Pottery Wheel Maintenance, new shelving and lots of cups!!

It has been a week of maintenance, new shelving and lots of cups here at Servant Ceramics. 

For a while now, my wheel has been fairly noisy. As I’ve only ever owned second hand wheels, they’ve always had their own character and my current wheel, well, I definitely would of described it as ‘boisterous.’ Turns out, for good reason!

I searched the interwebs for tips and tricks on wheel maintenance and to be honest, didn’t come up with much (note: if you are a wheel thrower, I’d love to hear how you maintain your wheel… what you do, how often, etc).

For the record, I have a cone drive Venco 5 with the fun speed lock lever. Venco are very popular brand here in Australia with their cone drive wheels described by Robert Linigen as “the Holden Kingswood of Australian Ceramics” ( click here for Robert’s pottery wheel page).


Image taken from Venco (http://www.venco.com.au/wheels/std.htm)

So that’s what it the Venco 3/5 looks from the side.
This is what is looks like upside down (and I’ve included some text so you know that you’re looking at).

Servant Ceramics_Venco Pottery Wheel underneath

Realising that all my grommets were a bit worn out (ie: two had completely disappeared and the rest were fading fast), I needed a bit of information on how to replace them. Cameron Hess (from The Clay Shed) put me onto this fantastic video from Paul Gould which explains exactly how to change them.

Pulling apart the wheel was the fun part – trying to put in the grommets, especially the large one…. horrid! I tried and I tried and I tried to push those grommets into the shell’s holes, but in the end I gave up. Then I tried again, boiling a new batch of water to soak the grommets in. Then I gave up again and waited for my muscle man to come home and save the day. And save the day he did! Andrew was able to push those blasted plastic rings into the exterior shell.

See the difference the grommet makes!
The grommet fits nice and snug into the hole. See the different with and without it?!

As I said before, I really enjoyed pulling apart the wheel. I’ve never really ‘cared’ before about knowing what mechanical part was what and figuring out how the parts worked together. But it felt different with the wheel. Knowing how everything fits together and what happens inside the shell suddenly made sense and I felt kinda empowered – if thats the right word to use?
Like ‘I am woman, I pull stuff apart and put it back together!’

Everything got a serious clean, greasing the parts that needed it and when we turned the wheel on, and it worked straight away, I was ecstatic ! And so thrilled with how quite the wheel was running!

It’s been so pleasant in the studio the past couple days. Great temperature, clear skies, fresh clay…

Especially with the new shelving that I bought and assembled with my Dad on Monday.

I’m very much looking forward to filling those shelves with work from my super quiet wheel! Tomorrow I’ll be making some more candy beakers (like these ones).

Hope you have a great day tomorrow and oh, if you’re on the look-out for a Valentine’s day gift…. I still have a few of my very special & lovable heart cup + tea + note combo … Perfect for sharing the love around! Drop a hint to your loved one, if its something you’d like to have and hold 😉

For more photos, click here

With a big smile, Rachel.

11 thoughts on “Pottery Wheel Maintenance, new shelving and lots of cups!!

  1. I have a very old and squeaky wheel I sprayed some WD40 on it yesterday but I think it needs some real grease! Thank you for your posts you are very inspiring

  2. my studio tech (husband) renewed my wheels grommets for me but I think one must have popped back out – you inspire me to have a proper look and have a go at fixing it myself, so thanks

  3. Great post Rachel.
    Now, if you ever feel like researching and doing a post on how to replace a burnt out capacitor (whatever that might be) on an ancient inherited pottery wheel that would be just what I need!

    1. So Andrew reckons that would be easy Georgia! He’s thinking that all you’ll need is a soldering iron and a capacitor of a same size. But… the capacitor stores energy short term. Because it stores energy, if it’s big enough (really big) then you could hurt yourself, ie: electrocute yourself. Most are pretty wimpy though and wont be doing anything if the wheel is off. Just see if any friends of yours can solder and they’ll probably be happy to do it. About 5 mins work once you have the cap.

      It’s not a post but I hope that helps you out a little Georgia 🙂

  4. You make it sound so easy! I doubt the old capacitor would be storing too much of anything, it’s been about a year since it blew up so I’m sure it’s all dissipated by now – besides it was pretty well barbecued. Currently the wheel’s in storage but when I reinstate it later in the year in my new studio maybe I will just give it a burl. I’m happy wielding a soldering iron, it’s just the electricity part that freaks me out slightly… But hearing it’s actually not at all complex is a relief. Do you reckon it would be worthwhile me replacing all the capacitors at the same time, given they’re probably all as old as each other? Thanks to you both for the info and pep talk!

Comments are closed.