There are so many pottery tools out there, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. However, there are some basic tools that every potter should own.
A steel needle tool, a metal scraper, a wooden rib (metal for shaping and wood for smoothing), a wire clay cutter, and sponges (to keep your work moisturized). These tools are essential for hand building and wheel throwing.
Wire Clay Cutter
A wire clay cutter is a basic tool that is useful for cutting lumps of clay and removing finished work from the potter’s wheel. It is a piece of braided wire with simple wooden handles on either end. It resembles a cheese cutter and is typically used by beginners.
It is important to choose a wire cutter with solid and sturdy wooden handles. This way the tools hold up to the wear and tear of frequent use. The wood also holds up well to moisture and doesn’t absorb water like other materials do.
The handles are designed to be comfortable in your hands while you work with the clay. Unlike other models that have rubber handles, these wooden ones are easy to grip and stay together even after prolonged use. This is important as you can easily lose control if your hands are full of clay. There are also a variety of lengths and gauges available on the market, so you can choose the pottery equipment that is right for your needs. There are even some with notches to help you determine the thickness of your slab.
If you’re new to pottery, or just starting out on your wheel throwing journey, this is the kit for you. It includes all the essentials for sculpting and hand building. This set is made by a reputable brand, and it’s great for beginners because the tools are lightweight yet sturdy. They’re also comfortable to hold in your hands even when they’re wet.
This set comes with a wire loop tool, wood modeling tool, wooden rib, metal rib, and a sponge. It’s a great choice for beginner potters because it’s affordable and includes everything you need to get started.
A rib is a flat tool with two different sides that’s often used to smooth out the clay and create impressions in it. You can find a variety of rib shapes and sizes to meet your needs. They’re usually made from boxwood and have precise functions such as a curled one to fine-tune rounded exteriors of pots or a teardrop-shaped rib to flatten out the base of bowls. They’re a key part of any pottery toolkit and are often included in starter kits.
The steel scraper is a versatile implement for texturing, shaping, and refining pottery. You can use it to lift and scrape dry clay from your work surface, mix wet clays, cut a piece of leather-hard clay with its straight edge or flex it around the curve of your pottery shapes. Metal scrapers are durable and flexible, but they can also be dangerous if you accidentally cut yourself with them.
A rib, also known as a loop tool, is a flat, metal-or-wooden-based tool that helps you trim your pots after they’ve been shaped. It can be used to remove excess clay, create a foot ring, and refine other details such as a spout on a mug or base ring on a vase.
Many beginner kits include a wooden rib with two flat sides, or you can purchase one separately. The best ribs are durable and can bend and flex to match the curve of your pot. They’re available in a variety of thicknesses, so you can choose the one that suits your needs. You can even buy a special, laser-cut stainless steel scraper that’s designed to be strong and durable.
Wood Modeling Tool
If you plan on sculpting your clay pieces, you need a good modeling tool. These wooden tools have a variety of shapes and contours to fit your hands and work like an extension of them. They’re carved from acacia wood and showcase smooth surfaces that feel good in your hand.
A model tool is a great choice for beginners because it’s lightweight and doesn’t require much strength to use. It’s also easy to clean.
Another excellent model tool is a throwing stick, which helps you reach hard-to-reach places on a pot as it grows in height. It’s a handy tool for those who primarily make pottery by hand.
Sponges and Pottery Tool Kits
Pottery tool kits are durable and feel sturdy. They have held up well so far and have not splintered from use over the past year. This is a great set of tools for beginner potters or anyone who wants to save on a few essentials!
Sponges are multicellular marine animals of the phylum Porifera. There are 5,000 living species of sponge. Most sponges are sessile aquatic animals, but some are motile. Sponges feed by filtering water passing over their surfaces, absorbing dissolved food particles.
Commercially-available basic pottery sets usually include a round palm-sized sponge, which can be used for adding water to clay and for general clean-up of the work surface. Basic sets also commonly include a wooden rib, which can be used for smoothing and shaping the clay on a wheel and scrapping excess clay from the bat or wheel head. A rib is a long flat tool around the length of a pencil, which can be made of wood or metal and may have a smooth or serrated edge.