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 (19cm) all the way to 20 inches (50.8cm). The thickness is usually a 1/4 inch (.635cm) and goes up to 1-inch (2.54cm). You can choose from many different materials: wooden, plastic, masonite, medex, even plaster or bisque bats.
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The tools listed in the post are tools I have used or am using at the present time. The tools are also optional, being that you may have, and use many of them already.
My All-Around Bat Pick Is The Plasti-Bat
Amaco Plasti-Bats (amazon) – (blick arts) or (walmart) are made of a high impact plastic which makes it hard to damage with a rough and smooth side to them. When taken proper care of these Bats don’t warp. I have not had any warping with the four Plasti-Bats I own. They also don’t shrink or swell.
Easy To Use
When your Bat isn’t too dry or too wet the Clay sticks really well and will stay on the bat until you remove it. Most potters like to use the rough side. I like to use the smooth side also. You will find your clay will stick well to either side. It’s nice to have a choice. Clean up is fast, even dried on clay removes easy, just wipe with a sponge and your done.
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 The Brent CXC, Shimpo RK Whisper, and Speedball Clay Boss. If you throw a piece and don’t have time to design or alter it right away these bats are great for altering a bit later.
The Speedball Plastic Bat
With proper care, you will find the Speedball also last a long time. It doesn’t shrink or swell. With proper care, they do not warp.
Easy To Use
The Clay sticks well to this Bat. 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.
A nice feature is the ability to keep a piece of wet Pottery on the Bat for a while. 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 later is a big plus. This Speedball Plastic Bat (amazon) 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.
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.
The Bleecker Bat System Pottery Wheel, Set of 6
This Bleeker Bat system (amazon) has 6 replacement bat inserts with 7-inch squares. They are a half-inch thick and resists warping. Made of recycled wood product, water-resistant, and very durable.
Easy To Use
The pin holes are not drilled through and there are no holes on the inserts. This material is similar to plaster so there is no need to wire off. The bottom dries faster and comes off the bat easily.
The bat hole pins are 10 inches across with integral rubber grommets. These Bats last a long time and are a great addition to your studio.
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
Bats may get loose over time or feel like they are not sticking to your Wheel the way they used to. For those reasons, the Xiem BatMate (amazon) works great. I have both sizes the 12-inch (30.48cm) and 14-inch (35.56cm). 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.