Despite what the orange juice commercials say, nothing in a carton beats fresh squeezed. So, I thought I would post a fun and easy technique for making a handmade juicer on the potters wheel. Today, in an excerpt from the Pottery Making Illustrated archives, Dannon Rhudy shares her handmade juicer technique.
Even if you’re not motivated enough to make fresh orange juice every morning, a handmade juicer is great to have in the kitchen for recipes that call for lemon or lime juice! –Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.
A handmade juicer is a quick and simple item to make in the studio or classroom. They’re constructed like double-walled bowls (Here is another great project for a double walled pot!), and are both easy and fun to make—and they only require simple wheel-throwing techniques (similar to making a bundt pan!). To make a finished handmade juicer that is approximately 6 inches in diameter, start with about 1-1/2 pounds of clay, or a bit more.
Center the clay and flatten to approximately a 7-8-inch circle on a bat. Next, open the center all the way to the bat, making the opening 2-21/2 inches wide at the bottom. Raise the wall of the opening slightly (an inch or two) and use your needle tool to trim the inside of the opening. Bevel the opening about 45º, leaving the trimmed part in place. It will pop off later when the piece is removed from the bat.
Finish pulling up the center wall and completely close it. Leave a barely blunted point on the tip of the closed part. The walls of this closed form will be slightly thick; but you will need this thickness later. Move to the outside edge of the piece. Pull up the outside wall to a height of about 3 inches. Keep the space between the inner closed portion and the outer wall flat and smooth.
Using a 45º stick or metal tool, trim the outer bottom edge of the form. Trimming the inside of the closed form and the outside of the piece while it is still on the wheel prevents having to invert the form later for trimming – a great time savings – plus, it’s also much easier to trim this way.
Next, set the rim of the outer wall. I often indent this edge because it makes a great place for glazes to pool, which can give a more interesting finished surface. However, a simple curved edge also works well. Be sure to make a good thick rim, no matter the shape. Thin rims chip, and items such as juicers get a lot of use and are prone to getting banged around in the kitchen.
Once your rim is set, pull a nice spout, just as you might pull a spout on a pitcher. It can be simple or elaborate. Whatever spout type you like is the one that will work on your piece, but keep in mind the end use of the juicer.
Now you need to flute the closed form in the center of your juicer. The rounded end of a small loop tool is ideal. Start at the bottom of the closed center form and pull up steadily. Go all the way around the form, spacing the grooves evenly. When you reach the top of each groove, the loop tool naturally ends the groove as it comes away from the clay. When you have fluted the entire closed portion, pull a wire under the whole piece. Lift the bat off the wheel. Set aside to reach a soft-leather-hard stage.
When the piece is stiff enough, attach any handle you like, opposite the spout.
After the whole piece has dried enough to handle without distorting, remove it from the bat. Extract any bits of clay remaining on the inside bottom edge and on the outer edge. Smooth with a damp sponge. Use a plastic kitchen scrubber to remove any bits stuck to the fluted part of the piece. Do not round the edges of the fluting because those edges are what make the juicer
Keep in mind that handmade juicers are mainly used for juicing citrus and other acidic foods. Choose stable glazes for this project, and your handmade juicer will both work well and look good for a long time to come.