Tuesday, September 23

Super-size me bats

Since I obviously don't know how to stay within the parameters of my immediate equipment, the last platter I threw was about 21" across, and even without a Masters degree (sniffle-sniffle) I knew it would not fit well for trimming onto my 21" bat-never mind the drama of trying to flip the beast over on such a small confinement. And so yesterday I drove to my neighborhood lumber yard and bought a piece of plywood. For any of you interested in such a trip, be sure to realize firsthand that just because the inside of your vehicle measures more than 48", doesn't mean that the point of entry does. Fortunately, after attempting to help load the piece into my car with my friendly lumber guy without success (when he asked me what kind of plywood I wanted, I responded "the long flat kind" to which he was amused and not annoyed) he had no problem cutting down to 24" pieces, which is the size bat I wanted to make anyway.

So I made two of them with help from Adam's manly strong hands holding the wood for me as I jigsawed, and he ran the table saw, which I am quite afraid of, to rip the remaining wood down to made smaller bats. Another pearl of wisdom: the diameter is not the same as the diagonal. I know the old adage is to measure twice and cut once. I apparently prefer to measure five or six times, and then cut twice. There's a disconnect in my brain somewhere. At least my error was on the large side, so can be fixed.

This platter isn't actually finished yet. When I took it off and flipped it over there was still way too much clay on the sides so it went back on. But there it is, 21" platter on one of my 24" bats. It took every ounce of strength and commitment to flip this over onto the bat for trimming. Factor in 25 lbs. of clay, a 16" plaster bat, and a 24", 1/2" thick bat all sandwiched together, and being held up with the strength of my left arm. It's a scary moment.


Ben Stark said...

Cool bats Deborah! I could definitely use some larger bats--my biggest is only 14". How do you measure for bat pins? Seems like to much math for my feeble brain.

Judy Shreve said...

Who needs to go to the gym with that kind of workout -- ha! Your platter looks beautiful from here. It'll be great to see your glazes on it. Will you have difficulty firing it - size wise?

Deb said...

My kiln is about across so no problem firing.

Since I started with squares, that I then cut into circles, I realized too late for my large bats that I should have marked the holes before jigsawing, that way I could have easily been able to find the exact center of the bats using corner to corner measuring-so with the large ones I centered my 21" bat on and drew through those circles to mark the new bats. If you mark the center before cutting into circles, then you just need to measure out to get the marks-mine are spaced 10" on center.

Deb said...

My kiln is 28" across.

T.Gray said...

I have some pretty large bats I use for trimming too, and I just lay them on top of a smaller, neoprene-covered bat that Howard Axner used to sell. No slip. No pins. That's a nice platter. I'm looking forward to seeing how you decorate it. Looking forward to seeing the finished square plates too.

brandon phillips said...

i'm a strapping young lad and sometimes flipping the platters is a doozy for me. there is a video by stephen jepson about throwing large pots(which is actually pretty good) in which he made this contraption to flip platters and he gets way too excited about it on camera...i digress, just feelin your pain.

cookingwithgas said...

We collect sink cut outs from our local friendly cabinet maker. They range from 16 inches up to 24 and are sometimes covered with Formica. If you are lucky they will be a nice color-
These are usually thrown away- since they have no use for them.
Check it out- if you can find one in your area.

Deb said...

That's pretty brave to trim without the bat being attached to the wheel-I am almost certain something would go wrong for me-I have a bruise on my ribcage right now from pulling up to fast with my stiff clay and the square bat just popped off the wheel and slammed into my chest. Ouch.

I'll have to find that Jepson video. Always fun watching people look silly-I was actually wondering about roping the thing together or something, just to prevent any movement. Oh well-sometimes you gotta live dangerously.

I've heard of people using sink cut outs for bats-I had completely forgotten about it. I'll have to keep that in mind. Even paying for wood it's not too bad really-2-24" bats, and 24-12" ones for 35$. That feels like a bargain compared to store-bought.