Build a Country Pottery Clay Wedging Table


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I am currently single, and have been a maker all my life. I currently work as a technician for a ...

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.

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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:
https://www.instructables.com/id/Country-Pottery-Kickwheel/

How to make a Fish Candy Pot
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftuWJnqw394
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzdOMqhOFjU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4itLjB7eATg&feature=related

Moose Makes A Pig

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djd4LQgHq7Q&feature=related




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.....

3 People Made This Project!

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24 Discussions

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jnbunting

26 days ago on Step 3

I think this is a great instructable and the outcome is very similar to a wedging table I inherited from another potter. I would just like to comment that you do not have to use a plaster base for the table. I bought Hardie Backer Cement Board 12mm from my local DIY store. It has a nice smooth surface on one side which is ideal for wedging clay. It’s so easy to work with in fact that I have it cut to fit on all my working surfaces in the Studio. There are at least two advantages to using the cement board instead of plaster. Firstly, it’s a lot less hassle than trying to pour plaster across wire mesh. Secondly, over time plaster can deteriorate, get scratched etc and that’s a disaster if it ever makes its way into your clay. So instead of making the top with plaster, fix a sheet of MDF as a table top. Cut your Cement board to the exact size and either screw it to the top at each corner or make an edge around the table top using 2x1” and just slot the cement board into place. You could cut a finger sized hole through the mdf before placing the board making it easy to push the board back out should you need to replace the board or to change it if going from using red clay to porcelain for example.
Any left over cut-offs from the cement board can be used for ware boards & drying pots, and are great for flat work where you would sandwich your clay tile between 2 boards and flip every day until the tile is flat and evenly dry. One last thought, if you’re really want to use the plaster, always use the plaster from a pottery supplier, it’s made especially for the purpose and if you want a totally smooth top try and get a mirror or piece of glass to pour it on to rather than a plastic sheet.

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LeandroM85jnbunting

Reply 19 days ago

Hi! It concerns me too in this project that the plaster one day might need to be replaced and it will be hard to do it. Your idea is interesting, but using this Hardie Backer Cement do you get the same functionality than plaster? I mean, dos it absorbs the umidity as do plaster?
And I'm not sure I know what kind of cement is that, cause I live in Brasil and we probably don't have this brand around but maybe I can find something similar.

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jnbuntingLeandroM85

Reply 17 days ago

Yes, cement board absorbs water in the same way that the plaster does with the added advantage that it is a harder surface and so is unlikely to chip off and get into your clay. I believe It is used in the building trade for behind ceramic tiling in wet areas such as showers/bathrooms

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avidgolf

2 months ago

So after you pour the plaster and it dries, before you flip it over shouldn't you put a piece of plywood "under" the plaster to support it when you flip it over and push down on it while wedging?

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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!

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susanb.whittensthreeleftfeet

Reply 4 months ago

I had similar issues...uneven floor and tiny hole in the plastic led to uneven tabletop, now I’m not sure how to even it out. What kind of sander or sandpaper did you use? I also worry about little crumbs or bits of plaster (especially around edge of table), or if the table gets wet, ending up in the clay causing problems, would this be an issue?

Thanks!
Sue

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LouiseR36

1 year ago

This table looks like the perfect way to get around my “space” issues!

However, I wonder about the possibility of the plaster inadvertently getting into the wedged clay from the edge of the top where the plaster butts up against the wood frame.

Is there a danger of having plaster from the edge of the top getting into the wedged clay?

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f34nor

8 years ago on Step 7

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

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rosylee

9 years ago on Introduction

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

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rosylee

9 years ago on Introduction

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?

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Moose Gueydanrosylee

Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

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....

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bptakoma

9 years ago on Introduction

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.

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Moose Gueydanbptakoma

Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

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..

http://plaster.com/HYDROSTONE.html

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...

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