Michael Wendt's Rod and Restand Directions Page
This section is about specific details of how to use the rod and restand method and replaces the printed instruction set that was originally sent with the video. If you have questions you need answered, please let me know by emailing me with the subject line yb directions question.
wedging: This method of plate production is very sensitive to uneven clay. For that reason, I recommend you prepare your clay by the stack and slam wire wedging method. In its simplest terms, this method consists of doubling the number of layers present in the piece of clay by cutting it in half and stacking the two resulting pieces so that the number of laminations increases and they stay parallel (all in the same plane). Slamming completes the joining process. Care must be taken to keep the joined faces free from dimples or hollows since these will become air bubbles. Once the desired level of evenness has been reached ( suggest you try 25-30 doublings at first, less if you still can get good results), it is important to pay attention to the orientation of the laminations as the piece is placed on the wheel head. We want the laminations plane to the wheel head to help eliminate warping and cracking. Never place the planes vertical to the wheel head as this invites cracking. I always weigh the clay for my plates because that is the only way to be sure they are all going to be the same thickness when done.
wedging table: The wedging table needs to be constructed in a specific manner too. A thin or light weight table will "boom" so make the table stout and place the legs as close to the slamming point as practical. I made mine out of two thicknesses of 3/4" plywood and it has lasted for over 25 years. I cover my table with canvas because I spray it with water before I start wedging. Select a table height that allows you to hold your hands on its surface while standing up straight and not have your lower parts of your arms in danger of hitting the edge of the table on the down stroke.
plate tools The main tools used are:
The restand tool. This is any stick made of wood, metal or plastic that is 10" long x 1.5 " wide x 1/16" thick.
The rod. It can also be wood or metal. I use 3/4" emt conduit because it is smooth, straight and inexpensive.
Ribs. I recommend you make a set of contour ribs that have the shapes you want on your plates so that they match.
bat marking: Often, it pays to use a marking pen to draw circles on your bats so that the various foot locations and diameters can be repeated again and again. Either on the front or the back of the bat, you can list the weights of the various items for reference. That way, there is nothing to look up and the weights are never lost or forgotten. Once all the lines and data are on the bats, spray a few light coats of urethane finish to stabilize and protect the markings. Then layer two or three heavier coats of urethane to produce a smooth, high gloss finish that will last for years. Recoat occasionally to keep the bats like new.
center: Unlike conventional throwing, the piece does not need to be perfectly centered. As you might guess, though, if you don't center the piece properly, some of the edge will need to be cut off to make the disk perfectly round prior to restanding. As a result, more clay must be used to make up for the clay lost and both thickness and diameter (the disk covers your markings this way) must be checked before you restand. Thus the advantages of careful centering are: you use less clay, you don't need to check either thickness or diameter and so you save a lot of time.
flattening: Care must be taken while flattening not to "crest a wave" of clay, trapping water and slip in a ring under the plate. If this happens, a circular crack often appears in the plate. I recommend that the disk be flattened with top and side pressure both. Pay attention to the side hand so that it stays 1/4-1/2" above the bat surface. This causes the clay to flow outward at bat level rather than higher up where it is more likely to become a cresting wave. Stop widening 1/2" shy of your goal to allow for rodding.
rodding the disk:
true: All run out (non- circular shape) must be cut off before you restand. If you fail to do this, the rim of the plate will be uneven.
hand position: The right hand rests on the splash pan and functions like the pivot point of a compass. Ideally, the right hand is firm and stable enough to prevent unwanted restand tool movement by itself but in practice, the left hand with the sponge filled with water is placed at the other end of the restand tool bridging it and helps hold it steady as well as helping to move it inward. The third finger of the left hand lightly touches the inside surface of the plate as it is being restood and is held gently against the rising wall to prevent curling over which often happens with this technique
cut away views
feed back: how to ask questions
As time permits, I will place the details of the directions on how to do the rod and restand technique here.