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Pottery On the Wheel E-Magazine Dec. Issue #8 Mug Making Part 2
January 27, 2013

Welcome to the 8th edition of Pottery on the Wheel Magazine Online. This issue features:

Tips for Attaching Handles

Last month we learned how to pull a handle from raw clay.

This month we'll explore tips for how to attach a handle.

Once you have pulled your handle it's time to attach the handle to the mug body.

3 tips for attaching handles well:

1) The mug body and handle should be the same dryness (more on this below)

2) Score the two surfaces of mug body and handle and generously apply slip before attaching.

3) If your first handle fails all is not lost. If you gently cut the handle off while the pot is still wet, you can attach a new handle in it's place.

Attaching a Handle Step by Step

This assumes that you have already thrown the body of the pot and pulled a handle (see last month's issue #7).

1) Dry the mug body and handle to the same leather hardness. This usually requires drying the mug body for several hours first before creating the handle, since the mug body is thicker and more wet. If the body or handle start getting too dry, simply cover them completely with a plastic bag while the other piece drys to the same dryness.

2) Choose where you want the handle to attach to the pot and score the attachment areas with a clay needle, toothbrush or serrated rib.

3) Apply slip (thick clay mud) generously to both attachment surfaces. I save the slip that comes off of the pot while throwing in a little sealed plastic container. You can also make slip by soaking clay in a little bit of water for a few days and then stirring it up.

4) Gently press the top of the handle onto the side of the mug. Use enough pressure to attach it well but not so much that it crushes the pot or the handle. Support the mug wall from the inside while pressing.

5) Gently press the bottom of the handle onto the side of the mug. Be sure to look at it from the side to make sure it's straight before pressing. Pinch or cut off any excess clay from the end of the handle.

6) Clean up the edges of both attachment points with a knife or needle. Then smooth it all with a damp finger or sponge. 7) Dry the mug as slowly as possible. Cover it partially or dry it in a "damp" room with a humidifier. You can also paint wax resist around the joints to slow drying and prevent cracking (optional).

8) When completely dry, bisque fire your mug!

I'm currently creating a full mug-making book. Look for it this spring.

How to Pull a Handle Start to Finish


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Thanks for reading, and sharing, and Happy Potting.

- Steve

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