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irregular shapes on the giffin grip

updated sat 30 sep 06

 

Maurice Weitman on tue 19 sep 06


At 10:14 -0400 on 9/19/06, Bruce Girrell wrote:
>Several people now have mentioned trimming irregularly shaped pieces
>on the Giffin Grip.
>
>What am I missing? How do you get the three equally-spaced arms to
>hold an irregularly shaped piece on the center that you want? And
>when the top is irregular (even when the piece is round - after you
>have pulled the spout on a pitcher, e.g.), how do you achieve proper
>center?

Hello, Bruce, and others gripped by this discussion.

Don't you hate it when someone answers a question with a question?

Sorry, but here goes: how do you achieve proper center if the top is
irregular (or on a pot having a spout or handle) using a chuck?
(Preview: I think it's easier with the GG, btw.)

Without going into the relative merits of getting a grip or chucking
it, I've rarely been unable to use the GG on irregularly-shaped pots.

I use foam pads, strips, and chunks of various density and shape to
help center an eccentric (or square) pot within the GG's pads.

I also often use a foam-ish pad (non-skid rug liner, etc.) to put
under more tenuously positioned pots, such as bottom-heavy pots with
narrow necks, etc., so that when they're being held by Mr. GG's long
arms, the top of the pot (now on the bottom, right?) will be more
stable.

If I have time, I'll put up some pics to help illustrate what I'm
trying to explain more clearly.

In the meantime, I hope that helps.

G'night.

Best,
Maurice

Fredrick Paget on tue 19 sep 06


>
>What am I missing? How do you get the three equally-spaced arms to hold =
>an irregularly shaped piece on the center that you want? And when the =
>top is irregular (even when the piece is round - after you have pulled =
>the spout on a pitcher, e.g.), how do you achieve proper center?
>
>Bruce "perplexed" Girrell=20
>i
A few years ago in a little store in Canada, I found a set of three
Giffin sliders that had been modified so they slid free in the three
slots of the grip. There was a saw cut and a small screw with a
knurled nut so you can tighten them up so they stay anyplace in the
groove. With these you freely center the piece and slide the sliders
up to grip it and then tighten the screws. They are then firmly fixed
in the groove.
I am uncertain if Giffin themselves made these or if someone else
modified stock sliders. It is not too hard to do.
I once asked and Giffin's booth attendant at NCECA said they don't
make them anymore.
They are handy for out of center stuff and also to hold he bottom of
something that is gripped at the top since they do not interfere with
he regular sliders that are in the same groove but further out.
Fred Paget
--
Twin Dragon Studio
Mill Valley, CA, USA

Bruce Girrell on tue 19 sep 06


Several people now have mentioned trimming irregularly shaped pieces on =
the Giffin Grip.=20

What am I missing? How do you get the three equally-spaced arms to hold =
an irregularly shaped piece on the center that you want? And when the =
top is irregular (even when the piece is round - after you have pulled =
the spout on a pitcher, e.g.), how do you achieve proper center?

Bruce "perplexed" Girrell=20
in cool, rainy northern Michigan
where fall is coming way too freakin fast

pdp1@EARTHLINK.NET on tue 19 sep 06


Hi Bruce,



I have never used a 'Giffin Grip', and I do not
think I could play one on Television, but I would
venture to say, that irregularly shaped pieces
might be held to a desired Center, by putting
spacers of some kind, stable wads, or 'shims' in
effect, between the work, and one or two Arms of
the 'grip'...


Phil
Las Veggies
Where...it is Autumn here too already...a couple
days early I s'pose...but 40 degrees cooler that
it were a few weeks ago...quite a shock to one's
system...!



----- Original Message -----
From: "Bruce Girrell"


Several people now have mentioned trimming
irregularly shaped pieces on the Giffin Grip.

What am I missing? How do you get the three
equally-spaced arms to hold an irregularly shaped
piece on the center that you want? And when the
top is irregular (even when the piece is round -
after you have pulled the spout on a pitcher,
e.g.), how do you achieve proper center?

