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Small Tools - van Gilder Tools

10% Off List Prices

Shop on-line as you would normally and checkout. Our sales staff will deduct the various discounts from the List Price and send a notification by email with your adjusted total before charging your account or credit card.

Bill van Gilder demonstrating on the
DIY network.

van Gilder Tools
Bill van Gilder has been designing and refining pottery tools for the last 30 years. He is both a master potter and the host of the DIY network’s series called “Throwing Clay”.  In his network DIY series, he generously shares his techniques and use of his tools. Bill has demonstrated his tools at the 2005 and 2006 NCECA conferences. Potters love them.

In the tool descriptions below, Bill discusses the unique qualities of each tool and how it is used.

Bill demonstrating his tool line at the 2006 NCECA conference.



Bill Van Gilder’s Pottery Techniques - DVD
These informative DVDs are led by renowned potter, Bill Van Gilder. The techniques are clear and concise and are perfect for any skill level. The ideas are in an easy step by step format….ideal for classroom teachers, students, and potters alike!

Bill Van Gilder’s Pottery Techniques
- Getting Started: Bowl, Cup, Plate (25 min)
- Making Handles (32 min)
Retail Price: $49.95
Our Price: $44.95 (On Sale 10% off)

Bill Van Gilder’s Pottery Techniques
- Making Lidded Forms (49 min)
- Trimming Techniques (38 min)
Retail Price: $49.95

Our Price: $44.95 (On Sale 10% off)

Two NEW Bill van Gilder tools!

NEW! Clay Sponges - 12 in a Bag
Here is what Bill has to say:
You’ll like these sensibly shaped sponges – scaled to fit the hand – for throwing, hand building and glazing.

You’ll like these sensibly shaped and inexpensive sponges – scaled to fit the hand – for throwing, hand building and glazing.  

Each bag contains 12 sponges - 8 very soft and extremely absorbent for gentle throwing - 4 of a stiffer grade for ‘rough’ throwing and cleaning slip and glaze from your pots.  

Considering that many of our thrown pots have interior corners where the wall meets the floor, these cornered and straight-wedged sponges allow you to remove excess water from the interior of a thrown form very quickly – unlike round or flat-shaped sponges.  

The thin, wedged-shaped ends can be folded and pressed over the rims of wet pots to efficiently smooth any lip or edge surface that needs cleaning-up and finishing.  No more searching for that easily lost chamois!  

Your ClayTools sponges are designed and produced by a potter – for potters.

Clay Sponges - 12 in a Bag
Sale Price: $5.90

(*No further discounts apply for this item)

Roped Rollers
Here is what Bill has to say:
"There are lots of simple tools to use when decorating your work. And often, simple is best! These long and short roped dowels are easy to use and extremely effective. Held between your fingertips like a small rolling pin and using a steady, gentle hand pressure, roll a roped dowel across a soft clay tile in one direction. Turn the tile and roll again. Inlay thin cardboard as "resist." Using a roped dowel, roll over your design to create an interesting 3-D decoration. You can stamp into and over a roped texture, too. Use them to rope-texture a leather-hard pot; plate rims, handle surfaces, vase and cup forms. Use the large dowel for big pots, the small dowel for small ware.  Try inlaying slip into the roped surface. Allow the form to dry until stiff leather-hard, scrape off the top slipped surface and over-glaze as a final step. Beautiful!"

The small dowel is 3" long x 3/4" diameter. The large dowel is 5" long x 3/4" diameter.

Large Rope Roller

Small Rope Roller

Aluminum Wire Knife
Here is what Bill has to say:

"Designed to comfortably fit the hand, this lightweight and hard-surfaced aluminum "knife" will become one of your most-used studio tools - for handbuilding and at the wheel. Unlike a flat knife blade, the ultra-thin textured and tensioned wire cuts through clay without drag or distortion. It's ideal for cutting coils! And, it's a safe tool to use in the classroom. It's a great tool for leveling rims - a safe alternative to the more dangerous needle tool. Use it to trim teapot spouts and handle ends, facet, cut-out feet and more..."

Size: 3" wire length in a 5" x 3/4" U-shaped frame

Aluminum Wire Knife

Replacement Wire

Undercut Tool
Here is what Bill has to say:
"This 3-in-1 hardwood throwing tool will quickly become your most useful and favorite tool at the wheel!  You will save time as you pick up and put down fewer tools when working at the wheel. Use this tool to undercut a bevel at the foot of a thrown pot and then use the long beveled edges to rib your pot into shape. And use the pointed ends of the tool to groove design-lines around a form. Grooved surface keeps this tool from slipping from the fingertips and includes a hole for hanging up."

5" length x 1" width x 3/16" thickness with 2 x 45 degree beveled ends

Undercut Tool

Profiled Foot Rib
Here is what Bill has to say:
"Here's an alternative to trimming! Produce an instant rounded foot profile by pushing this easy-to-use tool into the base edge of a wet pot on the wheel. You can create an interesting scalloped foot profile by rhythmically pressuring the tool into the base edge of your slowly spinning form. Using the cornered point of the tool, add some decorative lines to complete your foot treatment. Pull it along the foot of a slab-based form to securely attach the wall to the base. And, at the same time, create an even, rounded, smooth foot edge - all in one step! Each tool has two rounded foot profiles and an easy-to-grip center hole. Made of hardwood."

