Friday, August 17, 2007

Tool Talk - Rasp

I have a confession. I am addicted to shopping. You may think that this is one of those stereotypical women things but its worse. I am addicted to shopping at Home Depot. I wander the aisles aimlessly, thinking of how to convert carpenters tools into studio tools. I have no idea what construction people do with dowels, but mine are used to create even slabs of clay. Metal wire turns into hanging systems for my planters. Paint mixers on a drill are the best way to mix large quantities of glaze. I hate to admit what my wire cutters have been up to! My long standing favorite must be the rasp. A rasp was originally designed as a woodworking tool but I buy just the replacement blades for my studio. As a beginner potter, I relied quite heavily on a rasp. It evened out the lopsided mouths of those tiny cylinders we all started with. Once clay is leather hard, a rasp cuts it like cheese. Now I use my rasp more for slab construction. I can create perfect right angles on boxes just with a few gentle drags of the rasp. I have started producing some small sake sets and the rasp helps me trim up the base of the cylinder without having to trim it on the wheel. Because the top of the sake carafe is much more narrow that the base, it is a lot trickier to trim on the wheel. I just wait until it is leather hard and the rasp cleans up the bottom easily with minimum effort and time. The other added benefit of using a rasp is the shredded clay it creates. If you are ever in a hurry for some slip, the gratings from the rasp dry within minutes because they are so thin. Add a little water and you have the perfect consistency for slip.

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