Bruce "perplexed" Girrell
in cool, rainy northern Michigan
where fall is coming way too freakin fast

Don Goodrich on wed 20 sep 06


Bruce and Phil,
The attachments for trimming irregular shapes consist
of a set of sliders for the finger rods, but these do not
engage the spiral groove as regular sliders do. They only
go far enough to reach the underside of the upper plate,
and are held in place with screw clamps. You can use just
one, or more for a more eccentric pot.

Don Goodrich in suddenly colder Zion, Illinois

pdp1@EARTHLINK.NET on wed 20 sep 06


Hi Maurice,


You ask -

> Sorry, but here goes: how do you achieve proper
center if the top is
> irregular (or on a pot having a spout or handle)
using a chuck?


For which the answer is...
You adjust the placement of the Chuck, on the
Wheel Head, so that the work it is holding is both
vertical and centered, for the Trimming you need
to do.

If a Chuck needs to have an irregular aperature,
or a notch in it, one can cut out some of the
Chuck for that run or kind of work to be held.

Or, if the Chuck needs to go inside the piece,
gently of course, then one decides a way for that
to be convenient.

One could probably make Chucks out of plasticine
or Modelling Clay or other more or less sturdy yet
non-drying semi-stiff 'clay' like material, on
their own dedicated permenent Bat ( and remove the
Pins form the Wheel Head so the Bat can be held
otherwise and correctly 'centered' in deference to
the piece, or use that Bat on top of one which
does lock to the Pins ), which Modelling Clay can
be thrown, altered, easily modified, modified
again one needs to in the future,
indefinitely...and kept covered when not in use...

At least that was my plan, were I ever to be
needing to be Trimming Handled, tall, or irregular
form's bottoms...


Best wishes...

Phil
Las Vegas


----- Original Message -----
From: "Maurice Weitman"

> At 10:14 -0400 on 9/19/06, Bruce Girrell wrote:
> >Several people now have mentioned trimming
irregularly shaped pieces
> >on the Giffin Grip.
> >
> >What am I missing? How do you get the three
equally-spaced arms to
> >hold an irregularly shaped piece on the center
that you want? And
> >when the top is irregular (even when the piece
is round - after you
> >have pulled the spout on a pitcher, e.g.), how
do you achieve proper
> >center?
>
> Hello, Bruce, and others gripped by this
discussion.
>
> Don't you hate it when someone answers a
question with a question?
>
> Sorry, but here goes: how do you achieve proper
center if the top is
> irregular (or on a pot having a spout or handle)
using a chuck?
> (Preview: I think it's easier with the GG, btw.)
>
> Without going into the relative merits of
getting a grip or chucking
> it, I've rarely been unable to use the GG on
irregularly-shaped pots.
>
> I use foam pads, strips, and chunks of various
density and shape to
> help center an eccentric (or square) pot within
the GG's pads.
>
> I also often use a foam-ish pad (non-skid rug
liner, etc.) to put
> under more tenuously positioned pots, such as
bottom-heavy pots with
> narrow necks, etc., so that when they're being
held by Mr. GG's long
> arms, the top of the pot (now on the bottom,
right?) will be more
> stable.
>
> If I have time, I'll put up some pics to help
illustrate what I'm
> trying to explain more clearly.
>
> In the meantime, I hope that helps.
>
> G'night.
>
> Best,
> Maurice

David Hendley on wed 20 sep 06


----- Original Message -----
> Don't you hate it when someone answers a question with a question?
>
> Sorry, but here goes: how do you achieve proper center if the top is
> irregular (or on a pot having a spout or handle) using a chuck?
> (Preview: I think it's easier with the GG, btw.)
>

I am not trying to convince any Giffen Guardians that their holy
grail is not worthwhile. As I always say when this discussion comes
up, as it does regularly on Clayart, if you like your GG, good for
you. Trim hundreds of mugs in record time with it.

