When trying to throw a set on the pottery wheel, starting off with the same size ball of clay, and using a ruler or calipers is a great place to start. Eyeballing it does not usually give you the best results. But, if you are on such a tight deadline that every second counts, it is nice to not have to stop what you are doing to measure. That’s where today’s pottery wheel tip comes in handy.
In this post, Don Adamaitis demonstrates how to construct a simple, easy-to-make throwing gauge to help measure for consistency on the pottery wheel. -Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.
For the potter who wants to make their own throwing gauge, it’s easier than you think. This simple tool can be constructed from inexpensive materials and can be used for other purposes besides throwing duplicate forms. I use mine to lay out designs on leather-hard pots for carving and on bisqueware for glaze decoration.
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First establish the size (diameter and height) and profile of the form, and determine the amount of clay needed for each piece. Once this is accomplished, throw the first form in the series. While it is still on the wheel, set the gauge tip to mark the diameter and height. Remove the first piece, and center the next ball of clay. Open it, pull the wall and shape the form until the edge of the lip meets the tip of the throwing gauge. Repeat this for each form in the series. If necessary, use a rib to define the profile.
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The throwing gauge is placed in front of the wheel head (out of the way) and adjusted to the dimensions required. The gauge could be mounted on a brick if more height is needed. Each piece is pulled and shaped to match the tip of the gauge.
The gauge can be used in combination with a division chart to mark off equal sections of the pot for decoration.