Not all bats can fly. Also known as a batterboard, a pottery wheel bat is a thin slab of wood, plaster, or plastic used to support pottery forms while you throw. Because the bat piece can be lifted from the wheel head, there’s no need to directly handle your clay piece and risk distorting its shape. Pottery bats come in a range of materials, shapes, and sizes. Circular pottery bats usually cover the full wheel, but square bats take up less space on your shelves. Plastic bats are sturdy, but Masonite and Medex (both types of wooden boards) expand and contract with your pottery. Whatever your preference, we’ve got you covered. Browse our roundup of the best bat options below.
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1. Speedball Universal Pottery Wheel Bat
Plastic bats are a great choice for many. Plastic holds up to water well and resists warping and other water damage. Speedball offers a few plastic bat options; this square one fits both 9- and 10-inch pin spacings. Great for professionals as well as novices, it’s high-quality, lightweight, and inexpensive. The bat pin holes are hidden, leaving the surface completely smooth with no interruption.
2. Amaco Plasti-Bat
Amaco’s simple round bat is made of water- and impact-resistant plastic that is ¼ inch thick. The bat pin holes are drilled all the way through for effortless and secure placement on the wheel; this also allows you to use it on both sides. Take note that, as with the Speedball bat above (and any other plastic bat), you will have to wire your pieces off the surface.
3. WonderBat Square Bats with Adapter
This multi-piece WonderBat system is a great hybrid of round and square options. The bats and adapter are made from an unspecified water-resistant but porous wood product that is similar to plaster in performance (read: it will release your clay without wiring off). At ½ inch thick, each of the six included inserts are more resistant to warping than other, similar systems.
4. Penguin Pottery 9" Square Medex Bat
For a non-plastic option, this large, square Medex bat is a good choice. It’s easy to use, with holes drilled all the way through at the standard 10 inches apart. Medex releases clay easily, but since it is porous, it needs to be dried thoroughly and stored flat. If this bat ever does warp a little, it’s reasonably easy to remedy: Use the opposite side, or weight it down evenly overnight. The environmentally minded can rest easy knowing that Penguin Pottery makes minimal, earth-friendly packaging a priority.
5. Bleecker Station Bat System
Similar to the WonderBat system, this inexpensive kit includes a round adapter made of wood and six 7-inch square bats made of Masonite, a porous wood material that releases clay well. Teachers will appreciate that additional inserts can be purchased without the round adapter.