It is usually pretty easy to prepare a form for trimming when using
a chuck. For most forms, if the pot is thrown off-center, you simply
move the chuck over. I know this sounds wildly inefficient and
unscientific compared to a mechanical device with three precisely
spaced spiral grooves, sliders, arms, and hands, but this is another
instance where the skill can be learned. It provides good results
without searching through a box of plastic hands and steel arms.
No set screws required.

When writing about chucks, I mean freshly-thrown chucks made
with slightly stiffer-than-usual clay. They can be external (the form
fits inside the chuck) or internal (the form goes around the chuck).
An irregular top, such as a fluted or wavy top, is irrelevant to
the procedure.
In some situations using the internal chuck, the GG cannot compete
because the little plastic hands will be in the way no matter how
you arrange them. The screw-on caps for my jugs, for instance, are
trimmed from top to bottom. Whatever holds them for trimming
has to be on the inside, nothing holding from the outside would work.

A pitcher, as I make them with a wide top and high generous spout,
does not lend itself to using chucks. There are at least 3 ways
to accommodate the spout for trimming.
1. Make a coil 3/4 of the circumference of the lip, and apply it either
to the lip, leaving a blank space at the spout or similarly apply it
to the wheelhead. This provides a false but level 'new top' for the
piece. At this point you can trim it either with or without the GG,
makes no difference.
2. Throw either a low centered ball or a donut on the wheelhead,
then, with a fettling knife, cut out a 'pie piece'. Place the pitcher
on top of this, and the cutout will accommodate the spout.
3. If you make a lot of pitchers, make a 'pitcher-trimming-batt'.
This is a 3/4" or thicker batt with a 'U' or 'V' shape cut out of it.
Your pitcher will sit right on the batt, with a relief area for the
spout. My pitcher batt, as well as all my large throwing batts, attach
to the wheelhead with 3 cleats around the circumference of the
wheel head. This is the same system, BTW, that Brian Giffen used
for the grip, and the system I have been using since before the days
of the grip.

As for trimming a pot with a handle, why? Sorry, but I can't think
of any reason why you would want to do that.

Since we are discussing trimming, how 'bout it Hank, tell us about
your precision foam batt trimming system?

David Hendley
Maydelle, Texas
david(at)farmpots(dot)com
http://www.farmpots.com

je motzkin on wed 20 sep 06


For heavenís sake. The Giffin Grip is a tool. Practice with it and you figure out what you can do with it. Beginning potter trimming a bowl on a grip is a sad and scary thought. It is not for all things. Big potter inclined to big pots trying to use it, just as scary.

Just a tool, smartly designed. (by a very nice guy).Nothing wrong with it. No magic in it. Not a substitute for learning to tap on center.

I have been enjoying the elevated level of this discussion. Clennell to Lee was insightful and cutting. Philís thoughtful ideas to the perplexed. Elizabethís gauntlet thrown down to David. And more. Such passion.

But itís just a tool.

Judy

www.motzkin.com


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W J Seidl on wed 20 sep 06


David:
Duck and cover, buddy!
The tap-center gods are looking down from heaven as I write, wondering =
where
to throw the first lightning bolt! I think they're aiming at you. They
blackened my ass last year .

ROFL,
Wayne





It is usually pretty easy to prepare a form for trimming when using
a chuck. For most forms, if the pot is thrown off-center, you simply
move the chuck over. I know this sounds wildly inefficient and
unscientific compared to a mechanical device with three precisely
spaced spiral grooves, sliders, arms, and hands, but this is another
instance where the skill can be learned. It provides good results
without searching through a box of plastic hands and steel arms.
No set screws required.

Deborah Woods on wed 20 sep 06


I love my giffen grip and use it extensively when trimming generally round
forms. But I find that the time needed to mickey-rigg it to hold a piece
that is not symetrical, is just not worth the time, and I get out some clay
and center it the old fashioned way. If you have a lot of irregular forms
that would warrant the time, you could as I have done, make a clay pad on
the wheel with soft clay and cover it with a piece of cheese cloth if it's
sticky, and level your pot into that (for a pot with a spout). I'm sure
there are other good ideas from other potters too. That said, I think giffen
actually manufactures, at least at one time, a set of hands or arms designed
for irregular pots, but I havn't seen them advertised in a while.

