Frequently asked questions

How do I care for the forms?

The forms are wood so to make them last for thousands of uses make sure you let them dry in between each use.  The timing of making them and removing the form from the slab is very similar to plaster.  If left on too long your clay will crack, the wood will mold or start to get soft.  Mold can easily be washed off with dish soap and if edges get rough you can use sand paper to smooth them.

 

What are the forms made of?

The forms are made from fiber board. This is a type of wood that makes them last for thousands of uses, but make sure you let them dry in between each use.  The timing of making them and removing the slab from the form is very similar to plaster.  If left on too long your clay will crack,  and the wood will mold or start to get soft.  Mold can easily be washed off with dish soap and if edges get rough you can use sand paper to smooth them.

The cut and beveled fiberboard makes them durable and economical.  Easy to use over and over again, giving you a tool to create your personalized shallow objects.  The forms are designed to be shallow so they are more versatile.

 

How do you prevent warping?

The first step to avoid warping is properly compressing the slab–after rolling it out, we completely compress one side of the slab. We then drape the slab over the form, and compress the other side while it’s on the form. After compression and completing any foot or lip prep (adding spacer), we don’t touch the object until it is quite a stiff leather hard (the form pops out on its own). You should be able to press a finger nail into the clay and leave a mark, but you should not be able to form an impression with the soft part of your finger. Once the clay is a stiff leather hard, we lift it off the form. If it bends or moves in any way after lifting it off, you’ve taken it off too soon. We’ve found that removing the slab too soon is the single most significant factor toward warping the piece.  Also try to flip it over before it dries too much in that the ends start curling upward. I’m sure you know how difficult it is to “be there at the right time,” but the importance of removing the piece at the right time cannot be understated.  If you are making objects with a lip you must use a spacer.

  • Use slap roller to compress the clay.
  • Use rib to compress the clay two different directions on one side.
  • Add texture if necessary.
  • Drape, the smooth/textured side down, of moist clay onto form and press gently and evenly to sides to push out any air trapped underneath.
  • Use rib again to compress clay to the form.  Firmly and evenly.
  • Cut strips of clay using foot maker.
  • Let piece and foot strips rest for about 20 to 30 minutes to stiffen clay slightly.
  • Score area to add foot and add water to score marks.
  • Attach foot strips to create border around piece not more than a half an inch from edge and 8 inches from widest point.
  • Use modeling tool to clean the places where foot meets the body on all sides.
  • If the piece has a rim, lift off work surface and place a spacer underneath.
  • Press the edge of the rim down to work surface to create a slight pitch.
  • Let piece set for 4-8 hours uncovered in non draft area until edges start to curl up.
  • Key is even drying not length of drying.  Sometimes putting plastic on top creates uneven drying.
  • Now flip piece over without flexing or stretching the clay and then press on inside center downward to level out any curling that might have happened.
  • Use wrasp to clean edges and carve smooth any uneven areas.
  • Use notched rib to burnish the edges even smoother.  With non grog clay you could use a sponge to smooth edges but do not get clay too wet.
  • Now is a great time to add your favorite underglaze or carve into piece.
  • Let dry and bisque fire.  Stacking should not affect warping.

The second most common way the slabs will warp is that there is a draft in your room caused by a fan, heater, breeze or room air flow.  Make sure to let the object dry evenly in a still area.  Speed is not a factor.  Plastic or the use of weighted sacks can also cause uneven drying.

 

What is the size determined by?

The size is determined by the largest measurement of the form itself.  Standard depth is 3/4 inch (19mm) .  If you are looking for a deeper option you can use the general rule of if a shape is 1.5 inch different in measurement it will stack with the size above or below.  We offer "Stacks" to make this available to you. 

Due to the depth limitations of the wood we feel it is not practical to glue wood together to make deeper shapes.  If you need this depth then it becomes more cost effective to use plaster molds.

Our Thin series is 1/2 inch (12 mm)  in depth. 

 

How do I avoid “seams” when making deeper bowls or platters using one or more stacked plates together?

Unfortunately, one of the disadvantages of stacking the forms is that it is difficult to avoid creating small "seams" between them, as there will remain a small gap unless the forms themselves were glued together. When we use stacked forms to create bowls or plates with greater depth, we have found it is most effective to use a stainless steel rib or ribbon tool to smooth out the seam lines when the piece is a very stiff leather hard.

 

Do I need to use a release agent?

No release agent, cleaning or sealing necessary.  In fact we would recommend avoiding doing this.

 

How do I avoid distinct marks?

You can sand down the form edges before use to eliminate the appearance of distinct marks.  Sanding or altering the wood will not affect its use.

 

I am having problems with the foot popping off when I put my plates through the bisque fire. What can I do to avoid this?

We’ve noticed that two things seem to cause the foot “popping off” in the bisque.

The first is when the body of the clay is still a little wet and is “rushed” into the bisque. Make sure that your piece is completely bone dry before bisqueing.

The second is when the foot is applied but is slightly wetter or drier than body of the piece.  This may cause the foot to separate from the body, especially at the ends. It is very important to make sure that the foot and body of the piece contain the same moisture level to increase adhesion. Additionally, make sure that when you applying the foot, you are thoroughly scoring and wetting both the bottom of the piece and the part of the foot that attaches to the piece.

 

Do you ship outside Europe?

Yes, in principle we can ship all over the world. Just contact us by email and we will investigate the shipment costs.

For people in USA and Canada we suggest to buy your forms at GR Pottery Forms

 

Is your question not answered?

contact us at potteryformseurope@gmail.com

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