How to Make a Bowl with a Unique Double Foot

Learn about the nijū kōdai "Double Foot"!

double foot

There are lots of ways to trim wheel thrown pots and add a unique touch to your work. In today’s post, an excerpt from Pencil & Process: From Sketch to Finished Form, Jared Zehmer shows how to make a traditional Japanese double-footed bowl, or nijū kōdai. On small bowls, this type of foot may have just been an aesthetic choice, but I can see how it could have a functional purpose on wider footed bowls or plates. At any rate, I am excited to play with the technique and come up with my own spin on it. Hope it inspires you too! –Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.


This tall, narrow foot ring also has a second interior foot ring and is an example of a traditional Japanese double-footed bowl. Double foot rings on small bowls are mostly decorative, however, you can use them on large plates and platters to prevent slumping. For this pot, I’ll need to leave extra clay at the bottom to achieve the tall foot ring depicted in the drawing. After throwing a 1½-pound shallow bowl, cut it off the bat and set it aside to dry to the leather-hard stage.

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Once dry, flip it upside down, put it onto the wheel head, and secure it into place with three clay coils (1). With the wheel spinning, determine where the outer perimeter of the foot will end with your trimming tool (2). Trim straight down to form the outside of the exterior foot, then trim outwards and down to form the curved profile of the bowl (3). Next, give the exterior of the foot ring a slight undercut angle where the ring meets the curve of the bowl (4).

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To create the gap between the interior foot ring and the exterior foot ring, place your trimming tool about ¼ inch from the outside edge of the exterior foot ring (5). Create the interior foot ring’s diameter by trimming straight down ¼ inch inside the ring you’ve just established—this will be the outside edge of the interior ring (6).  Then, trim from the very center of the pot and stop when you get close to the interior foot ring (7, 8). Make sure the depth between the two rings follows the curve of the interior of the bowl. Smooth over the rough edges with a sponge before compressing and cleaning up the trim lines with a damp metal rib (9).

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