Build a Country Pottery Clay Wedging Table





Introduction: 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

Step Number one, building the top and leg frames.

you need three of these.

Step 2: Connecting the Frames to the Legs

attaching the frames to the legs.

Step 3: 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

pouring the top

Step 5: Fit and Finish

add the bottom shelf of 2x4's 

clean it up let if cure and your done..

Step 6: 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:

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Step 7: 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.....

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I forgot to show the finished table:


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

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!

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

why not use cement????

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

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?

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....

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.

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...