I am often asked about what tools I recommend. And, I have been intending to write several entries highlighting the tools that I find most helpful. Tools are very personal and every potter’s kit is different. There are no perfect tools; and, acquiring tools will not make better pots – but practicing with the tools will.
Yesterday, my new scale came in the mail. So I am completely inspired to share this wonderful and essential tool.
The best way to improve throwing skills is to practice – and practicing with the same amount of clay will help increase efficiency. By throwing one-pound balls of clay in succession, a potter can focus on uniform wall thickness and pot shape without constantly adjusting to variable amounts of clay; and, pots will get larger because the clay is being used rather than left in the bottom.
A good scale is an essential tool for beginning potters and potters who want to throw consistent pots or sets of pots. I use the Escali Prim0 Digital Scale because it does all the things that I need.
Here are some things to consider when purchasing a scale:
- Capacity – What size pots do you throw? If you make large pots, then you need a scale that will accommodate your upper limit. Some kitchen scales have a 5 lb. limit (a bit low for me) and some have an 11 lb. limit.
- Precision – Digital scales are more precise than analog. This is more important with smaller scale pots (ex. 4 ounces of additional clay in a 1 lb. pot is an increase of 25%; but 4 ounces of additional clay in a 5 lb. pot is a mere 5% increase)
- Units of Measure – Get a scale with a unit of measure that makes sense to you. Some kitchen scales measure pounds in decimals – ex. a read out of 1.5 lbs. is 1 lb. and 8 oz. This is not an intuitive way of thinking for me. I prefer a scale that has a read-out in lbs. and ounces (1 lb. 8 oz.). Some digital scales offer multiple options: grams/total ounces/lbs.
- Batteries – I like scales that use ordinary batteries and have an automatic shut-off feature to preserve the batteries.
- Portability – I carry my scale to studios so a compact scale is key.
- Platform size – The area needs to be large enough to accommodate for the clay that is being weighed.