Replaceable Bat Pin Inserts

This photo shows the bottom of a finished plaster bat with replaceable inserts in place.

This Tip of the Week comes to us from Jim Wylder of Lake Oswego, Oregon. Jim got tired of the bat pin holes on his plaster bats chipping and enlarging with wear. So he took matters into his own hands and came up with this creative solution. – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.

Every potter who wants to throw on plaster bats faces the problem of bat-pin holes chipping or enlarging with wear. I have discovered a way to make plaster bats with replaceable vinyl inserts.

Drill 1/2-inch holes in a plastic cutting board, about 2 inches apart. Cut between the holes with a hand saw, so you have several squares with holes in the middle. It is best if the cuts are a bit rough. Insert flexible vinyl tubing (3/8-inch internal diameter, 1/2-inch outer diameter) into the holes and cut it off flush with a razor blade.

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Put mold release on your wheel head, then put the tubing/block insert on the bat pins. Secure a 2 X 48-inch strip of roofing felt around the wheel head with a band clamp and seal all joints with a coil of clay.

For a 1-inch-thick bat on a 14-inch wheel head, mix 4.3 pounds of water with 6.3 pounds of plaster. Pour the plaster into the mold you have made on the wheel head and wait about an hour. You now have a plaster bat with a snug fit and replaceable bat pin holes. When they wear out, simply replace the tubing inserts.

Click here to learn about canvas bats.

**First published in 2008.
  • Jillian L.

    RE: Replaceable Bat Pin Inserts
    Posted By Jim Wylder On March 21, 2008

    Thank you so much for re-posting this. It is an incredibly simple, elegant way to make bats that work for me!

  • Zen,
    The band clamp is roofing felt. I cut it in a strip long enough to go a round the wheel head plus an overlap of a few inches. The two ‘grey’ stripes you see in the second photo is duct tape to hold the ends together. Use a few more pieces of tape on the outside to hold the felt in place. Use a small coil of clay to seal the inside edge between the wheel head and the roofing felt. If you are careful you can use the roofing felt for umpteen more bats.
    Jim W.

  • Well, now I wish I hadn’t tossed that poly cutting board I accidentally partially melted on the burner!

    Where do you get a band clamp that big?

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