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bat pins still stink

updated wed 8 nov 06


David Hendley on tue 7 nov 06

Here is a reprint of my posting to Clayart from 1999. All I can
add is 'amen', and '25 years' is now 30 years:

Man, am I tired of reading about loose bats!
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 wheelhead for throwing small items,
throwing off the hump, and trimming. Bat pins render the
wheelhead useless, since no one wants to spend time installing
and removing them throughout the day for different applications.
I can't understand why bat pins became the standard for
potter's wheels (here in North America, anyway). Every time
I go to a school to do a workshop, I'm again reminded why I
hate them. It usually takes a dozen tries to find one good bat
with tight holes, and a bat must be used since the wheelhead
is not useable with pins sticking out of it.

Now, go to a cabinet shop and get their sink cutouts. These
are the round Formica-covered pieces that are left over
from installing bathroom lavatories. Some places will give
them away; some might want a buck.
If you don't like Formica, make your own disks out of plywood,
MDF, or whatever wood-like material you like.

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.
(This is the same idea that the Giffen Grip uses to attach
to the wheelhead).

There you go. These bats fit by friction. No holes to find
to re-attach a bat, so they are great for large forms that are
removed from the wheel and dried between adding more
coils. No knife or tool is needed to remove a bat.
If one ever gets loose (unlikely but possible), just glue a
piece of shirt cardboard or thin wood to the inside surface
of one of the cleats to tighten it up.

The only drawback is that your splashpan might not
fit around such large bats.
The best solution for that is to throw out the splashpan,
because you are probably throwing too wet anyway.
If you don't want do that, use the same cleat system, but
trim the cutouts down to a smaller diameter, just a little
larger than your wheelhead.
The16" diameter sink cut-out bats are also the ticket for
trimming those bowls that are bigger than the wheelhead.
Much sturdier than masonite or plastic.

Now, off-the-hump throwing can be done directly on the
aluminum wheelhead.
These bats are big, so my 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. This works great for
small items - 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 a quarter

David Hendley
Maydelle, Texas

Marek & Pauline Drzazga-Donaldson on tue 7 nov 06

Dear David Hendley,

love your post - great idea, but as I have different sized wheel heads =
it will not work for me. I do use bat pins, I also agree that they =
stink, but on the two main wheels that I use to throw large they really =
do the job.
On my smaller wheel head I just throw a bat of clay, gouge out =
concentric grooves, then three radial grooves from the centre outwards =
(this stops the bat from sticking too hard), place the bat down, use a =
little slip you have on your hands from throwing and away you go, reuse =
the clay bat all day, or until it gets too tired and emotional.=20
If you want to recentre the bat at a later time, loosely place and tap =
centre, then press down on the bat. No lugss or bat pins. Works well for =
most sizes, but not for the really large stuff I generally throw.

Happy Potting Marek

Hand made Architectural Ceramics from No9 Studio UK
Fully Residential Pottery Courses and more at Mole Cottage =
"Tips and Time Travel from a Vernacular Potter" reviews on =
an irreverent point of view after 35 years in the game Marek =
Drzazga-Donaldson =20
Assemble a dragon finial at
Free Works and Mole Cottage DVD's and Video content on all the sites

Taylor Hendrix on tue 7 nov 06

Monsignor Hendley,

I can't remember what I did with those pictures of my Hendley bat
project, but when I find them I will flickr or blog them. Someone
might try faroutmachining for them.

I have used my Hendley bats for over 330 days! Mine are plywood and
have never let me down. One day I will have as many as you and can
stack mine on the floor and they will reach to the ceiling.

As for bat pins, my hatred of them is not so strong but just as
complete. When I bought my Lockerbie I discovered that some dink had
drilled the pin holes so that one of the bolts penetrated through just
the edge of one of those cast ribs on the underside. As a result the
wing nut could not be tightened and the hole had wallered out (that is
a technical term her in Texas) crooked like. I just took them out and
got down to the basics: clay on wheel head.

You should describe your three-point racking system for those bats,
David. I've been thinking of my own system that will allow me to place
them for drying as well.

Rock on Clayart!

Taylor, in Rockport TX

On 11/7/06, David Hendley wrote:
> Here is a reprint of my posting to Clayart from 1999. All I can
> add is 'amen', and '25 years' is now 30 years:

lela martens on tue 7 nov 06

>From: David Hendley
>Reply-To: Clayart
>Now, go to a cabinet shop and get their sink cutouts. These
>are the round Formica-covered pieces that are left over
>from installing bathroom lavatories. Some places will give
>them away; some might want a buck.


I`ll butt in here to remind, and tell newbies about `freecycle`.
There are local groups world wide where members offer or request.
The object is to give our landfills some relief. Just Google
`freecycle` and it will lead you to your local. I got sink
cut outs, some very large, that made 2 smaller bats from a contractor.
landscaped his yard with materials others had bought too much of.
The main rule is that things are indeed `free`. You wouldn`t
believe what`s offered sometimes!
Garden sheds, DVD players, gravel, appliances, linens, etc., many new
since many North Americans just like to shop...
Best wishes from Lela

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