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Pottery wheel bats are flat discs that attach to a pottery wheel head and are extremely useful tools in a ceramics studio. Pottery wheel bats are available in a variety of sizes and shapes and are made from different materials, including plastic, wood, and plaster. Pottery bats are typically fabricated with two holes that fit snugly onto a pair of bat pins that are inserted into the potter’s wheel head. Older pottery wheel heads may not have holes for bat pins; however, these can be easily added with a drill. Once the bat is attached to the wheel head, the potter can work directly on the the bat, which is then lifted off the wheel head with the thrown pot and without disrupting his or her work.
Pottery wheel bat are beneficial in multiple ways and are used by many potters. Because the bat (along with the pot that is thrown on it) can be easily removed from the potter’s wheel head, there is no need to directly handle the pot, so the shape and form is not disrupted. This is a great feature when you are making larger, difficult-to-handle forms that you’d rather not touch when it comes time to remove them from your wheel head! Working on a bat also eliminates potential reactions between the certain clay bodies and the potter’s wheel head -- if you are a fan of deep, dark clays, you may find that throwing them directly on to your wheel head without a bat may result in accelerated rusting. Pottery wheel bats can not only help to protect your work, then -- in this way, they also elp to protect your valuable equipment.
There are many different versions of pottery bats, and all types have both benefits and downfalls. Plastic bats are ideal because because they are resistant to water damage, and therefore tend to last a long time. Plastic bats are also relatively inexpensive. The downside of plastic bats is that they do not release from clay very readily, so even if the bottom of the pot has been cut with a wire, it may still be difficult to remove the pot from the bat. Speedball’s colorful line of plastic bats come shaped in both circles and squares. While circular bats are the traditional version of pottery wheel bats, square bats are beneficial in that they take up less space on your ware shelf. Amaco’s Plasti-bat is another popular version of the plastic bat, and is also available in a variety of sizes.
Pottery wheel bats made of medex or masonite are also inexpensive bats that are used by many potters. Because these materials are susceptible to water damage, however, the lifespan of these bats is typically less than that of plastic bats. The benefit of using wood or masonite bats is that they release from clay more readily than plastic, as wood and masonite have absorptive properties. This makes removal of the thrown pot from the bat fairly easy.
Please browse through our products to see which size, shape and material bat is right for you!