Wiggling and Faceting: More DIY Pottery Tools

I’m taking a throwing class at The Clay Studio this summer with a wonderful teacher.    At our last class, we learned how to throw faceted pots.  Read more about faceted pots here.

FacetedPots

Some examples of faceted pots we saw in class

Then the teacher showed us a faceting tool with a wiggle wire instead of a straight wire.  It left interesting patterns when it was dragged across the clay to cut facets, and there are a number of ways you can drag the wiggle wire through the clay to decorate your pot. Take a look at some examples here.

I have always liked the look of mugs that were cut off the wheel with wiggle wires, but I never invested in a tool to do it.  That and the faceting tool got me to thinking.  Why not make myself some wiggle wire tools?  And that’s what I did.

 

I made a cut-off tool first.  I had an old straight wire cut-off tool that was a bit frayed.   I simply coiled the wire around a mandrel and it kept its shape when I removed the mandrel.

 

If you don’t have a spare cut-off tool, you might try coiling stainless steel wire which is more difficult to do and not as flexible, but if you coil a long enough piece, it should work.  I would recommend a 22 gauge or so wire. Crafting and similar type wires are probably too soft and liable to rust.   Attach the ends to washers or dowels and voila!  a wiggle wire cut-off tool.

For the faceting tool you will need a piece of wood about the size of a small pocket comb, say four or five inches long and an inch or so wide.   I cut off part of a paint stirrer that was thick enough to accommodate screws but I would recommend a sturdier wood for a better tool.

I  drilled holes to accommodate two flat-head screws and two holes on each side for the screw eyes.

I coiled some 22 gauge stainless steel wire around a mandrel.  I recommend that you secure the mandrel and wire in a vise before winding.  It will make the job much easier.

 

 

Insert the hardware.  You might want to add a drop of wood or epoxy glue in the screw hole if you are using a soft wood.

Uncoil the wire.  It will be stiff.   Make several wraps around the screw eye and feed a straight section through the slot in the nearest screw. You might have to straighten out a bit of the wire with flat pliers to do this. The picture shows you how you should have your screw angled and why a Phillips head screw won’t work.

Stretch the wire over to the next screw and make sure it fits into the screw slot before winding the rest around the other screw eye.  Be careful when you cut this wire because it is stiff and can go flying.  You can tighten the wire by turning the screw eyes.

 

You can also try pulling out springs you might have around the house and using them to facet pots.  But I think the tool would give you more control.

Two more tools to add to my vast and growing collection!     Here’s a video showing how to put facets on a pot with a wiggle wire.

 

 

 

 

Make Yourself Some Pottery Tools

My posts on making jewelry tools have been so popular that I decided to share some ideas for making pottery tools with you.  None of these are original but they all present my twist on things.  The first one is a clay texture tool.  I found a foot massager at a thrift store, took it apart, and now I have two new texture tools plus some to share.

You can also saw up a broomstick a dowel and apply craft foam or hot glue to make patterns to texture clay.  There are some examples below.  

The glue stick makes a nice texture.

05.GlueRoller

Make a clay cutter to cut canes for Nerikomi.  I cut the end off a metal plant hanger and strung  it with 24 gauge wire.  You can use any form that will keep the wire taut and if the wire breaks, it’s easy to replace.  

I love the idea of a tool that will bevel the edges of clay slabs.    Enter the beveler!    I got the idea to make my own from this site  but mine is a bit different.  The wood I used is a sidewalk find.  I trimmed the smaller piece so the edges were straight.  Then I nailed it to the larger piece so I would have two beveling angles, one shallow and a longer one.  I didn’t measure anything; I just eyeballed it.  I notched the four corners to keep  the wire in place and used a screw eye to hold the wire taut.  I tried my beveler out and it works beautifully.  It really comes in handy when you are beveling curved edges.

And finally, although this is not a pottery tool, I had to include it. I made myself a rawhide hammer from a dog chew following Charles Lewton-Brain’s directions here.  My conclusion?  Go out and buy one. The dog chews ended up costing about as much as a small hammer and it was much more difficult the make than the instructions let on.  But still, I like the way my hammer turned out and I’m using it.

11.mallet

 

Feel free to share this information and if you  want to share ideas for tools you’ve made, leave a comment.