One of the most efficient ways to throw on the wheel has to be using throwing bats. There are several reasons why I love bats. After trying out many, I want to share my favorites with you.
- It’s much easier to make your Pottery on a Bat, place it aside, grab another bat, and create another masterpiece.
What I love the most is that you can go back to your piece, make alterations and put some final touches on it while it is still securely stuck to the bat which is a big plus.
- Bats can be much easier to throw with then using nothing. It’s harder to get your pottery off the wheel right away without leaving any marks. You have to wait for it to dry a bit before attempting to get it off the wheel.
- Bats come in many different sizes, thickness, and materials. Sizes go from as small as 7.5 Inches all the way to 20 inches. The thickness is usually a 1/4 inch but goes up to an inch. You can choose from many different materials — wooden, plastic, masonite, medex, even plaster or bisque bats.
My All-Around Bat Pick Is The Plasti-Bat
Amaco Plasti-Bats are made of a high impact plastic which makes it hard to damage with a rough and smooth side to them. The Plasti-Bat has ten-inch bat holes which are pretty standard. They fit most major pottery wheel brands including My Three Favorite Pottery Wheels
Shimpo RK Whisper
Speedball Clay Boss
Here are a few benefits you’ll find with the Plasti-Bat
- They are very easy to clean up
Just wipe with a sponge, and they clean up fast. Even dried on clay removes easy.
- Clay sticks really well to the bat
If your bat isn’t too dry or too wet and you throw the clay on your wheel hard enough, the clay will stay on the bat until you remove it.
- Does not warp
I have not had any warping with the four Plasti-Bats I own. They also don’t shrink or swell.
- Can keep your piece on the Bat for a long time
If you throw a piece and don’t have time to design or alter it right away these bats are great for altering on a later date. Just put a plastic bag around your bat and pottery, close the bag tightly and set aside.
You can’t do this with a wooden or plaster bat. The wooden bat would warp, and the plaster bat would dry the pottery out. Especially the bottom, making your piece harder to trim.
- Can use both sides
Most potters like to use the rough side. I like to use the smooth side. You will find your clay will stick well to either side. It’s nice to have a choice.
The Runner-Up Is The Speedball Plastic Bat
This Speedball Plastic Bat is made to fit all bat pins. The molded plastic very durable and holds its shape. The Speedball has the same qualities as the Plasti-Bat.
- Clay sticks well
With the ribbed design, the clay stays nicely on the bat. You still can’t have too much or too little water on your bat before throwing your clay on it.
- Maintains its shape
With proper care, you will find the Speedball also last a long time. It doesn’t shrink or swell.
- The ability to keep a piece of wet Pottery on the Bat for a while
This is a nice feature. With the wooden bats, you can’t leave your pottery on too long, or your bat will inevitably warp. There are many times that I have to cover my piece and finish it later. Having the ability to put it back on the wheel a day later if necessary is a big plus.
A few Differences With The Speedball Bat
- The Bat Holes don’t go through the Bat
Make sure to find the holes and line them up with the bat pins. This is a benefit If your clay is coving the whole surface of your bat.
- This Bat only has one side
There is no flipping over with this bat because is it made to fit all pottery wheels.
I enjoy the longevity of plastic bats. Even though they last longer, should still be taken proper care of.
Your bats should always be cleaned and stored vertically after every use. This is a good habit to get into.
Keep Your Bat Secure With A BatMate
No bat is perfect. It may get loose over time or feel like it’s not sticking to your Wheel the way you would like it to. For those reasons, the Xiem BatMate works great. I have both sizes the 12 and 14 inch batmate. When I’m at the studio, I use different wheels and different bats if I don’t bring my bats. But I don’t leave home without my BatMate. It helps keep any bat you use securely on the wheel.
All you have to do is get your BatMate wet, put it on your wheel, then place your bat on top. You can rinse it off and let it dry or place it in a plastic bag, and it’s ready for your next use. Either way, you store it is just fine. It’s up to you.
Hope this helps you make the right choice for your throwing needs. Have a great time throwing.