Second DIY Clay Tools Video Contest – Finalist 2

Today, we are happy to present the next finalist in our DIY Clay Tools Video Contest: Catherine Ries and her multi-purpose slab cutter on the cheap.

We’ll present the last finalist Friday, September 28. A link to the voting page for the grand prize winner will also be posted on Friday, and voting will continue through midnight (Eastern Standard Time) Monday, October 1. Stay tuned for the winner announcement on Wednesday, October 3!


We’ll announce the lucky winner of the Ricoh 430DN Digital Ceramic Printer from Digital Ceramic Technologies on Wednesday, October 3.


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



Finalist 2
Catherine Ries, St. Paul, Minnesota


In this video, Catherine Ries shows us how to make and use her multi-purpose slab cutter on the cheap.



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Don’t forget to vote for your favorite DIY tool video Friday, September 28 – Monday, October 1, 2012 (11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time)!

For more interesting homemade tool ideas, be sure to download Pottery Throwing Tools: A Guide to Making and Using Pottery Tools for Wheel Throwing, which is free to Ceramic Arts Daily subscribers.

  • Andrea W.

    I also found that for the circle cutter the #3 threaded rod was hard to find. My solution was using a #10-32 set screw. I just purchased one that was 1″ long.

  • Richard P.

    i went back and got different parts. nuts, 6″ of a better quality all thread and the smaller (inner hole) fender washers i reamed them out a little with a needle file for a snug, but rotationally better fit.. it will parallel cut up to 5 3/16″ and is adjustable smaller. i fixed one nut on the end with thread locker to make it a little easier and only have to fiddle with one ‘wheel’ to adjust size(my silliness on facebook “renaissance.poterie”)
    …thanks again, for the inspiration, Catherine!

  • Richard, the threading of the rod is 1/4″ which the T-Nut fastener threads onto. The housing of the T-Nut fasteners outside dimension is 5/16″ which the fender washer rotates on. If the washer was only 1/4″ to match the threaded rod it would not fit over the T-Nut fastener. I hope that makes sense! But, if you found another way to make it work that is great too!

  • Richard P.

    very nice tool and presentation…some caveats from my experience.
    i got the parts from the big box store that begins with an “L”
    their threaded rod was not up to a decent enough standard for me to thread everything up.
    make sure your parts fit well. the prongs on the t-nuts i got had one prong shorter than the other 2…wobble not good. also the diameter of the fender washer should be smaller in diameter than stated, or a larger dia. threaded rod used, so there is less play in that axis.
    i’m going to make one using brass all thread, nylon or brass fender washers and double up on just regular nuts and lock them down to each other and still have a rotational fender washer ’tile cutter’…i think the brass will last longer in our wet environs…; ^)
    thanks for the inspiration, Catherine!

  • Congrats Catherine, you deserved to win. BTW thanks for posting a list of the parts. I’ve already printed it out and am going to Lowes today to get them for my new most excellent Catherine Ries tool.

    BTW I’m also a winner of this contest and can’t thank both Ceramic Arts as well as Euclid Ceramics enough for their generosity. My work has improved immensely as a result.

  • Darryl W.

    Don’t need to see any other submissions. This gets my vote.

  • pinkie f.

    I’m voting for this great tool….one I can make and USE..good job Catherine

  • Troy W.

    I need to say how easy this is to make and how amazing it works. I’ve even started altering the washers with a dremel and use it for wheel applications like texturing and handle making. For anyone having confusion with voting, myself included, go to the 3rd finalist link and click on “vote for your favorite”. Regardless of outcome this tool has saved me hours of tedious measuring and allows me to create new additions to the tool itself. Thank you for giving the ceramic community such a simple yet effective idea.

  • Linda K.

    Love it!!!! I’m going to make it and show my clay friends about it. I wish I could figure out how to vote for you. but they weren’t specific in how to do it from what I could see on the website. I hope you win, Catherine!

  • Parts: one: 1/4X12 threaded rod, two: ¼-20 KEPS free spinning lock nuts, two: ¼-20 serrated Whiz lock nuts, two: ¼-20 5/16×3/4 long prong tee nut fasteners, two: 5/16 x 1&5/8 fender washers, one: 32X3 threaded rod, one: orange thread protector, one: ¼ ID X ½ OD X 9/32 W shaft collar. Hope that helps!

