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essential tool

updated sat 20 dec 03


Vicki Hardin on tue 16 dec 03

Just the other day I was double sieving the brown gravy I was making and =
forcing the lumpies through which worked great! Then I thought about =
this process and how pottery had influenced my gravy making because =
before, I just beat the lumps out with the mixer. So! I would say, a =
sieve is really important and they are so cheap compared to the mileage =
you will get out of one.
Also, Mary, with reference to your post below, if you live near a =
university you can get great pin tools from the book store that are =
normally used in biology classes. They are not as substantial as the =
all metal ones you get at the clay supply but they are more pliable.

of clay and stuff from the pottery supply place so I hate to get them
to ship me a $2 item. Besides, I know my pin tool will turn up as
soon as I buy another one. I will eventually when I need a few more
things but in the meantime I'm using a wine cork with a darning
needle pushed into it. It's kind of short. Does anyone have a better

Vicki Hardin

John Jensen on wed 17 dec 03

I think making your own pottery tools is just a wonderful thing to do.
I do it and I still use a trimming tool I made out of metal strapping
material over ten years ago. Ribs, needle tools, and on and on. But I
also think that in the context of how much it costs to set up a pottery
shop, all these little savings are trivial in terms of money; and
possibly counter productive. I think you should make tools because you
can make something you feel connected to or that serves a very special
need; not because of the money it will save. Sometimes I think we get
in a mindset of extreme frugality (cheapskate)which undermines our
understanding of the bigger economic picture. There's an old saying,
"take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves."
I tend to think that worrying about pennies leaves you with nothing but
pennies. Take care of the thousands and the pennies will accumulate in
the penny jar, where they belong.
All that said. Two essential tools perhaps not mentioned as yet would
be a large cellulose sponge (for cleaning up), and a supply of good
aprons so you can always have a clean one to wear.

John Jensen, Mudbug Pottery ,

Janet Kaiser on thu 18 dec 03

I prefer a smock, because with an apron I smear clay all over my
posterior tying it on, then forget about having a clay bottom and
thence manage to spread clay where it would (possibly) never have
gone otherwise... Much more to clean up, launder and


Janet Kaiser, the Local Yokel

>All that said. Two essential tools perhaps not mentioned as yet
>be a large cellulose sponge (for cleaning up), and a supply of
>aprons so you can always have a clean one to wear.
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iandol on fri 19 dec 03

Dear Friends,
How can anyone speak of essential tools without reference to that =
wonderful book by Gordon Wong and Philip Whitford, "Handmade Potter's =
Tools". First published in 1986 when I bought a copy, are you aware it =
is once again available.
If Harry Davis did things for the heavy machinery of Pottery on behalf =
of the "Do it yourself crowd", these chaps do it for Hand Tools. So much =
can be done so quickly with a few common bench tools and simple =
I think the link if anyone is interested, and you all should be slightly =
inquisitive about it, try for =
Could be a great Christmas present.
Wishing everyone a Happy, Safe and Rewarding Time over the Festive =