How to make your own pottery wheel

A kick-style pottery wheel can be very simple and relatively cheap (under $60) to build. All you’ll need is wood, saw, sanding materials, bolts, screws, steel stock, bearings, fittings, and cement.

Building Materials

(1) 30 foot 2×4 lumber

(1) 14 foot 4×4 lumber
(2) 1x12x30 plywood
(1) 1x24x24 plywood
(4) 12×5/8 in the dowel rod
(2) 5×3/8 bolts
(32) 6×1/2 bolts
(8) 7×1/2 bolts
(4) 9×1/2 bolts
(4) 5×1/2 bolts
(4) 3/8×2 lag bolts
(4) 1/4×4 lag bolts
(16) medium weight 2in wood screws
(1) 1×36 steel stock shaft
(1) 1in pillow block bearing
(1) 1in flange bearing
(2) pulley wheels
(4) 2in “U” bolts
90 lbs. cement

Building the Frame

Begin by cutting the lumber into 30-inch pieces. Create the bottom frame by making a square from (4) 30 inch 2x4s. Next (4) 4×4 pieces are attached upright in the corners, using the 6-inch bolts. One 4×4 is placed longwise in the center of the bottom frame and secured by 4 small blocks using more 6 inch bolts.

Next cut (3) 28 Âľ inch 2x4s. These will be cross supports with the front left open and should be placed at a level for resting the feet of the individual who will be using the wheel. Attach with 6×1/2 bolts.

Take (4) 30 inch 2x4s and attach them with 7×1/2 bolts to the top of both sides of the front and back uprights. This will support the seat and work table. Attach the 1x12x30 pieces of plywood to these supports using the (8) wood screws.

Next, you will secure the flange bearing in the center of the bottom crosspiece using 3/8 inch lag bolts. Make support for the pillow block bearing using 2x4s. Then find the center of the work top and center the bearing structure here, dropping the plum-bob to the center of the bottom bearing. Next, you will insert the shaft through the bearings. Use the 9×1/2 bolts to secure.

To cast the flywheel you will want to find the center of the 24×24 piece of plywood and make a 23-inch circle using a compass. Cut this out and drill a 1 in a hole in the center. Next, attach the pulley 2 in from the bottom of the steel shaft with an arc welder or epoxy glue. Use V bolts to secure the plywood circle to the shaft.

Drill (4) 5/8 inch holes in the plywood. Use tar paper to make a 7 in high mold around the plywood circle. Cut the dowel rod into 12 inch pieces and insert them into the holes. Mix the cement and pour 5 inches into the mold. Pull the rods up and down as the cement hardens to keep them loose. When nearly set, replace with 5×1/2 bolts. It may take up to two days for the cement to fully dry and harden.

You can also purchase ready-to-assemble kits for making your own potter’s wheel. There are a number of online resources about pottery and wheel-making. Your local craft store or pottery studio will also be able to offer guidance as you learn the art of pottery.

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