Are you a Potter looking for a recentering tool to help you save some time? The Giffin Grip Original and The Giffin Grip Mini are great self-centering tools that many potters use to recenter their clay pieces.
The main difference between the Original Giffin Grip and the Giffin Grip Mini is that the Original Giffin Grip is designed to fit on most any pottery wheel head, Whereas the Giffin Grip Mini is designed to fit pottery wheel heads with 6-inch and 10-inch bat holes.
The similarity is that they both self-center your pottery, making recentering a much faster task. I will compare their differences to help you select the best fit for you. Maybe both.
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About The Original Giffin Grip and Giffin Grip Mini
Giffin Tec inc. is a family-run business started in 1978 by Brian Giffin, a potter and the inventor of the Giffin Grip and Giffin Grip Mini. Giffin Tec Inc. manufactures and designed the Original Giffin Grip and Giffin Grip Mini recentering tools.
The Giffin Grip Mini was released in March of 2022. Brian Giffin has been working on the Giffin Grip Mini design for over 10 years. He feels extremely personal about all his tools and was hesitant to make any changes to the Original Giffin Grip that could complicate the function or jeopardize its durability. That’s why for over 40 years, it has hardly changed. Let’s take a closer look at both of them.
The Size of The Original Giffin Grip and Giffin Grip Mini
Original Giffin Grip
The Giffin Grip is 15 and a quarter inches across and designed with most pottery wheel head sizes in mind.
It has three bottom brackets that grip onto the side of the pottery wheel head. The Giffin Grip fits wheel heads with diameters from 8.5 inches to 14 inches. The smaller wheel heads would have to have a removable splash pan.
When this tool was first invented, it was not possible to use bat pins because there was not enough consistency where the pin holes were drilled. The precision was not sufficient for the Giffin Grip to self-center properly.
Giffin Grip Mini
The Giffin Grip Mini is 11 inches across. The Giffin Grip Mini only works with wheels that have holes drilled for bat pins.
The smaller diameter is designed to fit 6-inch wheel heads like the Nidec Shimpo Aspire Wheel and all Standard Pottery Wheel Heads with 10-inch wheel holes. Like the Nidec-Shimpo, Speedball Boss, and Brent wheels, just to name a few.
Now that more potter’s wheels have pins drilled in, they have far more accuracy and were able to make the Giffin mini with bat holes. However, the Giffin Grip®Mini DOES require that the holes in the wheel head need to be perfectly on center. Because the bat pins are not always precise on older wheel heads with bat holes that were hand drilled (before CNC machines). This made the center not accurate enough for the Giffin Grip Mini to self-center properly.
The Assembly Difference between The Original Giffin Grip and Giffin Grip Mini
The main difference between the two is that the Giffin Grip original requires assembly, whereas the Giffin Grip Mini requires NO assembly.
Just take the Giffin Grip Mini out of the box, choose your sliders, and you are ready to trim.
Let’s take a closer look at the assembly of the Original Giffin Grip.
Because the Origanal Giffin Grip fits on almost any wheel with or without bat holes, there are a few steps involved in assembling it.
First, measure your wheel’s diameter with the ruler on the top of the instructions.
There is a small pointer on the side of each of the three brackets.
Place the pointer on the bottom of the plate that matches the measurement of your wheel from the ruler on the top of the instructions. It is so tiny that you may need to use a magnifying glass to ensure you have the correct measurement.
Attach the three bottom brackets with the nuts and screws.
It is essential to have all three bracket pointers on the same mark.
Place the bottom plate on the top plate. Use the O ring shims and O ring to hold the plates together. The O ring shims take up any play between the plates.
Try it out. The bottom plate will snap right on snuggly. When it fits, you will have no movement.
If it is too loose, loosen and move each bracket one notch inward. If it is too tight, loosen and move each bracket one notch outward.
The differences between the Giffin Grip and Giffin Grip Mini Sliders or (Holders)
The main difference between the holders is the size. Other differences are the construction and number of sliders you get. So, let’s take a closer look at both.
Giffin Grip Original Sliders or (Holders)
The original Giffin Grip comes with two sets of plastic plate sliders. They are great for shorter pieces like plates, spoon rests, lids, and jewelry dishes. One set just holds shorter pieces, and another holds shorter pieces and flips around to hold the metal extension rods.
You would get five sets of different size metal extension Rods with pads. 2-inch, 3-inch, 4-inch, 5-inch, and 6-inch rods for taller pieces of clay and large pots.
These extension legs are slanted inward to hold the forms of clay securely. Since potters make bowls, mugs, vases, and everything in between, the five different lengths are very handy.
A few attachments are sold separately from the original Giffin Grip model.
The set of Flex Sliders is designed to hold misshaped pottery. Center your misshaped pot and press the tabs on the flex sliders to secure the pot.
I did use the Bailey Quick Trim for my misshapen and wonky pottery. Now, I use the flex sliders. I must say they do work great for me. Plus, if you have taller wonky pots, the flex sliders have holes for the extension rods.
Jumbo Platter Extender
The Jumbo Platter Extender comes with 3 Jumbo Sliders that allow you to trim really large pieces of pottery like plates, pots, and bowls. You can trim up to 23 inches in diameter.
Giffin Grip Mini Sliders or (Holders)
The Giffin Grip Mini comes with four sets of different-shaped sliders. Allowing you to trim pieces as small as 5/8th inches across all the way up to 9.5 inches across. These plastic Sliders are molded in one piece and have soft, flexible pads.
