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Posts tagged “clay oven

How I built my sculpting stand and clay warming oven.

Hey all!

With the release of the Sculpture_Geek tutorial available HERE. I wanted to dive a little deeper into my set up for sculpting. Today, I’d like to share with you my sculpting stand and clay oven.

Since they are already made, I can’t really do a full blown tutorial so I’ll just show you how I did it and what I used. They’re both simple enough and shouldn’t take longer than an afternoon to make both. Let’s get started.

Ok first up, We have a run of the mill clay warming oven.

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Figure A

 If you’ll notice the glass dish there. That is a Pyrex dish that is microwave safe. I throw some clay in that and stick it in the microwave. This gets things moving quickly. Just be careful when doing this because you don’t want to over heat the clay. It also heats from the inside and can deceive you into thinking its safe to touch. It has the potential to turn to molten lava in the inside with the appearance of being an unwarmed brick on the outside. So unless you’re trying to do your best T-1000 impression, avoid acting like its some sort of sculptor’s prom night, by reaching in and getting too handsy as soon as things heat up. In other words, take it slow big fella 😉

Moving on, broken down, this is basically a cardboard box with a hole cut in the top and front, lined with foil and a few add ons. Easy peasy!

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Door closed

I’ve added a “floor” to the box to raise things up and move the clay closer to the heat source.  These are just two pieces of insulation foam (also known as  pink or blue foam).

To attach the foil, I used a little spray glue and double stick tape.

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Inside

The clip lamp on top has a 75 watt bulb inside of it and to get the hole in the top, I put the lamp on top of the box and traced it. When it came time to cut the hole, I was sure to cut around the inside circumference of it by about an inch.  In other words, make the hole a little smaller than the lamp so that it doesn’t just fall through while its resting on top.

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For the door, I cut three sides and left the fourth, to create a hinge so the door can open and close. I also threw a little handle on the front of it by cutting, stacking, and hot gluing some smaller cut pieces of cardboard. (see photos).

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Door and handle

Now, this will keep your clay at a great working temp after its been heated. You can use an oven to heat oil clay but a microwave is much faster. If you heat the clay too much, you can actually start to cook the ingredients which will change the properties of the clay. While microwaves can vary greatly as far as power levels and size, I can’t tell you the magic number but as a guideline only. My small microwave takes about 4 and a half minutes to heat up a 2lb brick of chavant enough to put in the clay oven and use for the day. If you leave the door open and its cooler in your studio, you may have to re warm the clay once or twice during the day. but if you leave it shut, it should stay workable all day. I may add a small dowel to actually clip the lamp to so that it doesn’t slide around on me but I haven’t had any issues yet with the light falling off.

Next up,

We have a sculpting stand. This takes a little more effort but is so worth it and you’ll be happy to have one of these for years to come. I love my little stand, and I love it even more because it didn’t cost me upwards of $300.00 ;b

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Broken down, we have a bar stool, a few extra pieces of wood to help stabilize and add adjustment, a large cutting board, a ceiling fan down rod, a threaded flange for the downrod, a small piece of rubber hose and a hose clamp.

You can find bar stools cheap all the time at thrift stores. I painted and stained mine to match my studio. Doing so, makes me feel like what I’m working on is important – so there’s that.

I’ll work my way down from the top on how I made it.

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The top is an old cutting board that I also found at a thrift shop. I sanded, stained, and waxed it. Then I screwed a small block of plywood (also stained) to the center of the board. I attached a flange to that small piece just to help distribute some of the weight when I’m working on something. These are the same flanges I use in my armatures. I found a hollow, brass, down rod from a ceiling fan at my local hardware store. it happens to be threaded and fits right into the flange.

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Then I used a hole cutting bit to just drill a hole through the center of the seat part of the bar stool. On top of the first set of cross braces, I attached another small cut piece of plywood, I drilled a hole in it so I could insert the downrod into it to keep the table straight up. This adds stability as well. I had to cut a square notch out of the corners of this little piece so that it would fit. Then screwed it in to the cross braces. In order to make the height adjustable, I slid a small piece of rubber tubing with a hose clamp onto the downrod before I slid it into the bottom. There’s another clamp on the top so I can have an alternate height adjustment. Tightened it all up, and vi-ola!

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That’s all for now! In the meantime, be sure to subscribe to the Sculpture Geek YouTube channel and to the Sculpture Geek Newsletter for updates, announcements, discounts and more sculpting goodness!

#rakeittillyoumakeit
-Chris