Nancy Braches on thu 21 sep 06


I think the giffen grip is good if you are making and trimming a lot of the same style pot. I don't have one in the studio anymore as I want the students to learn the nuts and bolts basics of throwing, trimming, etc. Heck I just broke down and bought a set of potlifters! .... not an old school long time potter here, just think you need to learn the basics and have a solid background before turning to the easier way. I even do the turn the lights off and "feel" the clay....see what happens.

Nancy
Hilltop Pottery

Deborah Woods wrote: I love my giffen grip and use it extensively when trimming generally round
forms. But I find that the time needed to mickey-rigg it to hold a piece
that is not symetrical, is just not worth the time, and I get out some clay
and center it the old fashioned way. If you have a lot of irregular forms
that would warrant the time, you could as I have done, make a clay pad on
the wheel with soft clay and cover it with a piece of cheese cloth if it's
sticky, and level your pot into that (for a pot with a spout). I'm sure
there are other good ideas from other potters too. That said, I think giffen
actually manufactures, at least at one time, a set of hands or arms designed
for irregular pots, but I havn't seen them advertised in a while.

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Deborah Woods on sat 23 sep 06


Alright, I have one more post to this. I know everyone is entitled to their
ideas and opinions, but I am dismayed sometimes to read how people "should"
learn to do things. So many people for reasons I can not begin to
comprehend are down on the giffen grip. Sure it is nice to know how to
center without one, I would hate to be without the grip and have to stare
dumbly down at my quivering pot not knowing what to do. But it is not a cop
out or an easy way. It is simply a tool for efficiencies sake (I know the
spelling is bad). It saves an enormous amount of time if you are trimming
25 or 50 coffee cups or the like. On Off, On Off. Bang. It's not
cheating. One persons idea of learning things the old fashioned way is
anothers idea of unnecessary luxury or vice versa I guess. Should we all
spin our wheels with sticks as well? I am sure that our electric wheels or
even our kickwheels are a grand luxury to many in the world. There are too
many camps in life of the should and shouldn'ts. Everyone seems to have to
break up into these little clubs. Who cares how someone does something?
What's the threat? I wish we could be a little more open minded. I've just
heard this discussion so much. Just my opinion.

Deborah

Alyssa Ettinger on fri 29 sep 06


ok, this is a topic that never dies. it's been going on forever. i remember
it in college. i hear it now.

here's my two cents: my work isn't perfect, that's ok. i am not perfect,
that's ok. if i can't pull a wall as high as i'd like i'm not a loser. if my
pots are wobbly and not perfect it shows only that they're handmade.
sometimes my pots need a lot of trimming.. so what? sometimes my pots are
off-center; oh well. i use my giffen without apologizing: i use it for
trimming, for decorating slip-cast items. i'd wear it as a hat if i thought
i would look nice.

and that's really what it comes down to... does your piece look nice in the
end? if so, you win. you've created art, congrats. it doesn't need to be
perfect; you can buy perfect at the target. you don't need to be a master
thrower to be an artist, you just need to love the medium with which you work.

the snottiness about the giffen and all the other stuff that
potters/ceramists is obnoxious at best. we're grown-ups, not children. if i
hear one more "rule" about being a potter i may scream. why do we need to
one-up each other? why does it matter if one person uses a giffen and others
don't? really, it's not heart surgery. do whatever works for you. otherwise,
it's all like paint-by-numbers, craft instead of art.

Nancy Braches on fri 29 sep 06


I think when a person asks for an opinion in an open forum, it's time to give your opinion. Each of us has a style, method, etc that we like best and some will fight til their death that their way is right. RIGHT for them. I like when someone asks for an opinion so they can hear the pros and cons each of us feel. I don't think we have a one upping contest going on, just most of us responding as to what our opinion is on this particular tool. If we aren't here to help each other can give our opinions openly...then what is this site all about???