The plate sliders
These plastic sliders with pads are great for plates and shorter pottery like small bowls, lids, and jewelry dishes.
Tiny, long stick sliders
These small thin sliders have pads at the tip and are great for recentering and holding small shapes like shot glasses, sake cups, and the tiniest pots.
A set of 1-and-a-half-inch Bowl Sliders
These plastic bowl sliders are molded in one piece and have soft, flexible pads. Great for smaller bowls, pots, and cups.
A set of 2-and-a-half-inch Tall Sliders
Great for pieces like Mugs, Vases, and taller Candles Holders
The Functionality of the Giffin Grip and Giffin Grip Mini
The functionality of the Giffin Grip and Giffin Grip Mini is the same as far as self-centering goes. They both do a most wonderful job of that, but there are a few differences.
How the Original Giffin Grip Works
To Insert the sliders, turn the top plate until the sliders fit into the entry gate.
Place each slider in all three entry gates.
Place the Giffin grip on the potter’s wheel and turn the top plate clockwise while holding the bottom plate. The three sliders work together as they center. Each moved by a unique spiral. They move in or out of the top plate in concentric alignment with each other.
Place your piece in the middle and move the sliders inward. Give your pottery a little wiggle and tighten it again. Use both hands with equal pressure for the best results for the final turn.
The Giffin Grip is used for counterclockwise direction only. If you use it in the clockwise direction, you can special order it.
As well as my SKYTOU Pottery Wheel Machine that has no bat holes
The speed of this recentering tool saves valuable time, making it perfect for both beginners and production potters that trim and decorate on the wheel. The Giffin Grip can hold pots as small as 2 and a half inches across all the way to 14 inches across.
The sliders and rods hold onto my pots really well. However, I do have the older holders that are not as soft, so I have to be more careful. The newer holders have a softer grip that doesn’t mark up the leather hard clay.
Because the Original Giffin Grip was designed to fit around the wheel head, the plates do sit higher, and the scraps don’t go into the splash pan. So, I try and catch them before they hit the ground.
It’s a small price to pay for how much this tool helps me recenter so fast.
How the Giffin Grip Mini Works
Bat pins came with the Giffin Mini. This is nice if you have no pins or old pins and want to replace them as I did. Locate the fish-shaped holes on the bottom plate. Align the fish-shaped holes with the bat pins, place the Giffin Mini on the bat pins, and press down evenly.
Make sure the plates are unlocked by pushing the blue lock button up. This blue button locks and unlocks the plates. Once the plates are unlocked, turn the top plate all the way to the left.
When you can no longer turn the plate, you can insert the sliders. Inserting the sliders is different from the original Giffin Grip. Just place the sliders into the slots on top of the plate.
Now turn the top plate right, and the sliders will move inward just like the original Giffin Grip. Place your piece in the middle and continue to turn the plate, moving the sliders inward.
Give it a little wiggle and tighten it if needed. Press down on the blue button to lock the sliders in place, and you’re ready to trim or decorate.
The blue button lock is awesome. The lock holds the sliders in place so that the Giffin Grip Mini can work in both the counterclockwise and clockwise directions. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the Giffin Grip loosening while you are trimming. It also prevents the holders from digging into the pot if you trim wetter clay.
Because the Giffin Grip Mini doesn’t use brackets, it has a thinner design and a lower profile. This much lower profile allows the scraps to go into your splash pan.
These useful new features really make trimming and decorating more fun and easier. I really like the thin stick sliders. They make it possible to trim my really small pottery.
NOTE: Because the Giffin Grip Mini is smaller and more streamlined, the sliders may slide out of place. If this happens, it is an easy fix.
First, press down and make sure the plates are together. Then check the brass screw in the middle. It may be loose. Tighten with a screwdriver, then turn back a third of a turn for proper tension, and continue to trim.
The Cleanup of the Original Giffin Grip and Giffin Grip Mini
Because there are slots in both for the sliders, the clay scrapes will get in between the plates. Both are easy to clean.
Cleaning the Original Giffin Grip
Take the O rings off and separate the plates. Then remove the clay scraps, and wash with a sponge.
Place the top plate on the bottom plate and hold them together with the O rings.
Cleaning the Giffin Grip Mini
Unscrew the screw and separate the plates. Remove the clay scraps, wash them with a soapy sponge, and let the soap dry on the plates. No need to rinse.
Screw the plates back together. Tighten the screw, then back a third of a turn for proper tension.
The Various Tasks of the Giffin Grip and Giffin Grip Mini
The Original Giffin Grip and Giffin Grip Mini are not just used for trimming the bottoms of leather hard clay pots. They are also used for carving, waxing, and decorating with underglazes, slips, and glaze. Both inside and outside of pots!
Other Benefits for Both Giffin Grips
It’s important to mention that the Giffin Grip company has a no questions asked lifetime warranty on any broken or defective parts for any reason at any time.
They also have a 90-day money-back guarantee.
In the YouTube Video below, I Assemble and then give you a Demonstration of The Giffin Grip and Giffin Grip Mini.
By showing you the differences between each one, I hope I have helped you with your decision. I must say I really like the Giffin Grip, but I also think this Giffin Grip Mini is amazing.
If you only make small items and you have 10 or 6-inch bat holes, then I would definitely go with the Giffin Grip Mini. It is really easy to use and great for mugs, bowls, plates, lids, and tiny pieces like shot glasses.
If you don’t have bat holes and or make items like larger pots and or make a lot of misshaped or wonky pottery, then the Original Giffin Grip would be a better choice. I am pleased to have Both.