  • Catherine,

    If you have the time, would it be possible for you to print out the list of parts in a comment for those of us who are going to make your tool? It would be much easier for everyone to simply print them out instead of playing/rewinding through the video with pen in hand trying to get everything written down that we need.


  • Dana, I am so glad you got the parts! I know you will enjoy using it!
    Dennis, It is really fantastic that you are sharing the idea with others!

  • Bought the parts today to make this. It will make what I am doing so much easier. Thank you so much.

  • Dennis S.

    Thank you, not only for a GREAT tool but a fantastic video presentation. Went out today and got all the parts to build two units. Keeping one for myself and taking the other to give to the Professor of my ceramic arts class which my wife and I attend at the local college. I’ll be presenting your tool as a “show and tell” demonstration at class tomorrow and will encourage the other students to sign up at the “ceramic arts daily” web site.

    I do a lot of slab building and this tool will save me hours of work.

    Thank you again,

    Dennis Soibelman

  • Peter, good question. The washers need to be able to spin in order to make a clean cut and easily push through the clay. The t-nut fasteners give the washers a resting place to spin freely without being bound by the lock nuts; without them the washers would not roll effortlessly causing rips in the slab.

    Thanks again to everyone for all the feedback!

  • Great tool. I am just wondering what the purpose of the T-Nut fastener is – why not just the 2 locknuts to hold the washer in place? Am I correct to assume that the fender washer doesn’t spin?


  • Great video! Concise and to the point. This is an elegant, well thought out, simple tool that can be made from readily available materials, will last forever and anyone working in clay can use. Plus can be made in very little time. The other project videos are nice ideas but involve too much time, components and work. I’d rather be making pots. I hope you win, Catherine, but if you don’t I’ll still be adding this tool to my collection.

  • WOW, I don’t mind spending too much time in my studio but with this tool I can see the quality of my pieces going up. I love it! Your brilliant Catherine Ries! I guess I’ll have to find other areas to concentrate on making perfect.

  • I’ll be making one of these, thanks for presenting it to us. I love how Ceramic artists love to share their ideas!

  • Florence W.

    Awesome job, Catherine. I love the tool, it’s one almost all of us can use, because inevitably we all work with slabs.

  • Elizabeth F.

    As a fellow slabber, I know this tool is going to save me hundreds of hours in the coming year! Fantastic job on a clear and well-produced video, too!

  • Great video! Such clear instructions and what a brilliant tool! No more trying to line up parallel rulers or tracing patterns-I love it! Thanks, Catherine, for making it so easy! I’m totally going to make myself one of these!

  • Leonard C.

    WOW What a sweet tool and a sweeter presentation. Anything tool held together with wiz nuts gets my vote!!! 🙂
    Actually just the other day I took a small gear and slipped it down a needle tool to make tracks on a spinning bowl. Trouble was the gear kept rising on the tool. I could have used this puppy to hold the gear in place …kind of aa poor man’s… err gal’s version of the “Steve Tool” only more versitile.

  • Wow! I am so honored to be a finalist! Thank you to everyone for all the compliments and I’m glad that many of you are going to make your own tool to use. Happy creating!

  • i love it! simple and relatable to all levels of ceramists. ready to vote!

  • Janice W.

    What a fantastic, yet simple and valuable tool. Also love the clear explanation of how to make this, so that we can make once ourselves. Thanks.

  • Again, what a clever and useful idea! Love it, will use it, and have all the bits and pieces needed in the garage. Thanks for sharing your great time saver!

  • Leslie N.

    A great idea and a video that is almost a textbook example of good communication.

  • What brilliant idea and fascinating presentation.
    Catherine, you have a future as a ceramics show host!!!

  • This is a versatile tool and can be used in a variety of ways. Thanks to Catherine Ries and her multi-purpose slab cutter. Must make it.

  • Elizabeth M.

    Awesome! I can’t wait to make one of these.

  • Fabulous! I’ve got my list and I’m ready to make use of this wonderful tool! Thank you!

  • wow… I think I have all of these already… fresh eyes!

  • I need that tool! Thank you for the simplicity and efficiency it offers. Good job.

  • Brenda M.

    Great idea! I’m off to the hardware store!

  • Stuart B.

    Brilliant! What a clever and efficient tool. The video is very well produced as well. The stills with the exact names and dimensions of the items needed is a great help. The presentation was extremely poised, too. I hope Catherine continues to make videos!

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