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Hand wheel techniques?

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  • Hand wheel techniques?

    Hello all,

    I used to do a lot of throwing when I was in high school and university, but as I've been living abroad for a number of years now I haven't had a chance at a wheel for a while.

    Today I visited a ceramics handicraft village near Hanoi, Vietnam and nestled within the industrial molds and mass-production were a few old hand wheels, mostly set up for tourists to try their skills at making a mess.

    I jumped at the chance to play in the mud again, but found it challenging to use a wheel that was neither a kick wheel nor a wheel with an electric motor. It was especially difficult to get the wheel spinning fast enough by simply yanking on with one hand it to keep it going while you put any pressure on it to center the clay.

    I don't have enough Vietnamese language skills to ask the locals for advice, so I was wondering if anybody out there had any experience with wheels you have to spin by hand and any suggestions for getting and keeping speed and getting the clay centered effectively.

    In the end I had a blast making a mess and entertaining all the passers-by who stopped to stare at a clay-spattered foreigner, and I definitely plan to go back there (after the blister on my left forefinger heals from where I was grabbing the edge of the wheel...).


  • #2

    I am not a craftswoman, but I am highly interested in your experience in working on a hand wheel. I am an archeologist, and I am interested in the processes that made the hand wheel to become the preferable technique in pottery production during the some historical times.
    I would like to whether you are sure, that this kind of wheel can be used for throwing? What were the local craftsmen doing? As far as I have read, the first step in this kind of technique is coiling, at least just part of the body, an the wheel is used more for shaping and decorating.
    I would be very grateful, if you tell more about your experience. If you wish, you may mail directly to me.


    • #3
      Oh my! Im having enough issue when i am on the kick wheel let alone a hand one! That must be difficult!

      Sorry not much help! Sounds like fun though.
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      • #4
        Hi all

        This type of wheel is more commonly known as a momentum wheel and variations of it are currently making a bit of a comeback.

        You will find an interesting article which mentions the momentum wheel here.

        I follow the "Way of the Clay"