Clay people have some darn impressive ingenuity when it comes to improving the efficiency of their processes. We get a lot of great studio tips sent to us from readers, and every month Ceramics Monthly publishes some of them in their Tips and Tools section. – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.
An Airy Solution
In the past I would throw my trimmings into a plastic container and let them sit for a week or so to dry before reclaiming. We all know reclaiming works best when the clay is bone dry. Here is a simple technique I use to speed the drying process. I purchased a pen/pencil container from an office supply store. It is made out of expanded metal so it contains many holes. The container was sprayed with black paint, so it does not rust. When you trim or carve your pieces, throw the scraps in this container to air dry. It will take half the time to dry and you can swish the empty container in a bucket of water to easily clean it out.
Thanks to Craig Seath, Hudson, Wisconsin!
Turntable on the Cheap!
While it’s not cast iron with ball bearings, this homemade turntable is easy to make, inexpensive, and works nearly as well. PVC plumbing flanges can be purchased at any hardware store or home center and both flanges can be purchased for about $10. Just match the inner diameter of one to the outer diameter of the other. Cut two pieces of scrap wood; the bottom piece, which will become the base, should be approximately 2 inches larger than the PVC flange and the top piece, which will become the work surface, should be cut to whatever size is appropriate for you working needs. The top piece should not be unreasonably large and not more that a few inches larger than the base. Each board should about 1 inch thick and sealed to handle wet clay. Center and screw each flange onto the wood pieces. Add a little WD-40 for lubrication and you are in business.
Thank you to Dennis Allen of Lebanon, Ohio!