Size: 2" x 2-1/2" x 3/8" thickness

Profiled Foot Rib

Hole Cutter
Here is what Bill has to say:
"The most efficient hole-cutting tool you'll ever use! The no-clog design makes hole-cutting quick and easy. Cut holes from 1/16" to 1/2" in diameter - with one tool. Extra-sharp blade edges cut through leather-hard clay cleanly, without excessive sanding to follow. Touch the tool point at the center of the hole to be cut. Add a slight pressure and twist to produce the perfect hole! Use the small end of the tapered handle to counter-sink and smooth hole edges. Cut hole patterns in colanders and sieves, garlic jars, potpourri pots, candle lamps, teapots and more..."

Hardwood tapered handle is 2-1/2" in length, metal cutting blade is 2-3/4" in length

Cutter Tool

Textured Block Set
Here is what Bill has to say:
"Add an interesting texture to your coiled handles by rolling coils of clay between these two non-stick corrugated boards. Position the boards at different angles and directions to produce an assortment of great textures: linear cross-hatching, twisted spirals, circular rings, straight-line grooves, and more! The corrugated surfaces are sized to create textures in the correct proportion used for functional pottery. Decorate casserole handles, mug handles, handbuilt knobs, foot coils ...
Your search for a sturdy corrugated texture tool is over! "

Base board is 6" x 6" x 1/2" thickness; top board is 5" X 5" x 1/2" thickness Made of hardwood.

Textured Block Set

Butter Paddles
You'll discover a myriad of uses for these traditional, hard-to-find kitchen tools. Add a fine texture to small handles by positioning the corrugated paddle surfaces face-to-face and rolling a small coil of clay between them.

Alter the positions of the paddles to create squared and diamond-shaped, cross-hatched patterns, straight-line textures, wrap-around swirled patterns and more... Or, dip a single paddle into water and use it to slap the side of a wet thrown pot to create a random decoration.

TIP: To create a random "slapped" texture on a rounded thrown pot, slap the wet form when it's in a cylinder shape. Then belly it out from the inside, into round.

Having the right tool on hand for the job is essential. These paddles will quickly find a permanent home in your toolbox!

Made from hardwood & Sold in pairs.

Paddles measure 8-1/2" L X 2" W X 3/16" thickness.

Butter Paddles

Wiggle Wire
Here is what Bill has to say:

"Add interest to the bottom surface of each pot you make!
Pull and wiggle this sturdy corrugated wire tool beneath each form as you cut it from the wheelhead to create an assortment of subtle linear patterns. No more plain, boring base surfaces! Create great patterns across slabs and tiles. Use your wiggle wire to cut some freeform facets into your work, or cut and decorate the rims of bowls and plates. You’ll find unlimited possibilities for your wiggle wire! Helpful hint: When throwing pots intended to be wiggle-wired from the wheelhead or a bat, be sure to add 1/8" to the thickness of each pot base to compensate for a deeper corrugated cut."  Two lengths of wiggle wires are now available.  

When cutting a smaller pot, we suggest getting the new 12.5" long wiggle wire. It's much more comfortable on your hands as you won't have to wrap the unneeded length of wire around your fingers to shorten the length. Comes with two sturdy hardwood handles, 3/4" dia. x 2-1/4" L

The original 16" long wiggle wire is perfect for larger pots. Comes with two sturdy hardwood handles, 3/4" dia. x 2-1/4" L.

12.5" Wiggle Wire $6.50

16" Wiggle Wire

Hump Cut-Off Tool
Here is what Bill has to say:

"This Asian-style cut-off tool is easy to use. After throwing a form at the top of a hump, use the beveled pointed end of the tool to cut a 1/2" angled groove below the foot. Then, reverse the position of the tool in your hand and, with the wheel spinning slowly, lay the end of the string into the corner of the groove. Like a toy top, allow the string to wrap around the foot and immediately pull the string from the clay. The string will neatly release the form from the hump with a perfectly level base cut."

6-1/2" L. x 1/2" hardwood with 8" string

Hump Cut-Off Tool

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Siphon Blower
Here is what Bill has to say:
"This is one of the most efficient glazing tools you'll ever use. This traditional Japanese oral spray tool is simple to use and only requires a gentle blowing from your mouth. You will broaden your decorating techniques repertoire as you build multiple slip and glaze surfaces onto your work. Spot spray or feather layers of glaze onto the shoulder of a pot, at the foot, or subtly highlight knobs and handles. Spray over glaze mistakes and unwanted finger marks. Spray slip or glaze over paper or cardboard silhouettes; or patch-spray an organized or random pattern across or around a pot. Rather than dip or pour glaze over that large pot, spray it! Use your water-filled spray-can to mist and dampen leather-hard works in progress. No more worn-out pump bottles to deal with! For extensive layered applications, have several spray cans loaded and on hand. Lightly pressure each can, in turn, onto your compressor nozzle to quickly change colors - without the hassle of constantly cleaning up spray guns and bottle containers! The no-clog design allows for hours of efficient spraying. These spray cans clean up easily by just rinsing under running water.  Remember, if the glaze is too thick, you won’t be able to spray it.  Thinner glazes work best, so you may need to apply more than one coat. These spray cans clean up easily by just rinsing under running water."

Two sizes available:
C-126-17 Large Siphon Blower, 2-3/4" H x 6-3/4" L, 8 oz. capacity
C-126-16 Small Siphon Blower, 1-1/2" H x 6-3/4" L, 4 oz. capacity

Siphon Blower (Small) $25.88

Siphon Blower (Large) $26.80

Warning! When using the Siphon Blower with a compressor feed and air-jet, use an appropriate spray booth and wear a mask as you would with any spray gun which atomizes the glaze into a fine mist.

When using the Siphon Blower to blow on glaze, make certain the mouth piece is clean and free of any glaze debris before blowing into it.



© 2015 Bailey Pottery Equipment Corporation