual cost of all the pieces was under $300. I price compared, but bought everything new. Someone could buy used parts, except a used RV tank, and put it together for much less – many plumbers might have small piece of PVC to give away for free.

  • Christeena G.

    Due to the nature of our society, I should say that this is a “homemade” tool and like many homemade tools, you should always consult with an expert if you have any concerns or are not qualified to perform certain areas of making or using the tool. I am not an expert in water filtration or plumbing and have only my experiences to refer to. I’ve been using this system with no problems. There are no odors or gunk in the water and I have not had any problems with clear glazes showing any residual iron. It has been WONDERFUL in my unplumbed studio!

  • Scott M.

    I don’t agree with the negative remarks of Dan Remer above. I believe all the possible problems he mentions can all be solved:
    1) I wouldn’t be putting clay in great quantity into this system.
    2) The silicone caulk method of sealing joints could easily be replaced by another method, but I’m guessing it worked well for her since she is putting it in the video. I’ve seen videos of rainwater collection systems that use washers and solve this problem.
    3) RV supply stores carry a liquid (chlorine based) that can be added to potable water which prevents it from going bad.
    4) Creating a NOT POTABLE WATER sign is a two-minute project.

    Christeena’s system puts all of us with similar needs in a better position to create a solution for our lack of plumbing problem. The positives of her presentation far outweigh the negatives. I found the video inspirational and I plan to create a version of what she suggests.

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