Can My Work Be Better Now That I Have More Time?

Coldworking Options 
How To Bring A Professional Finish To Your Work

During this insecure time, we figured we would talk about something that made us feel secure as artists; workmanship and creativity. We’re really motivated to make stuff right now, but here at Kiln Frog we are all about the finish of our projects. A good finish will take your piece of glass, pottery or blade from “Oh yeah, that’s nice” to “Wow, that’s freaking amazing!” 


Just like a lot of you, we’ve had some of extra time on our hands to get some long overdue projects finished.  This past weekend Paul finished the lip of a gorgeous bowl on his new flat lap grinder.  It was a great bowl, but it just needed that professional finish to take it over the top. 


Here is the before and after.  That ugly, lumpy edge finally is gone!


This project got us thinking.  Whether it’s finishing the lip of a glass bowl, smoothing out the bottom of a thrown pot, or putting a razor-sharp edge with a mirror shine on a blade, grinding and polishing is something we all do.  Coldworking is what really finishes off a piece, but we often don’t have the time necessary to give our work that last little bit of polish. 


Well, now a lot of us do have that time.  Coldworking takes patience and practice, and it can’t be rushed, but the right tools really help to get the work done well. 


We know that sometimes what you really want and what you can really afford are two different things, so we thought we’d give you an idea of some different options that are out there to get a super finish on your work. 


If you want to do some coldworking, but just can’t spring for that 24” flat lap grinder right now, (it took Paul three years of saving everything he made at every art show he attended to finally get the cash together to buy his!) you can always get some silicon carbide in a few different grits, a sheet of 6mm or ¼ inch plate glass, and some water and you have your very own cold working station.  


Here is a kit we put together that has all of the grits you need to get your coldworking station set up with this method.  This kit is a steal, and it really works great!


And here is a link to a great video that shows the process for setting up and using a simple grit based cold working station from the super helpful folks at Bullseye Glass. 


If you have a little bit more to spend, you can get a versatile machine to do the work for you. Covington has two great models of wet belt sanders to get the job done. 


The #466 Mounted Wet Belt Sander has 6 inches of workspace and a 1/3 hp motor.  It is perfect for working on smaller pieces such as items for jewelry. It doesn’t really have the power for bigger plates and bowls, but it handles small work under 6” really well.

If you have larger projects to work on, the #761 Deluxe Commercial Wet Belt Sander has a more powerful ½ hp motor.  This extra power and torque will handle larger jobs.  The 761 also has a 13-inch high back plate allowing you to work vertically, and it can be ordered in either 120v or 240v configuration.  This is a great machine and has a lot of power to handle just about anything.

Covington Deluxe Wet Belt Sander #761

For bigger projects, Covington Engineering has Flat Lap Grinders starting at 12 inches of work surface and on up to 24 inches.  The 12-inch model is a great way to get introduced to the world of beveling and polishing.  It can be configured with a center water feed and a variable speed motor.


Gail recommends the Variable speed model, which is good for polishing the lips of bowls. Even through it comes at a higher cost, it’s worth the extra money. It allows you to work alone safely. Although you can polish with a single speed model, it is definitely more challenging to hold on to your project as you change the abrasive discs and they have finer grit, things get a little more slippery! This is when you need a studio buddy to help keep you safe and turn the machine on and off. You don’t want your piece flying across the room. Remember, safety first!


I Can't Wait Much Longer!
We have been getting a lot of calls in the last few weeks from people who are stuck at home, just like we are, and can’t get to their work studio, community center, or wherever it is where they normally create their art. A lot of them are deciding to finally get a kiln or other piece of equipment to use at their home.  The biggest dilemma is that it usually takes 4 to 6 weeks to get something built even during normal times and let’s face it, these just aren’t normal times!  Many people don’t realize that we have a great selection of kilns that are in our Ready-to-Ship Program that usually go out in 5-to-7 business days.  They are already built and at the factory waiting to go to a new home.  If you are at that point where you want to get something to use at the house, you can check them out here.  There is a nice variety of kilns here from small to large; for glass, pottery and heat treating. 


So, whether it’s a Flat Lap Grinder, a Wet Belt Sander, or just some silicon carbide grit and a sheet of plate glass that you need to get that professional edge to your work, or a kiln to call your very own we’ve got you covered.  


These times are difficult for everyone, and if you are like us, you get a lot of pleasure and maybe even a bit of calm from creating something with your own hands.  We thought it would be fun to help you show that off a little.  Send us a jpeg of something you have created with one of our products and we will post it up on our Facebook or Instagram.  Send your pic to our email address, Attn: Paul and we will get your creation a little extra love! We want to see you blades, your glass, you gorgeous clay creations! And if you’re one of our University, Lab or Industrial Shop customers, share your workplace love too! We’d love to see what you’re up to also! There’s a lot of creative energy going on out there in industry too!


As always, we are here for you.  Keep creating and keep yourselves and your loved ones safe.


**A note about our manufacturers: Most of our manufacturers are considered essential manufacturers, allowing them to remain open, still building and shipping. They are running smaller production crews, and are doing everything possible to ensure the safety and health of their employees. It is our goal to continue to support their businesses by continuing to market their products. They stay in business with our support, and your support. Some of our manufacturers have been forced to temporarily close. Please see our website for their status.**




Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Explore more