DIY Clay Tools Video Contest – Finalist 1

So, we were right! Our audience is a clever lot. The submissions for the DIY Clay Tools Video Contest are in and they did not disappoint. After much deliberation, we’ve chosen three great finalists.

We will present them today; Wednesday, July 28; and Friday, July 30. A link to the voting page for the grand prize winner will be posted on Friday July 30, and voting will continue through midnight (Eastern Standard Time) Monday, August 2, 2010.

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

DIY Clay Tools Video Contest
Finalist 1:

Joe Dillett’s Compact Bat System
Somonauk, Illinois


Don’t forget to vote for your favorite DIY Clay Tool video
July 30 – August 2, 2010!
The grand prize winner gets a $500 Gift Card to!


  • Subscriber T.

    awesome idea, i’m gunna try it and save so much space. read some comments really hope it works.

  • Mahdi A.

    its very good, i need more for throwing,thank you

  • Lynnley W.

    So Ingenious! I think this is a wonderful asset to the studio!The great thing about it is that your bat is the same height as the holder, and you wont scrape your hands when throwing large things, and it is so easy to remove the bat! No more digging under with sharp tools and then knocking your piece off balance in the process! Well done! You must have been an engineer first?

    Thank you for sharing this .

  • Daniel S.

    Unfortunately this is making simple things over-complicated!
    A smaller bat fitting with 2 pegs in a larger one will do the job as well. On top the economy of space is not worth the effort. Sorry.

  • I am one who thinks these tool-making videos ought to benefit ALL potters/ceramists. Not that every tool must always be useful to everyone, but for the purposes of this contest they should, as a matter of course. This demo does a hand-builder absolutely no good at all, hence does not get my vote.

  • Rodney L.

    i’d like to see that spray booth deal

  • Thank you, Joe, for sharing your ingenuity with us!!! I marvel at solutions potters come up with in the privacy of their own studios. We use what’s around us! (Probably because we work while the rest of the world sleeps!) Thanks again!

  • Joyce P.

    I liked this bat system and I think it has great potential. I particularly like the way the 7 inch bat slides out of the larger bat. Good luck. Let us know how the spray booth works, it sounds interesting.

  • Susan F.

    I’m with Larry,Joe has a spray gun system that sounds amazing. Great idea with the bat also. Keep up the great work Joe.

  • Sorry, It looks neat, but too much work. It seems like in the long run, it would cost more then a store bought one, and not much different. To me the point of homemade tools are that the ones in the store are too expensive, or not exactly what I want. I might buy it, but I wouldn’t take the time to make it. Good video though, very descriptive.

  • Laura T.

    Wonderful video demonstration of an idea I have been trying to share with my spouse. I have been wanting something of the same type so the center bat could slide out for some time, but the mechanics of it have caused much discussion. You have solved all the issues.

    I work with finicky porcelain and work in layers, too boot!. Each one needs time to set up, so I am constantly moving bats to and from my wheel. This idea will save unintentional bumping and jostling of work when it is still fragile and wet (not too mention, all that shelf space in a studio with limited space) that other bat systems I have tried do not offer.

    Thank you Joe! Maybe you should contact a bat manufacturer about putting these into production.

  • Elsa M.

    I am thankful for those individuals who share these 3M style adaptations on what’s already available on the market. I think Joe’s idea is a good one. Most potters are quite skilled with woodworking tools and could rig this nifty idea up in no time. Also a great idea for those of us that teach and always need lots of bat space on hand. For myself, I throw right on the wheel head for anything with a small diameter base, but could really see this being handy when I have students in the studio first learning.

    Great job Joe. Good luck in the contest.

  • Joan S.

    I think it looks great and will work well. I am going to get my husband to do this for me.

  • Mike S.

    Dude, you have way too much time on your hands. There are already products that do almost the same thing without all of the puzzle cutting. Way too much work unless you’re turning out tiny weeny pieces. Really not practical.

  • It’s a nice idea, but has some flaws. First, the corners of the cutout will quickly attract clay residue and keep the inserts from fitting. The solution here is to drill holes in the corners maybe about 1″ so that the inserts don’t touch at the corners.

    The more serious problem is that you are trying to register four sides of a square which means precision in four directions. The Creative Industries bats solve that problem with two holes, one of which is a bit big (a slot) and one which is a tight fit. That allows repeatability and precision in only one direction. I’m afraid this flaw can’t be solved easily. You would need to apply pressure on two sides to solve it (in a sense).

    So, it’s really not worth doing. One could take a big bat and put two pegs in it and then take any size (7 inches, 6 or whatever, and whatever shape –round, square etc.) and just drill one hole to match the peg for a tight fit and a second hole a tiny bit oversize, or use a milling cutter to make the second hole a slot. This could be jigged in a drill press or even done with a template with holes in it and done by hand.

    The point here is repeatability, ease in making bats and ability to remount the piece in register for trimming. I don’t think the proposed solution will be practical.


  • Subscriber T.

    The potter needs to be a creative thrower. If his work is restricted by space then he is already disadvantaged. No creative tool making can solve this problem.

  • Mel T.

    hope joe gets a patent on this idea! brilliant!

  • Robert A.

    No thanks. This tip is way too much work, when you can buy the Creative Industries 7″ square bats which work just fine. This guy is a good woodworker but does not understand time management needed to be a potter.

  • thanks. You don’t show how you made the marks for centering the 7″ square. Instead of a 2-part system, cutting the circular bat, could you not just put a notch in a whole circular bat at the edge of a centered 7″ square opening and then you could easily use a screwdriver or other tool to pry up the insert bat? I made one like that, and the only difficulty was centering the 7″ square opening in the circular bat, so I’d like to know how you did that. Also, the Plasti-bat is not exactly the same thickness as the plexiglass that I could find at Home Depot, which leaves a ridge that my hands ride over while centering larger-based pots, so I wonder if you found matching thickness material.

  • Larry K.

    Nice to see Joe working hard on a cool system. BTW Gang – Joe has a cool DIY Spray Booth too. It’s been a year since I was last at his place – he most likely has a moon rocket under construction too. One incredible GUY.

    Larry Kruzan

  • Carol D.

    This definitely solves the problem of removing the smaller bat – just the difficulty that I’ve always had with the “other” bats with removeable inserts! Good luck in this competition, Joe.

  • Doreen G.

    Wow that is great. The demostration was excellent. Thank you for the time you took to show us. Hope it pays of for you with a win.

  • Viva J.

    Too cool idea!!!
    one bat and 100 centers.
    Could the centers be of an absorbant material?

  • Robert B.

    I love this concept – If you weren’t so interested in removing half of the bat to get at the center square, you could incorporate one of the bat-pins into both halves of the black bat-puzzle. This way the pressure of the center being tapped into place would also put cross pressure onto the bat pins to stop them from ever getting worn and knocking. Of course, then you couldn’t just remove half of it to get at the center…

  • Richard L W.

    Nice but he should demonstarted a thrown piece as part of the demo so all could see how the square batch comes off with ease!

  • Julie R.

    Love it!~ Great idea for a community studio where bats can be in high demand!

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