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more on pin tools

updated fri 29 aug 03


Sheron Roberts on tue 26 aug 03

Yes I like my pin tools. When I was in school
each student was issued a wooden rib, a bowl
for water, one sponge, a cut off wire and a pin
tool. The instructor taught us that the pin tool
was for cutting the bevel at the bottom of the
pot. At some point he did show us that we could
even up the tops of pots with the pin tools, but
at that time most students would just tear the
top or completely ruin the pot. He had a big
trash container in the middle of the floor for
recycling clay. His advise was that all uneven
pots go into the big container. Start over and
move more slowly so as not to pull the pot off
In my second semester of ceramics after being
out for a summer, I just could not throw a centered pot.
I threw cylinders for an hour a day five days
a week for two weeks. I sliced every single one
in two to see how even the pot walls were. I did
not save any. The new instructor was so frustrated
with me,. he wanted me to keep something for
firing. This new instructor was good at teaching
hand building but could not throw himself. When I
worked this problem out myself I finally began
pulling up nice even pots. No need for trimming tops.
Now I trim rims only if I have deliberately pulled
a loose pot or a candlestick, or goblet stem that
do have a tendacy to go off center while choking in.
Sheron in NC
Where studio gnomes constantly hide the pin tools.
Maybe somewhere in the shadow world there are
gnomes jousting with my pin tools.

iandol on wed 27 aug 03

Dear Sheron Roberts,

Good to read that you have overcome the problems which you faced through =
your own diligence and perseverance.

One of the best ways of finding out how good your basic skills are is =
when you have to "collar" or "neck in" the upper portion of a pot to =
make a tall slender stem. the slightest unevenness in wall thickness =
across the diameter becomes exaggerated so that even with even pressure =
one side of the rim will start to rise. Then using a pin tool or a horse =
hair may help to remove the impediment.

Good luck with your progress.

Best regards,
Ivor Lewis, Redhill, South Australia