Whether you’re on a tight budget or you are looking for a second pottery wheel, a used pottery wheel may be an option for you.
Buying a used pottery wheel will save you some money, but you don’t want to buy a broken wheel. So, always look out for critical features before you close a deal. In this article, I’ll take a deeper look at 10 Things to Consider when buying a used pottery wheel.
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Here are 10 Things to Consider when buying a used pottery wheel:
- Type of Pottery Wheel
- Reason For Selling
- Wheel Head Diameter
- Where To Find a Used Pottery Wheel
1. Type of Pottery Wheel
The pottery wheel market has a wide range of wheels of different shapes, sizes, and materials. It’s important to know which type of wheel you need because not every pottery wheel is worth purchasing. For instance, you wouldn’t want a manual wheel with slower throwing power if you’re in commercial pottery production.
Now, it’s crucial to have a checklist of all the features you’d want in your preferred type of wheel. This will save you the time of clicking on every advert you see on pottery wheels. Moreover, it will keep you focused on only going for what you specifically need.
If you need a sturdy wheel for production, don’t go for the cheaper small-sized ones. They can only throw small amounts of clay and are less durable. So, despite their luring prices, keep in mind your pottery needs.
Instead of buying a pottery wheel only because it looks appealing, identify specific features that will meet your needs. If you’re a new potter and wondering what qualities you can look out for in pottery wheels, visit a nearby pottery studio, school, or store and do your research. Alternatively, check out pottery websites for information on what a good wheel entails. Like Choosing a Pottery Wheel Guide
For a beginner or a recreational potter, a small wheel is a good choice. If the wheel has proper speed control and is within your locality, it will serve your needs. Moreover, it’s a perfect wheel to learn your way up the crafting ladder.
Did you come across an intriguing ad for a used pottery wheel? If it meets your preferences, you first have to confirm that it’s working effectively. Test driving a used pottery wheel will help you identify any damage or serious issue with the wheel. Therefore, request the seller to let you test the wheel before buying it.
Now, let’s look at what you to check when test driving the wheel:
- The power cord’s condition: If the power cord has 3-prongs, it will be grounded when you plug it in. Then it will be safe to use, as making pottery involves working with water. However, it is dangerous to use a cord with cuts or exposed wires as it is prone to electrical mishaps (like short-circuiting).
- The wheel’s sound when spinning: The sound (or noise) that a pottery wheel makes while spinning can tell you something about its condition. So, if you hear a purr or no noise when the wheel spins, it is in good working condition. However, if the wheel makes a lot of squeaking or grinding noise, it could be that the wheel head bearings or the drive belt need replacing.
- The foot peddle’s response: You can determine if the foot peddle is good if it stays at the speed when you place your off the peddle. If you feel some stickiness, the peddle might require some lubrication.
- The wheel head: Since it is the most important part of a pottery wheel, you should check if it is spinning smoothly or wobbles when you place something on it. So, look if all the screws and bolts connecting the wheel head to the shaft are in good condition. If there is any rust, the wheel might not serve you for long because of its corrosive nature.
3. Reason for Selling
People sell used items due to various reasons. It could be that the seller was trying out a new hobby but found it not fulfilling, or the wheel didn’t meet their expectations. While others could also be selling second-hand wheels since they upgraded and bought a new wheel.
To be on the safe side, always find out why the seller wants to get rid of their pottery wheel.
However, it’s often easy to tell what exactly you will be getting from the seller. Some may be sincere, while others may give you wrong information to entice you to buy the wheel. However, you can take the risk by asking them about the wheel’s history.
If the seller is the original owner and wants to buy a different model, the wheel could still be in good condition. However, if the person bought it from a garage sale, the wheel may be faulty. Also, if the seller has recently bought a new machine of the same brand and is selling the other one, then the wheel might have some defects.
So, inquire about everything about the wheel, and you’ll probably make the best decision if the seller is honest.
If you’ve finally come across an excellent used pottery wheel that matches your needs, you might also consider how much it goes for. Well, most second-hand wheels are more cost-friendly than brand new ones. Moreover, some sellers may offer discounts if they’re in a hurry to close the deal or are making a clearance sale.
So, before purchasing a pottery wheel, it can help to find out if it has a discount. Also, if the price is above your budget, you can negotiate it. The salesperson might be willing to accept a lower bid if they want to sell the item after several failed attempts.
Now, how will you negotiate for a price if you have no information about the current market prices? To bid successfully at a lower price, you should know how much a new wheel costs. With this in mind, you can determine how much a used wheel might be going for.
For instance, if the new wheel version is $800, the used model should probably be around $600, depending on how old the wheel is. If the seller is offering it at $600, you can request a $100 discount. If he accepts to take $500, that extra saving will help you buy other necessary pottery tools.
If the seller is too eager to accept a lower price, it could be that the wheel may have some issues. So, if you notice minor defects that you can repair at a low cost, you can use them as a reference when negotiating. However, you wouldn’t want to push them too hard, as you can lose the deal.
