Introduction: Build a Country Pottery Clay Wedging Table

Picture of Build a Country Pottery Clay Wedging Table

To begin any pottery project you have to condition your clay before taking it to the wheel.
thi is called Wedging, its a dull tedious and labour intensive undertaking.

if the clay is too wet, you have to knead the clay onto an absorbant surface to work out the excess water.  This project builds a table for this purpose.  a wood fram surrounding a 3 inch thick hard plaster top. with a convient clay storage shelf under neath.

Step 1: Building the Top Frames

Picture of Building the Top Frames

Step Number one, building the top and leg frames.

you need three of these.

Step 2: Connecting the Frames to the Legs

Picture of Connecting the Frames to the Legs

attaching the frames to the legs.

Step 3: Setting in the Wire to Support the Plaster Top

Picture of Setting in the Wire to Support the Plaster Top

to support the plaster top,run a number of screws into the top frames and attach steel wire back and forth to make a loose mesh of wire.

once you are ready to pour tho plaster, put a roll of clay allong the top edge of the top of the table and flip it onto a flat peice of clear plastic.

Step 4: Pouring the Top

Picture of Pouring the Top

pouring the top

Step 5: Fit and Finish

Picture of Fit and Finish

add the bottom shelf of 2x4's 

clean it up let if cure and your done..

Step 6: Materials List

Picture of Materials List

this is the list of materials,

you will also need a screwgun or a screwdriver,
a saw to cut the wood, either a hand saw or a circular saw,  I use a japaneese carpentry saw to cut the 4x4's

total cost of materials was under $35

See my Kick wheel project featured on the front page:

How to make a Fish Candy Pot

Moose Makes A Pig

Step 7: Prototype #1

Picture of Prototype #1

this is a photo of the early prototype, but it gives you a goo idea of what it looks like finished

the size is a bit smaller, and the legs are quick braced amd splayed out a bit to adjust for the not-level floor.  I made this two years ago and it;s still in good working order.

never scrape the top of the table to clean it, use a wet towl and wipe it off. scratches in the hardened plaster only get worse, and it the plaster starts to flake, its time to build a new table, plaster dust in clay will make the clay explode in the kiln.

a diffrent option, instead of plaster would be to use portland cement, though that will make the table weigh several hundred pounds.....


gravdin made it! (author)2016-12-22

I made this for my wife as a Christmas gift. I wanted to add a cutting wire, so I crafted a back for the table out of MDO. I attached the top of the wire to this back, then drilled a hole through the top front rail on the right side. I recessed a t-nut into the hole and ran the cutting wire through it. I than attached the turnbuckle used to keep the wire taut underneath the table top to keep it out of the way. The t-nut keeps the wire from cutting into the rail as it's tightened, and gives the table a nice finished look.

slpyfairy made it! (author)2016-12-11

Great instructable! I wanted to share some things that I think will help someone making this in the future:
1. Size: I changed the overall size to better fit my space and substituted the 2x4s with 1x3s and 4x4s with 2x2s with no issues. Just calculate the overall sizes to scale to the material.

2. Floor: I used a laminated board that I happened to have as the floor and this helped create a very smooth top surface. To make sure that the plaster can peel off easily, you can pretest with a drop of test plaster to make sure it can come off with no issues.

3. Wire: Instead of the suggested wire, I used wire mesh. This was easier to handle and allowed me to get a consistent support across the entire width of the table. I hung the mesh on the screws and made two levels for better support.

4. Prep: I used the roll of clay around the rim of the table as suggested. I weighed down the table once it was upside using bags of clay and then used a flashlight to make sure it was completely sealed. I aimed the flashlight out from the cavity (the mesh area) and if I saw any light through the clay rim, I would fill the area. This turned out to be necessary because I missed a spot and plaster started spilling out. I also taped up the gap between the two levels of boards. Plaster filled this gap up to the tape so this also turned out to be a good idea.

5. Plaster: Initially, I used Plaster of Paris and this was a huge failure. 25 pounds is not nearly enough and this plaster is too viscous to flow into the entire cavity so you have to push it. However, the mesh is in the way so you cannot push to get a good surface at the floor. Luckily, my first pour wasn't enough to touch the first level of mesh so I just lifted the table off and scrapped all the plaster. Someone else mentioned using "#1 Potter's plaster" and this is what I used. This is much more fluid and flowed very easily to fill evenly. I wound up using a total of 75 pounds of plaster (one 50 pound and another 25 pound bag), which was consistent with the USG (manufacturer) consistency calculator that they provide. Be very careful with the mixing ratios and mix well. I used a mixing head attached to my drill. My first batch was perfect and filled very well but because of residual plaster in my bucket, my second and third batches were not weighted properly and did not have the correct plaster to water ratios, which caused them to be more viscous and I had to push the plaster to fill properly. Luckily, I figured this out by the fourth batch and was able to fill residual voids with a good last pour.

6. Leveling: My garage floor is not completely level and the my table legs weren't touching the ground properly so I added heavy duty levelers to the feet. This worked out very well and the table is very stable and sturdy!

Good luck!

fuzuku (author)2015-01-26

I forgot to show the finished table:

fuzuku made it! (author)2015-01-26

Thanks for this great Instructable. I have a few thoughts that may make it easier on the next person.

