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square bats

updated wed 16 sep 09


Dana & Chris Trabka on tue 15 sep 09

For a number of years I have been using square bats. The bats are 9 =3D
inches square (about 12 inches on the diagonal). On one side there are =3D
two holes that accommodate the bat pins on my wheel (10 inches apart). =3D
The holes are slightly larger than the pins and do not go all the way =3D
through the bat. At the beginning of a throwing session I take small =3D
grape sized balls of firm clay and arrange them in two square shapes on =3D
the wheel head. These small balls are then patted into place with a flat =
hand as the wheel is turning so the clay is below the tops of the bat =3D
pins. The bat is placed on the wheel putting the bat pins in the holes =3D
in the bat. The clay pads holds the bat in place as the clay is centered =
and the pot thrown. About every third pot I take a moist sponge and wipe =
the clay pads to keep them damp. The pot is not cut off the bat until it =
has had a chance to dry for a bit; I generally wait until the pot is not =
sticky so handling the form does not distort it.

I use the square bats for most small items, up to about 4 pounds of =3D
clay. These bats are made from White Melamine (plastic coated particle =3D
board) - available at most lumber yards. A 4' x 8' sheet 3/4 inches =3D
thick is about $30 and will create about 50 9-inch square bats. The same =
sheet can get you 32 12-inch round bats. A bat will last a very long =3D