When buying an item, a warranty is essential as it offers stability and reliability of the product. Similarly, a warranty comes in handy when buying a used pottery wheel, especially if the item is not so old. So, if the wheel you intend to buy has a 5-10 year warranty, you can consider it.
Purchasing a pottery wheel with a valid warranty will boost your confidence because it will provide more security. For instance, if the wheel becomes defective afterward, you will have it repaired at a little or no cost.
However, if the warranty is missing or almost expiring, only buy the used wheel if it is in good working condition.
Are you a beginner or an intermediate potter looking for a small-budget pottery wheel? Finding a portable wheel that can fit your working space would be a good bargain. Moreover, if you’re obtaining it beyond your locality, you won’t incur hefty shipping costs.
A small, lightweight pottery wheel is a perfect choice if you love working in different spots. You might not have to move it a lot around your studio, but you can take it with you to events, including demonstrations at art festivals.
If portability and size are one of your requirements when buying the wheel, then the Speedball and Shimpo are perfect choices. The wheels are powerful enough to handle up to 25 pounds (11.33 kg) of clay despite their small sizes. The Speedball also has Folding Legs that you can fold up and carry around.
For instance, Speedball Arista’s is a better option as you can find it at an excellent bargain for a used version.
Most electric wheels have the horsepower that is great for throwing pounds of clays. It is a good idea to inspect the condition of the horsepower your wheel has before buying it. So, this will let you know whether the wheel can apply the necessary force to throw a large amount of clay.
Pottery wheels have horsepower ranging from one-sixth to one and a half. Moreover, you can categorize horsepower as ‘peak’ or ‘continuous,’ depending on its duration. Well, a cheaper pottery wheel will have peak-rated horsepower, only lasting for a short time.
On the other hand, more powerful and expensive wheels have the continuous horsepower that can last even for a day. So, if you require a pottery wheel for mass production, this would be an appropriate choice. Moreover, inspecting the machine’s horsepower will help you know how much clay you will throw on it. You can also look the pottery wheel up that you are interested in and see what horsepower it has.
So, whether you are planning to be an occasional or a continuous thrower, selecting a used wheel with horsepower that will suit your needs will significantly impact your work.
8. Wheel Head’s Diameter
Pottery wheels come in different sizes. So, you can find wheels with heads ranging from 7 to 16 inches (17.78 to 40.64 cm). However, your needs and preferences will determine the ideal wheel head diameter to go for.
If you’ll be focusing on throwing small pottery pieces, including bowls and cups, a pottery wheel with a small diameter is a perfect option. However, you can find offers for large second-hand wheels at pocket-friendly prices. Therefore, even if such wheels are affordable, they don’t meet your specific needs.
On the other hand, if you’re aiming to throw large pottery without creating a mess, a 14-inch (35.56-cm) wheel head is ideal. However, you can also buy a wheel with a 12-inch (30.48-cm) wide head if you’re on a fixed budget. However, such wheels might not be good to start with if you are a beginner.
A pottery wheel is reversible if it can spin clockwise and anti-clockwise. It may not be a feature most potters would consider, but it is essential when buying a used pottery wheel. Therefore, knowing which direction the wheel spins enables you to determine if it will suit you, whether left-handed or right-handed.
If you are looking for an electric wheel that spins in both directions, you can find a model like SKYTOU Pottery Wheel Pottery Forming Machine from Amazon. It is one of the better starter pottery wheel machines designed with a quiet reversible motor. Therefore, it runs steadily, offering both clockwise and counterclockwise rotation.
Moreover, Skytou Pottery Wheel machines have a built-in circuit breaker to prevent any electrical issues while throwing.
So, finding a used reversible pottery wheel will be beneficial, especially if you are planning to use the wheel with another person who uses the opposite rotation. For instance, if you’re right-handed, you can teach your partner or student how to throw even if they are left-handed.
10. Where to Find a Used Pottery Wheel
You can find used pottery wheels anywhere on the internet, from pottery schools, ceramic supply stores, Craigslist, or eBay. However, sometimes it can be challenging to find a second-hand wheel that is within your locality.
If you can’t find used wheels from your neighborhood, popular sites, including eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist, are excellent alternatives. However, you need to use the right keywords and be specific on what you need to get a suitable offer.
Moreover, if you live in an urban area, you can go around checking if anyone could be disposing of their wheel. Or, if you’re lucky, you’ll find a clearance sale somewhere.
You can also find people who have pottery wheels they are not using. Though they might not have planned to sell them before, you could probably convince them to do so.
Asking your friends and family members can be helpful too. You never know who has information on where to find some rarely used pottery wheels in good condition. If possible, you might even get some posters at local gathering places for second-hand wheels. So, to get good, used wheels networking helps a lot. Who knows, you might even meet expert potters in the process, and they’d be of great help.
Buying a used pottery wheel is an affordable way to pursue your passion without breaking the bank. However, there are some things you should pay attention to before making any purchase decisions on a used pottery wheel so that it will serve your needs well and last long enough for you to make many beautiful pots of clay!
So, if you are new at crafting pottery, you have learned some things to look for when buying a used pottery wheel.