Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I was cleaning these hand building tools this morning, thinking about how I enjoy using them. 

 Then I read Linda's post this morning.  She has a cool new bevel cutter everyone should check out.

  From there I went to listing the hand building tools I can't live without.  I have the usual wooden paddles and spoons but these are the guys I use all the time.  The paddle at the top is is a nice shape for establishing curves.  The two big throwing sticks and the two small knobbed ones at the bottom I use for whacking and shaping the interiors of the pots.  The long paddle and the wooden stick to the left are used for shaping exteriors.  I use a metal ruler and my Dolan fettling knife for cutting slabs. (I do love my Dolan tools!)  I use a carpenter's square if I need precise corners. 

I am not even going to begin to talk about brushes as they are my downfall.  I often buy them just to look at them......enough said!

What favorite pottery/art gear do you have that is a can't live without?

Thanks for stopping by.............~s~


  1. Oh I've never seen those knob tools they look great to get into tight spots to smooth them out - are those Dolans? I have never used a fettling knife, although I bought one and am not sure where I put it. I've always just used a needle tool to cut my slabs and I am sure the fettling knife would be much more accurate. Since I am mostly self taught I have developed a lot of bad habits I guess, Ha.

  2. I have a few....maybe a few more than i need-but I need them....funny there are ones that I panic when I can not find them..
    And Mark and I live by this rule:
    Never touch my never...

  3. I posted about my favorite tools a few weeks back too. I also have a dolan knife and it seems to be bonded to my hand! Nothing better, I have an Amy Sanders workshop to thank for the hint on that tool!! It's fun to see the different tools people use, isn't it?!

  4. Hi Linda....The long knobbed sticks came from a workshop I did years ago with Pat Uchill Simons when she still lived in the Providence area. They are throwing sticks that she designed and had made. She's working out of Berkley now, so I've lost contact with her.

    I have a lot of Dolan tools but this is my favorite knife. I definetely recommend using a knife and a metal edge to cut your slabs...I used an X-acto for years.

    Hi can never have too many tools. I am also partial to Mud Tools...and yes I know that feeling of panic when you can't find one...precious! Good rule.

    Hi Tracey...I remember your post and thinking YESSS!!! I love the way the handle fits in my hand. I love seeing other people's's sort of like seeing what others read.

  5. Dolan trim and sculpting tools are my favorite... I don't have one of their fettling knives but some other brand. Now of course I WANT one!
    I can't live without my mud tools either.

  6. at first I was like "wash tools??? I have never ever washed my tools", cause, sure, they are crusty and filthy, but who would notice? then I was like "favorite tool???? I have a lot of tools..." then realized "of course! like I always told students 'your sponge is your friend', a nice soft elephant ear 2-3 inches wide and 'your brush is your friend' a nice medium size Chinese calligraphy brush I use for EVERYTHING :)

  7. Hi Michelle... What I like best about Dolans is that they don't lose their edge. Aside from their usefulness, don't you get off on mud tools great colors?

  8. Hi Gary..See? You do have favorites!
    I started cleaning my handbuilding tools when I figured out where the weird little bits of hard clay were coming from......and I do admit to being kind of obsessive about my brushes.

  9. I agree with Gary about the sponge but I also have a few favorite mud tools ribs that I use all the time. And people know my work because of the use of the wiggle wire so that's a must have at my wheel.
    I clean my tools too, it's just nicer and healthier.

  10. Hi Lori...we all have you make your wiggle wires? I just realized that I use an old carved wooden toggle button from an old Loden coat for texture.


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