Sondahl pottery tools page 3
Trimming and decorating

The next tools  relate to dealing with the leather hard pot--trimming and decorating.  Trimming tools are usually either loops of metal or straight open ended right angle bent tools.
Loop tools work well to trim without leaving a sharp scratchy edge to the incision.  Small loop tools are good for trimming small areas such as inside the foot rim.

(The small loop tool and the large pearshaped tool can be used interchangeably, but the smaller one is better for delicate operations)
The larger pearshaped tool  works well on its flat side to trim large areas at once on the outer areas of a pots surface.

The open ended tools are mostly used the same as the loop tools, with the additional capability of scoring lines with the sharp outer edge, which can be useful when adding a foot or knob to a trimmed pot.


I use the tobikanna tool to create a mottled chattering appearance on pots.  The making and use of it are detailed at this link.

This small plastic tool is used for scriffito, or scratching through a slip to expose the underlying clay.  It is made by cutting small notches in a strip of plastic. The pointed end will scratch a single line, whereas the other end may make up to three lines at once.  I've writing an article with more details on this, available here.

This tool  is a strip of thin steel, bent into a U shape. It will be pressed into a clay lid to make a round notch for inserting spoons or honey dippers.

For decoration, the following tools are useful: brushes, cups, and squirters.

The Oriental calligraphy brushes are especially good for decorating, as they hold a large reservoir of colorant but can apply a fine line.  Select a size of brush similar to the size of effect you wish to create, or try several.  Mostly I use fairly large ones, except for fine detail work.  After washing the brushes when done, and reshaping them,  store them upright in a can, although that may cause them a shorter life than if they hung with brush downward, but it's mostly not an issue.
Hake brushes are wide goat hair brushes often resembling panflutes.  A cheap alternative is available at hardware stores, with the cheap Chinese bristle brushes of various widths like the one pictured. The hake (ha' kay) brush can be used to manipulate thickness of slip over a different underlying clay color, by rapidly raising and lowering the brush on a pot as it turns on the wheel.  The result may resemble a flower.

To pour glaze, cups are used.  My favorite is the throwaway cups included in dry clothes detergent (good luck finding them anymore--easier to find long handled plastic measuring cups).  I melt the handle midway over a match to a right angle, and dip it in water to freeze it there, making a handle which can hang over the edge of the glaze bucket. These cups can pour a wide glaze splash easily, and their rectangular corners make a spout useful for filling narrow vase necks without dripping on the outside.

For squirting glaze or slip, ear syringes are the best size and shape. They fill easily, and can deliver as gentle or strong a stream as needed for the size of pot.  Remember to rinse it out after every use, or it will build up a layer of glaze inside.

Gee, I'm out of amazing tool secrets to share with you. If you found these helpful, drop me an email at telling me about yourself, as that helps keep it interesting for me.