How to Make a Handmade Juicer on the Pottery Wheel

Learning how to throw a handmade juicer has never been easier!

handmade juicerDespite 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.

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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.

**First published in 2010
  • Debbie w.

    I made a couple of these last night in my pottery class and LOVED it. It was so much easier than I thought it would be. As a matter of fact my whole class made a couple. The teacher really liked the idea. Thanks

  • nelly e.

    HOla, me encanto, pero no tengo torno. Vivo en la Florida, EEUU, alguien sabe quien esta vendiendo un torno usado? mi correo es Gracias

  • This is wonderful. I’m moving back to Central Florida soon and one thing that is a surplus there is fresh citrus fruit, often from someone’s own back yard. I’m going to try this as soon as I’m back in the studio!

  • Hi, well done that is great
    Please advice me on how to construck a kick wheel please Thanks.

  • I’ll have to give this a whirl as soon as i get my new kick wheel. (pun intended)

  • Darrel P.

    Great idea, I’m always looking for something new to tackle. As for the question of what to do with the seeds! I’ve been using juicers for years and we always pour the juice and all (seeds) thur a strainer. End of problem. Darrel P

  • Francine P.

    Sharon, I like your idea of the double wall to catch the seeds…very clever, I will try it and see which one I prefer. Thanks.

  • Francine P.

    Thank you Dannon for this great project, it was very clearly explained. I will try to make one soon.

  • Sharon B.

    I make a “seed strainer” by pulling a small wall just outside the center mound and then press dents into it, allowing the juice to drain into the bowl and trap seeds.

  • Marilyn R.

    Thank you for your wonderful ideas. I like the idea of leaving the wall with strainer holes and then adding the spout. I’m new to pottery, but this looks like it might be achievable, once again, thank you. Great idea and I love the technique.

  • Margrus K.

    I love juicers, antique glass ones. This looks like a great project and would make a really nice gift. I’ll try it when class starts again. Thanks

  • I like taking a small wad of clay to pull strap handles. Great for holding while juiceing. And o usually trim my feet in so my bowl is taller and,a little wider. I am sure they all work well!

  • Great Piece! Simple to make, to strain seeds make a strainer on the inside of the spout or let wall straight make holes for a strainer and attach a spout. Keep up the great work! Always enjoy new and sometimes old idea’s.

  • what happens to the seeds? you still need to strain them out?

  • there is a reason some things are better left not made out of clay

  • Christine P.

    I love making juicers similar to this! I prefer mine a bit shallower and wider, to leave room for the citrus half and the hand that has to do the squeezing work.
    I’ve made a few different sizes… smaller centers are good for lemons and limes, and larger ones for juicing grapefruits.
    Thank you for this post!

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