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bat issues

updated fri 24 oct 97


Jonathan Kaplan on sat 4 oct 97

I'll be the first (although probably not really) to acknowledge that
everyone has their own ways of working and methods that work for them. In
fact, I would urge that we all try as many ways as possible to find ways
that work. And further, I would embrace any and all ways to solve a
particular problem if it would yield the results I needed. Easy to put out
there, sometimes tough to work it through. In many cases, such as clay and
glaze problems, there are some absolutes such as limits for oxides,
deffloculation ranges for a particular slip, etc. etc.The point is that if
the Jepson system works for you and you like it, do it. If Med-Ex bats
work, do it. If masonite works, if ply wood works, or if NO BAT works, then
use it and do it. These things are simple.

I would like to illustrate how my bat system evolved over the years.

I had some parameters-a small storage area for bats, and a 24" x 36" shelf
size for my ware carts. How to maximize space considerations?

Each of my thrown forms uses a certain bat size, only slightly bigger than
the diamter of the piece itself. Mugs, 4" diameter bats, etc. etc. ALl bats
are 1/4" double tempered masonite disks, cut on a band saw via a pin jig.
There must be hundreds of them, in about 5 sizes. When I throw on a
schedule, they are arranged on a ware cart in the size range and quantity
of what I am throwing for a particular session. As I throw standing up, I
have two carts. One to the left to receive work, and the one on the right,
with the bats, pugged and sectioned clay. Stuff moves right to left. A
simple and effective system moving the stuff from one cart to the next.
Depending on the temperature and air circulation in the shop, the cart of
thrown pots gets wrapped in plastc overnight, and the next day or what
ever, as I trim the pots, the go from left to right. The bats are sized so
I get the maximum number on each 24" x 36" ware board.

While I do like the absorption qualities of plaster, plaster bats take up
valuable storage space. Plywood, Med-Ex, etc. all work, but again take up
space. Plywood does have absorption and delamination problems.

So here's a quick and dirty way to make as many plaster bats as you need.

Go to your nearest discount place, and buy as many different sized plastic
buckets as you wish. Set them up in a row, do you plaster calculations,
fill each of them up with a quantity of plaster that is the correct
thickness you desire. When the plaster sets up, pop them out. Clean the
buckets and repeat. Small bats, maybe 1/2" to 3/4" thick, big puppies, at
least one inch. I did this for years ago in school and still have some

Here's an idea for some budding enterpreneur types on the list-howzabout
precentered lumps? Precentered lumps on bats? Pick you clay, pick you
weight, bat on.

Hope this helps.


Jonathan Kaplan
Ceramic Design Group Ltd./Production Services Voice:
970-879-9139 POB 775112
FAXmodem: same
Steamboat Springs, Colorado 80477, USA CALL before faxing

Plant Location: 30800 Moffat Avenue #13 Steamboat Springs Co 80487
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