The Best Wooden Modeling Tools for Ceramics Will Transform Your Clay Works

·3 min read

Pottery making takes more than just a wheel and a hunk of clay. In order to make well-formed pieces, you’re going to need some tools. A commonly used, do-it-all implement is the handy wooden modeling tool. A piece of wood that’s been crafted at one or both ends to come to a knife point, textured tip, or blunt head, this type of tool helps you shape, cut, and pattern your work. Whether you’re in the market for wooden tools only or want a kit that includes other modeling utensils as well, we’ve got you covered. Browse our selection of the best options, below.

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1. MKM Pottery Tools Craftsman Series

Looking for a tool in a specific shape? This small Wisconsin business sells beautiful wooden ribs made of European beech and strengthened with tung oil. Each has a precise function for different pottery types and sizes. Pick up, for instance, a curved rib to fine-tune rounded exteriors or one with a straight edge to create flat bottoms for bowls. Newly purchased, these ribs feature well-defined edges; they will naturally wear over time, but a little sanding can restore them to shipshape form. For a basic rib, we like the medium-size W1, which combines a flat edge, a rounded end, and a point for detail work.


Buy: MKM Pottery Tools Craftsman Series

2. Kemper Tools Set for Clay

You’ll never find yourself missing a tool if armed with Kemper’s set, which comes with a dozen tools for all kinds of modeling. Made of boxwood, these are splinter-free, elegantly contoured, and double-headed as well, effectively offering a variety of 24 modeling tip shapes, from rounded paddles to sharper, angled edges. Whether you want to add texture, cut, slice, or smooth, this comprehensive set has all the basics—and more—covered. Each tool measures about six inches long.


Buy: Kemper Tools Set for Clay

3. Mont Marte Mini Modeling Tools

Featuring three 10-piece sets of small wooden modeling tools, this product is a great cost-effective option when you want multiples of the same tool for a group or classroom setting. You get everything from a modeling knife to a grooved cross-hatching tool. Ideally suited for working with clay, these utensils are made from durable, lightweight boxwood and have a double-ended construction for twice the utility. Measuring between 5.7 and 6.1 inches, these well-balanced tools are perfect for everything from carving to texturing. They are made of solid wood and hold up to regular everyday use.

Buy: Mont Marte Mini Modeling Tools

4. Kemper Tools for Clay & Pottery Throwing Stick

Do you primarily make pots? Pick up a throwing stick to help you shape those difficult-to-reach spots as your precious vessel grows in height. This hardwood tool with a beautiful satin finish features a curved paddle end that you can use for expanding, compressing, and contouring the girth of your masterpiece. Throwing sticks are especially useful when your hand isn’t able to fit through the neck of your pot, and this one measures a whopping 12 1/2 inches long. Solidly built, this example is the larger of two that Kemper offers; check out the TS2 throwing stick for a more slender version with a smaller head, but with the same length.


Buy: Kemper Tools for Clay & Pottery Throwing Stick

5. Xiem Studio Tools Foot Shaper

This unique tool is perfect for finessing bases, making it a great helper if you throw loads of pots, plates, and other vessels. One deeply notched end helps you shape the foot of your piece; the other end, a thin wedge, helps you neatly and gently shape and trim the bottom. The tool is crafted out of beechwood and showcases smooth surfaces with even grain. It has a nice weight to it and feels like a natural extension of the hand.

Buy: Xiem Studio Tools Foot Shaper

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