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bat pins stink

updated wed 17 oct 01


David Hendley on fri 15 oct 99

I can't understand why bat pins became the
standard for potter's wheels (here in North America,
I haven't used one in 20 years or more.
Every time I go to a school to do a workshop, I'm
reminded why again. It usually takes a dozen tries
to find one good bat with tight holes that is not warped.

Bat pins render the wheelhead useless, since no one
wants to spend time installing and removing them throughout
the day for different applications.
It's also hard to re-attach the bats when working on large
pots in stages.

So what's my system?
It depends on the piece.
And, of course, any system I use will be inexpensive;
however, no trips to the junkyard are required.

Off-the-hump throwing is done directly on the aluminum

Small (2 lbs. & under) pieces with flat bottoms are done
on 7" diameter double tempered masonite, held on by
a 1 lb. low centered piece of clay. Works great, the
bats stick on, but can be easily removed by lifting up
on one side.
One sheet makes about 100 bats, for a cost of about
20 cents each.

Large pieces are done on Formica covered sink cut-outs.
This is the piece that is left over when they install a
sink in a bathroom. About 16" diameter. Suitable for
really big or really wide pots.
These bats are held on by three cleats - 2 " long pieces
of 1 X 2's - on the bottom of the bat.
To install the cleats, just put the bat on the wheel, center
it, and then draw a line on the bottom of the bat, with
the pencil against the outside of the wheelhead.
Screw and glue the 3 cleats equally spaced around the line.
(This is the same idea that the Giffen Grip uses to attach
to the wheelhead).

These bats last, basically, forever.
The first ones I made in 1975 still fit tight and are as flat
as West Texas. In the center, the color has worn off the Formica,
and they're down to the brown color.
A few of these bats have gotten loose through the years.
No big deal - just glue a piece of shirt cardboard or a sliver
of wood to the inside surface of one of the cleats.
You get sink cutouts at a cabinet shop. In the 70's, I paid
a quarter each; they may be a dollar now.
15 or 20 of these is plenty, 'cause you only use them for
fairly good sized pots.
To use them, there's no need to align holes - just plop
them on the wheelhead.
These bats are also the ticket for trimming those bowls that
are bigger than the wheelhead. Much sturdier than masonite
or plastic.
Glue a piece of foam rubber on one for "jar-lid" trimming bat.

David Hendley
Maydelle, Texas

David Hendley on tue 16 oct 01

Man, I am tired of reading about loose bats!
(I can't help it; I read at least one sentence of every message
to Clayart).
Since I haven't done it in a few years, I'll go over my vastly
superior bat system that I have been using for 25 years.

First, throw away the idiotic bat pins.
Now, you have a nice wheellhead for throwing small items,
throwing off the hump, and trimming.

Next, go to a cabinet shop and get their sink cutouts. These
are the round Formica-covered pieces that are left over
from installing a bathroom lavatory. Some places will give
them away; some might want a buck.

Center the cutout on your wheelhead, and draw around
the perimeter of the wheelhead onto the bottom of the cutout
with a pencil.
Attach 3 short pieces of 1-by-2 boards, or any scraps of lumber,
equally spaced, so the inside edges of the cleats just touch
the pencil line.
Use wood glue and wood screws.
Three minutes per bat.

There you go. These bats fit by friction. No holes to find
to re-attach a bat. No knife needed to remove the bat.
If one ever gets loose (unlikely but possible), just glue a
piece of shirt cardboard to the inside surface of one of
the cleats.

The only drawback is that your splashpan might not
fit around such large bats.
The best cure for that is to throw out the splashpan
because it means you are throwing too wet anyway.
If you won't do that, use the same cleat system, but trim
the cutouts down to a smaller diameter, just a little larger
than your wheelhead.

David Hendley
Maydelle, Texas