The Onggi Wheel: A Modern Approach to an Ancient Tool

In today’s post, we’re sharing a fun video made by potter Ronald Shaw. In the video, Ronald demonstrates how he built an Onggi potter’s wheel with just a few tools, several ready-made round tabletops, and some inexpensive home-store accessories. Then he makes an impressive carved pot on it! – Jennifer Harnetty, editor. 

I’ve always been fascinated by artists who create their tools using raw materials (it’s even better if they are recycled). I admire the resourcefulness of an individual and his or her ability to problem-solve with the materials at hand, rather than purchasing a mass-produced product. So when I was graciously invited to watch an Onggi pot demonstration at Florida Atlantic University given by Adam Field, an “ah-ha” moment occurred. I looked at his wheel and thought to myself, I’ve got to do that! And in that moment, the course of my work was set on a new path.

A friend, Chris Riccardo, welded the axle to the base plate for me, while the rest had to be purchased from a hardware store and an industrial supply company with a total cost of roughly $225, which would be significantly more had the steel been purchased and the welding commissioned.

onggifinishedFor a complete list of materials and for step by step instructions on how to build and use an Onggi wheel, be sure to check out Ronald Shaw’s complete article in the October 2014 issue of Ceramics Monthly.


  • Cristy A.

    Fabulous! And killer camera work. Very good of you to share your project – thanks!!

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