Pottery Wheels

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Pottery Wheels and Equipment

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  • Pottery Clay
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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What should I consider when shopping for a pottery wheel?

    Surprisingly, quietness is one of the most important considerations since you’ll either be using the wheel in your own studio, or in a classroom where many wheels are operating at the same time. You’ll find some models run quieter than others. You’ll also want to consider capacity, i.e., how many pounds of clay the wheel can handle — which corresponds to how much torque (or horsepower) it has. Every professional pottery wheel will accommodate at least 50 lbs of clay. (See below for more about horsepower and throwing capacity.) Finally, consider the diameter of the wheel head, which dictates the size of the pottery pieces you’ll be throwing on a daily basis. Although a larger wheel head can accommodate larger pieces, this may not be necessary for a beginning potter. Also, keep in mind that a removable 14” diameter bat can be attached to a 12” diameter wheel head, giving potters the option of working larger than the actual wheel head.

  • How important is horsepower?

    Very important, as it determines how much clay the wheel can handle. However, you’ll find that not all pottery wheels are rated equally. For example, a 1/3HP continuous-duty motor may have more horsepower than a 1HP peak-duty motor. This is why manufacturers also include in their product specifications how much clay can be continuously thrown on their wheels — anywhere from 25 lbs (the weight of a bag of moist clay) up to 300 lbs and even more. Keep in mind that the average coffee mug weighs approximately 1 lb, so be realistic about the amount of power you need. A good rule of thumb is that a 1/3HP motor is adequate for most hobbyists, beginning students, and intermediate students throwing pieces weighing less than 50 lbs, while 1/2–1HP motors are best suited for advanced students and professional potters who throw larger pieces.

  • Why is a warranty important?

    Because a pottery wheel is an expensive purchase, it’s wise to choose one with a multi-year manufacturer’s warranty. Whether purchased for a school setting or a private studio, a pottery wheel should last for years under normal use. That being said, a warranty that covers defects in workmanship and parts for five or 10 years will ensure peace of mind if repairs are needed.

  • Speaking of price, how much should I expect to spend on a pottery wheel?

    Pottery wheel prices vary widely depending on the factors mentioned above and others. Much like a favorite wine, the pottery wheel that carries the highest price is not necessarily the best wheel for your purposes. Before choosing a pottery wheel, talk to other artists, attend pottery shows, and visit local studios to learn about and try different models so you can make an informed decision.