Friday, January 25, 2019

Trimming Hack: Throw a Wet Clay Chuck

I enjoy almost every aspect of ceramics. I love throwing, I love handbuilding. I love pulling handles and stamping and slip trailing. I love glazing, and loading the kiln, and firing. I can even enjoy the quiet focus - the zone - of mixing glazes.

What's missing from that list? I do not love trimming. I find it tedious, so anything that I can throw without a trimmed foot, I do. Bowls need to be trimmed, because the extra clay is holding up the curve of the bowl while it's still wet. Cylinders, on the other hand, I can get all the clay up into the wall, and pull the whole wall to the thickness that I want.

And that's a good thing, because cylinders are a bear to trim - anything that the rim is not the widest point is more difficult. Nevertheless I occasionally get a whim - or a compulsion, more like - to make mugs with foot rings. Cylinders, in other words, that need to be trimmed.

Like yesterday! So today I had the job of trimming these shapes which, when placed rim down on the wheel would have high centers of gravity & little stability. Here's how I deal with that:

First, I center a hump that is narrower that the mouth of the mugs at the top, and wider at the bottom. I's also taller than the interior shape of the mugs.
Next I place the mug upside down over the hump, adjusting it this way & that until the bottom is horizontal and the mug is centered. Then I give the bottom a little spank, to suction it onto the hump. 
Then I just trim as usual. This photo is deceptive - trimming is a 2-handed operation for me - but I needed one hand to hold the phone. 
And, boom, foot ring. 
If your mugs are not all the same height & width - I was playing around with different proportions yesterday - you can just recenter the same hump a little taller or wider or whatever is appropriate for the next pot on deck.  

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