How to Make Pottery Sinks

A handmade pottery sink can be a beautiful addition to a bathroom, but it is not a project for beginners. This how to article is for people who already have some throwing skill, and also have an access to pottery kiln.

Steps

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    Decide what kind and what dimensions of sink you want to make.
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    Calculate your clay shrinkage and write down the wet diameter.
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    Weigh the needed amount of clay. Remember that sinks should be much thicker then most of the pots you have ever made. You probably will need about 6-9 kg (13.2-19.8 lb) of clay for a 30 cm (12 in) external diameter sink or 12-15kg (26.4-33 lb) for 42 cm (16 7/8 in) diameter sink. The quantity of clay depends on the sink type. Vessel sinks need to be thicker than drop-down sinks.
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    Make sure your clay is soft. If not, mix it with recycled softer clay or soak it in water for 24 hours before kneading.
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    Wedge and knead your clay thoroughly. If needed, divide your clay to smaller lumps and knead them separately. You will combine them later directly on the wheel head.
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    Place the clay at the wheel-head and tap it with two hand to make it centered as much as you can before wetting your hands.
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    Wet your hands and center the clay.
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    Open it and make your way deep down until you make a hole and reach wheel head surface.
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    Enlarge the hole but keep it slightly narrower than the final diameter.
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    Pull and raise the clay to make a thick bottom and thick wall and get your final dimensions and final shape.
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    Leave excess clay at the lower parts for support.
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    Smooth the interior with wood, metal, or rubber rib.
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    Cut with a wire.
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    Let your freshly thrown sink to dry slowly until it reaches leather hard stage.
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    Place clean bat over the rim.
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    Flip the sink upside down.
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    Trim off the excess clay.
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    Leave to dry slowly until leather hard.
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    Fix the to the wellhead.
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    Let dry slowly.
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    Slow bisque fire to cone 05 or according to your clay.
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    Decorate, glaze and re-fire to at least cone 6.

Tips

  • Measure the drain pipe at its widest point and size the lower hole accordingly. Most drains have a flange and gasket that will accommodate if your opening is a bit too large, but you'll need to have the appropriate angle. Look at the drain holes on some sinks for sale in your hardware store and measure them. Remember that the hole diameter will shrink just as much as the rest of the piece when fired.
  • Think ahead about how your sink will function. Where and how will you mount it? Can you mount it in an existing opening, or will you be replacing your counter or vanity, too? Will the shape and size work without splashing water on you?
  • If the sink will fit in a drop-down design, you'll need a sturdy, generous rim.
  • Choose a glaze and clay that will withstand hot water and not show hard water spots excessively and keep the inside, especially, as smooth as possible so that it will be easy to clean.
  • Consider throwing the sink upside down. You may find it easier to handle and with less waste to trim.
  • Plan to support the sink as it dries and as it is fired.
  • Work slowly.

Warnings

  • Look in a bathroom sink you already have. You'll see a hole near the top. That's an overflow drain, in case you leave the drain closed and the water running. It may be against building codes to install a sink that doesn't have one. If you do install a sink without one, be very careful never to leave the drain closed and the water on.
  • Sinks are quite a bit larger than most pots you've probably thrown. That means not only more clay but different handling of the project. Practice a few larger pieces first, if you can.

Article Info

Categories: Clay Projects