#1 pottery Plaster is better for drying clay (than hydrostone) because it can absorb more water, according to an instructor (Thanks Nick Tranmer) of mine. I used about 66 pounds and still did not get all the wire covered on the bottom... no big deal. I say buy 100 pounds because it is usually a better deal that way. Nick said carefully measure and weigh the ingredients because it will result in a much stronger plaster.

I had to mix the plaster in 5 gallon buckets and was uncertain of how much I could put in so I made 3 buckets with 2 gallons of water and 22.8 pounds of pottery plaster (11.4 lbs per gallon of water). It could have worked fine with 3 gallons of water and 34.2 lbs of plaster in each of 2 buckets.

I should have been much more careful to get the bottom plastic flat. I got some surprisingly deep grooves in the top surface and the plaster was too hard to shave off. I ended up pouring a thin slab on the surface to level it off and I'm not sure how strong it will be. I'm pretty confident it will work fine. Thanks again!

kage_no_mozaiku (author)2013-08-13

....and now i know how to make the table too!

threeleftfeet (author)2011-09-20

Awesome instructable - inspired me to follow the plans. Some feedback to others, having just finished the table.

A. 30 lbs of hydro stone is not nearly enough to pour to a depth of 3 inches. 50 lbs is not enough (calculators online for volume of hydro stone). I went with 50 (because I purchased based on 30 rec. before doing the math. Do agree hydro stone IS the way to go. Either expect much less than 3 inch depth or go with 100lbs (around here sold in 50lb increments).

B. Be careful if you use plastic sheet. I was in a rush, didn't pay attention and got wrinkles in plastic sheet (with transferred to table top. Fixed with skim coat and sanding, but a real waste of time from needless extra step).

C. If going to big box retail to purchase lumber rather than using scrap lumber, consider 2x8 or 2x6 for one top box rather than 2 boxes from 2x4. Also, big boxes don't sell 4x4 around here - 2x4 bolted together work nicely and don't take long at all to put together.

D. Chicken wire and staple gun create a fast internal support structure and won't add much to project cost.

Overall pleased with outcome and looking forward to using my new table. Thanks for the plans!

f34nor (author)2011-01-16

plaster is smoother and absorbs more moisture to help dessicate slip to be reworked into clay, also makes wedging easier.

artibbill (author)2011-01-06

why not use cement????

rosylee (author)2010-08-06

Am I supposed to put the screws on the inside or the outside of the top frame? Also, do I use 10 gauge soft wire or hard wire? Will braided wire work? Thanks

rosylee (author)2010-01-24

I have already built the table before I found this great idea. Can I fill it from the top? Would it have enough air flow to dry and does it need to be super level?

Moose Gueydan (author)rosylee2010-01-25

you can fill it from the top, but you will have to have a bottom board.  it should effect the absorbancy once it's finished. if sahould be as level as you can make it, (the legs anyway, as the table is gonna get a long of puching and shoving.

once you pour the plaster, use a 2x4 to smooth the plaster before it sets...

it dosnt nee dto be terribly level,just solid..  though wose comes to worse, you can bolt it to the wall....

bptakoma (author)2009-12-20

Moose G. -- can't tell you how delighted I am to see more pottery-related instructables.  This one is a terrific idea. 

I have a couple of recommendations to make it an ace.  First, more information on the proper kind of plaster and the specific mix ratios would be really valuable.  And then, minor, but important, it has a lot of typos.  Please forgive me if I'm showing too much of my English major background.  The quality of the steps and content are high, but they will sparkle after a good proof-read.

Moose Gueydan (author)bptakoma2009-12-20

ok, ill get to it as soon as I can,

time presses and christmas sales are upon us..

please note that this was put together at 3am, on a request from another instructable reader...

the plaster I used was Hydrostone, which is a plaster used for making ceramic molds and is sold by the 35 or 50 lb bag. mixing instuructions are on the bag, though the less water you use the stronger the plaster.
I generally mix the plaster until I get a mix a little thinner than sour cream.

I use slow set plaster, as plaster of paris this thick sets up in about 5 min.. Hydrostone takes about 10 hours..

you can get hydrostone pre-mixed in buckets if you can find a local dealer..
otherwise get the dry bags..

you can also delux this table, by adding a upright to hold a angle wire for cutting caly while you are wedging it out, i dont , only becasue I carry a wire in my apron pockets..

my next project will be finishing up plans for the kids wheel, then I'll be  building a sawdust Kiln, and then prob the pug mill or roller table...

one thing at a time...

Moose Gueydan (author)2009-12-20

ok,ill add a couple of photos of the prototype this am,  as soon I make some go juice

lemonie (author)2009-12-20

Do you have any photographs?


Moose Gueydan (author)lemonie2009-12-20

yes, im still working on this (its 3 am)

lemonie (author)Moose Gueydan2009-12-20

Oh thanks. But, believe it or otherwise, I don't have a Facebook account.


Moose Gueydan (author)2009-12-20

and early prototype, built in the same manner, I still use this table after 3 years..

About This Instructable




Bio: I am currently single, and have been a maker all my life. I currently work as a technician for a comercial Laundromat company. I and ... More »
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