Pottery tools #1: Modeling tools - for clay blog

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Blog entry by mafe posted 03-26-2014 03:39 PM 1424 reads 3 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Modeling tools
for clay

I have to many things going on, one of them is the clay, I love the contradiction between the clay and the wood, one need to be cut, one so soft that it needs only a touch.
In the wood we have the rigid set of rules that we try to bend to give it beauty, in the clay it’s all bend and we need to try and put some rules to make it speak.

On Wednesdays I do nude model clay croquis.
It’s difficult, really, two times twenty minutes for each pose, no more no less and so you just need to be done when the model leaves. I love it and hate it – right from my heart!
When doing this I used to use my hands a lot for modeling, now I use almost only the palette knife and wire tools for shaping and then different modeling tools for details and difficult spots to reach.
I have a bunch, but needed out of love to make some my self.

This is what we are talking about, my box of clay tools.
I will tell more later, just needed to show a picture so you know what I am talking about.

Some scrap wood, here a arm from a hardwood parasol.
Cut to length on the table saw.

Then to shape on the band saw.
(Forgot to take the picture before final shaping, so put it back to show you).

Shaping on the Supersander wheel, like I do with my knifes.
I love this process.

Flat areas on the disc sander.

Finish up with scrapers and sand paper.

Then I burn my brand into them.

Here a little selection from that day.

Danish oil and wax.
On the right a bamboo knife and spoon I converted.

So here they are ready for use.

Bamboo or any wood spoons, forks and knifes can be converted easy.

Even chopsticks.

Great for tiny details.

You can never have to many, but really you need only a few.
(A look into my box).

Here a set I made as a gift for a kind woman at croquis, she brought me home made snaps, so I thought it was fine to make her a little gift.

The latest I have made, now in new colors also. ;-)_o

Here some of my other stuff, little Japanese inspired clay toubako boxes, been told the Japanese call this clay discipline cabinet making…

Work in progress.

Mr & Miss.

Demon of vanity – who have given up hope.

You might also be interested in my Clay rolling and cutting board:

Hope it can inspire others to make tools.

The best of my thoughts,

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

13 comments so far

View tyvekboy's profile (online now)


567 posts in 1670 days

#1 posted 03-26-2014 03:44 PM

Very cool. When i no long can push wood Iʻll push clay. Great ideas…. and they are all lying in my scrap bin. lol

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA

View rayn's profile


140 posts in 1875 days

#2 posted 03-26-2014 04:02 PM

Great Mads Are you self taught or is this another of your hidden talents?

-- Ray,Iowa

View Sergeich's profile


60 posts in 453 days

#3 posted 03-26-2014 04:19 PM

Buetifull tools. And awesome demon. You are real artist.

View lanwater's profile


3083 posts in 1591 days

#4 posted 03-26-2014 04:40 PM

It’s funny, I just bought some clay and a bag of modeling tools for my younger son.

Very similar to yours. Let me say that your tools look so much better. Had you posted this blog last week, I would have done it myself :)

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

11483 posts in 1762 days

#5 posted 03-26-2014 06:10 PM

Very cool set of tools. It makes sense that YOU would make all your tools to do the clay work. Nice going, my friend!!...............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View mcoyfrog's profile


3178 posts in 2251 days

#6 posted 03-26-2014 06:18 PM

Dude you rock I like your custom burn in label. I really want to get back to sculpting its so rewarding.

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View kiefer's profile (online now)


3082 posts in 1323 days

#7 posted 03-26-2014 07:17 PM

Two hobby’s that compliment and support each other woodworking and pottery
I like MR. and Mrs. they look cool and the tools are nicely made also and must feel just right when you sculpt.


-- Kiefer 松

View Greg In Maryland's profile

Greg In Maryland

394 posts in 1654 days

#8 posted 03-27-2014 10:33 PM

Nicely done Mafe, but I really don’t understand how you cut dovetails in clay?


View stefang's profile


13051 posts in 1991 days

#9 posted 03-30-2014 12:35 PM

Beautiful tools Mads and some wonderful looking clay boxes.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View MadJester's profile


174 posts in 1087 days

#10 posted 09-14-2014 03:07 PM

Love the demon too! Do you take the designs from other tools or do you shape them to suit your needs?

-- Sue (Susan) Mad Jester Woodworks, "Not what I have, but what I do is my kingdom" Thomas Carlyle

View mafe's profile


9547 posts in 1746 days

#11 posted 09-15-2014 07:47 PM

Just realized I never got to comment back on this one sorry.
Tyvekboy, yes it is way less force demanding, but your brain will get no rest.
Rayan, I had no training in this, actually I was surprised my self to learn that my hands liked the clay as if they had been there before… rebirth…
Sergeich, I am still fighting to figure that out… Am I an artist or just a man trying to express what I fell…
Ian, it’s never too late, he will be happy for some tools from your hand.
Jim, dear Jim, yes it kind of hat to be like that, when I worked with the bought tools I realized I could make some that would suit my demands more.
mcoyfrog, I think you use a good word there rewarding, that is what it really is.
kiefer, thanks, yes they do feel just right and I use these most, so I guess our hands know what they need.
Greg, I should give it a go just for you. I did try in a French baguette and that was possible.
Mike, thank you from my heart.
MadJester, the deamon came are one of a series, they all represent feelings I have been through, especially the one I wrote you a mail about. ;-) I shape the tools from what I think I need.
Thank you all.
Best thoughts,

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View MadJester's profile


174 posts in 1087 days

#12 posted 09-20-2014 04:09 AM


-- Sue (Susan) Mad Jester Woodworks, "Not what I have, but what I do is my kingdom" Thomas Carlyle

View mafe's profile


9547 posts in 1746 days

#13 posted 09-20-2014 08:56 AM


-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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