Nancy
Hilltop Pottery

Alyssa Ettinger wrote: ok, this is a topic that never dies. it's been going on forever. i remember
it in college. i hear it now.

here's my two cents: my work isn't perfect, that's ok. i am not perfect,
that's ok. if i can't pull a wall as high as i'd like i'm not a loser. if my
pots are wobbly and not perfect it shows only that they're handmade.
sometimes my pots need a lot of trimming.. so what? sometimes my pots are
off-center; oh well. i use my giffen without apologizing: i use it for
trimming, for decorating slip-cast items. i'd wear it as a hat if i thought
i would look nice.

and that's really what it comes down to... does your piece look nice in the
end? if so, you win. you've created art, congrats. it doesn't need to be
perfect; you can buy perfect at the target. you don't need to be a master
thrower to be an artist, you just need to love the medium with which you work.

the snottiness about the giffen and all the other stuff that
potters/ceramists is obnoxious at best. we're grown-ups, not children. if i
hear one more "rule" about being a potter i may scream. why do we need to
one-up each other? why does it matter if one person uses a giffen and others
don't? really, it's not heart surgery. do whatever works for you. otherwise,
it's all like paint-by-numbers, craft instead of art.

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Alyssa Ettinger on fri 29 sep 06


except that every time a topic like this comes up it becomes the kind of
conversation i'm talking about. mention a giffen and, if you look in the
archives, there are ten peop;le immediately jumping on it asking why you
need the giffen? after all, they don't need it, they can tap their pot into
place in two seconds. so, from what i've seen, it always becomes the
scenario i've described

Bruce Girrell on fri 29 sep 06


> I think when a person asks for an opinion in an open forum, it's
> time to give your opinion.

But the thing that gets me about this thread was that I never asked anything
anywhere close to "is the GG a good tool" nor did I ask anything else
looking for an opinion.

Several people in a different thread had mentioned that they used the GG for
trimming irregular shapes. I had already made a post in that thread saying
that the three jaw self centering design did not allow trimming of irregular
shapes. But here were people saying that they already _were_ using it for
irregular shapes.

So I asked the question "how are irregular shapes trimmed using the GG?" I
don't care whether you like the tool or not. I do use one, but only for
revolute shapes. Some people were trimming irregular shapes and I wanted to
know how they did it. Those who started voicing their opinions about whether
or not the GG is a suitable tool simply had not read my post and responded
with an automatic "I like/hate the Giffin Grip" post. I changed the subject
line of my query specifically to avoid the love/hate battle, obviously to no
avail.

I thank those who _did_ respond to my question. I have used the shim method
and for small irregularities it works but I would not want to use shims for
a grossly irregular shape. What I was not aware of was the non-engaging
sliders which were apparently once available, but now could simply be made
by altering standard sliders. Non-engaging sliders turn the device into an
independent jaw chuck that is quite capable of centering any shape.

Bruce Girrell

Michael Wendt on fri 29 sep 06


Bruce has asked:
"Several people in a different thread had mentioned
that they used the GG for
trimming irregular shapes. I had already made a post in
that thread saying
that the three jaw self centering design did not allow
trimming of irregular
shapes. But here were people saying that they already
_were_ using it for
irregular shapes."

I routinely trim shapes that are irregular
with the Giffen Grip by a means I call
"follower trimming"
With this method, I use a vinyl exam glove
as a way to avoid friction and hold the
piece in the grip in any manner I can that
doesn't break or damage the piece.
The trim tool hand is rested firmly on the
left hand thumb as the wheel turns slowly
enough that I can literally follow the desired
shape during trimming.
With practice you can trim pitchers whose
spouts preclude the wet rim technique often
mentioned as an alternative to a GG.
I could record the follower technique along
with some other production assists and
make the video available at low cost like
the plate video.
I now have a DVD recorder so I hope to
make the plate video available on DVD
soon.
Regards,
Michael Wendt
Wendt Pottery
2729 Clearwater Ave
Lewiston, Idaho 83501
USA
wendtpot@lewiston.com
www.wendtpottery.com