Multi-Purpose Chucks: Using Household Items When Trimming Difficult-to-Trim Pottery

At some point or another many potters are faced with a conundrum: their creativity goes unchecked and they artfully fashion a beautiful and delicate rim on a pot that they would like to flip over and trim on the potter’s wheel. But flipping the piece to trim will ruin the artfully created piece. A common solution to this conundrum is to use a bisque-fired chuck to prop up the piece so the rim doesn’t come in contact with the wheelhead. Then the challenge becomes finding the correctly sized chuck for the job. And often, in community studio settings especially, there isn’t a chuck that is just right.

A couple of months back we published a feature by Sam Hoffman on an easy way to create unfired clay chucks for platters with altered rims (see Trimming Platters with Altered Rims), a great solution indeed. In response to that article, reader Don Goodrich sent in this tip on his approach to the difficult-to-trim pot conundrum. If you keep both of these tips in mind, chances are you’ll always be prepared with the right chuck. -Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.

Don Goodrich is a studio potter and Potters Council board member who lives and works in Zion, Illinois.


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The flower pot pictured presented a challenge when it came time for me to trim it. Appropriately enough, I used another flowerpot to support it so the bottom could be trimmed. This technique can be used for platters as well. Suitably sized glass or ceramic pie plates and some foam will support a delicate platter when inverted. With an adequate collection of flowerpots and pie plates, one can save time by not making special chucks for pots with artful rims.

Fig.1 A circle of soft foam is cut to fit and placed inside the the pot for padding. This will allow minor adjustments to center and level the pot, but will prevent shifting during trimming.
Fig.2 A flowerpot of suitable size is carefully placed in the pot and centered on the foam pad.
Fig.3 Another bat was placed on top of the flowerpot, and the stack was inverted. Now the flowerpot serves as the base, and it can be held on the wheelhead with clay lugs or a Giffin Grip.

**First published in 2008.

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