Tips for Throwing a Perfect Tall Cylinder

Say goodbye to short, dumpy cylinders with these tips for throwing tall cylinders!


Not only does Adam Field go over his meticulous carving techniques on his DVD, Precision Throwing and Intricate Carving, but he also demonstrates his throwing chops on some fantastic forms. 

But before all of that he gives one of the best cylinder throwing demos I’ve seen. We’ve probably all had this assignment in our beginning wheel throwing class: Throw ten even-walled, 12-inch cylinders. I won’t divulge how long it has been since I had that assignment, but I still got a ton out of this demo. So whether you are struggling with cylinders now, or have been throwing for years, have a look at today’s clip and watch your throwing improve! – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.

PS. See how Adam adds interest to the inside of a lid. Save your wrists while wedging, plus view these great tips for trimming!

Five Great Pottery Wheel Throwing Techniques

Amp up your throwing skills when you download this freebieFive Great Pottery Wheel Throwing Techniques.


This clip was excerpted from Precision Throwing and Intricate Carving, which is available in the Ceramic Arts Shop!

To learn more about Adam Field or to see more images of his work, please visit

**First published in 2013 
  • Terry C.

    I found doing a demonstration with the bat pins in Very Alarming. Maybe someone with huge hands can center using fingers only but I don’t believe this would work for small hands and larger amounts of clay. The bat pins took all my attention away from watching the video.Don’t try this at home should be the disclaimer!

  • This really is one of the best instructional pieces re: throwing cylinders that I have ever experienced. The video also contains great ideas about ergonomics in the studio. Adam has a lot of great knowledge to share and I really appreciate everything he has taught me.

  • I’ve taken classes where the head of the ceramics department clearly has felt threatened by Adam. I was warned to “not listen to potters with YouTube videos like Adam Field, as their information was just wrong”. Why do so many folks who see this video and adapt Adam’s techniques, finally have success, after attempting to throw cylinders over and over after “learning” from other supposedly expert teachers. Why are so many pottery “teachers” so bad at what they do? I think that much is taken for granted by those who now know, and they don’t have the awareness to break down each step as Adam has done for the novice potter. Good job Adam.

    • William W.

      As a sage once said,
      “Those who can do, those who can’t teach”
      The best an individual can do is listen to them all and work out what is best for them, every one has something to offer it just takes time to sort the wheat from the chaff.

  • Jeff W.

    I think that they are his bat pins and his knuckles and if he wants to throw with them in, who are we to complain?

  • Maria B.

    Thanks it really makes a big difference when we can understand the steps in between of what make a good technique!


    Awesome explanation! Thank you Adam, for helping to clarify such an illusive process! I immediately went and bought the video! Looking forward to learning more!

  • Tall cylinders have always been frustrating for me. This post is the most helpful lesson ever and definitely a keeper! Thanks, Adam.

  • Brilliant! Went straight back into the studio and threw a really nice large jug no prob at all!! A first!! Thanks

  • Earline A.

    Be aware that throwing directly on a wheel-head with bat pins sticking up is dangerous. Remove bat pins or use a bat before throwing.

  • christine w.

    I wish someone had explained that to me 5 years ago, before I developed bad habits. I never understood why I had successful throwing days and unsuccessful days. Breaking it down explains it all. Thank you. I will definitely watch this again.

  • Thanks for the great video. I believe what you presented will help me with a technique which has given me trouble. I’m small and working with large amounts of clay, especially centering, is difficult. Can’t wait to try it in the studio. I’ve never had anyone explain pulling the clay up exactly as you did.

  • Janine W.

    Good Video. I especially liked the profile view of how to pull a pot up. And I heartily agree with Ron about the batt pins! Adam must be precise to throw with batt pins in the wheel without using a batt.

  • Lucia W.

    This was a wonderful video to watch. I am not a new potter, but I know that I can always continue to learn. This will help me explain this to others when I go to Open Studio at the Art Center. Thanks.

  • Ralph R.

    Just a super helpful video. Best by far that I’ve seen on centering and pulling up. Many helpful comments – listen to it multiple times to get them all.

  • Excellent video. I saw Adam make pots not too long ago and he went through the mechanics of pulling up the cylinder. I had not heard it explained that way before and it really helped me once I came back to the studio and put it into practice. Adam’s attention to detail is amazing as are his pots. I’m sure the DVD is full of information that will be helpful.

    On a safety note, I’d not recommend throwing with batt pins inserted in the wheel head unless you are used to having them there and avoiding them. They can cause some serious damage to your hands at even a low wheel speed. It looked Adam was used to them being there and avoided any contact.

  • Janine B.

    I am new to clay and found this video extremely helpful!! From Setting up a good working studio…. to centering (so much time spent getting this right) to the great explanation of hand positioning for a tall piece. I am going to follow Adam and get more gems I am sure!

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