Frequently Asked Questions

About The Bat Molds

Questions About the Molds

Q: Can I use Vasaline or liquid detergent for a mold release?

Q: I forgot to use a mold release and my bat won’t release from the mold. What can I do?

Q: Do I need a Quick-Release for every mold that I purchase?

Q: Why do you sell a small Quick-Release separately from the Quick-Release set?

Q: Why do you sell a large Quick-Release separately from the Quick-Release set?

Q: What are the flat bat molds for?

Questions About the Plaster

Q: How long do I leave the plaster in the mold?

Q: Can I add Hydro-stone to my plaster mix to make my bat stronger?

Q: Can I substitute another plaster for the Pottery Plaster No. 1?

Q: How thick should the plaster be before pouring it?

Questions About the Bats

Q: My bat is wobbling up and down and not seating flatly on the wheel head. What is causing this?

Q: My plate is not releasing from the bat for several days and then is cracked when it does release. What is causing this?

Q: My new bats are mushy instead of hard and dry? What is causing this?

Answers About the Molds

Q: Can I use Vasaline or liquid detergent for a mold release?
A:
Murphy’s Oil Soap or a liquid detergent can be substituted but several coats will probably be necessary. We recommend Pure Lube which is a thicker liquid cocoa oil soap manufactured by Laguna Clay Co; probably available at your local ceramic supply dealer.

Q: I forgot to use a mold release and my bat won’t release from the mold. What can I do?
A: First, place a bed of newspapers on a table top to cushion the bat when it does release. Then, press the back of the mold firmly with the palm of your hand while rotating the mold. So, press at 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock. Usually by the second rotation the bat will release from the mold. If not, then submerge the plastic mold in a hot water bath or warm in the sun. This should soften the plastic enough to aid in the release of the bat.  

Q: Do I need a Quick-Release for every mold that I purchase?
A: No, the Quick-Release will work with all of the molds so you only need to purchase one.  

Q: Why do you sell a small Quick-Release separately from the Quick-Release set?
A: Some folks have more than one wheel in their studio or classroom.

Q: Why do you sell a large Quick-Release separately from the Quick-Release set?
A: Some folks want to pour more than one mold at a time.

Q:
What are the flat bat molds for?
A: The flat bats are for throwing everything that you don't want to throw on a domed bat. The 13" flat is the most popular bat mold for making standard bats for the wheel.

Answers about the Plaster

Q: How long do I leave the plaster in the mold?
A:
Thirty to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the mold. Don't leave it in overnight because plaster expands a lot. It should heat up and then cool down before removal.

Q: Can I add Hydro-stone to my plaster mix to make my bat stronger?
A: You can use a small amount (20%) in the mix but it will make the bat denser and less absorptive. I do strengthen with Hydro-stone when I am adding a high relief design to a domed bat. Generally the domed bats do not need strengthening. The flat bats can be strengthened with Hardware cloth or window screen which will not affect the absorption rate. 

Q: Can I substitute the Pottery Plaster No.1 with a different plaster from the hardware store?

A: Plasters have different absorptive rates and set up times so Pottery Plaster No. 1 is advised, especially for the Bat Molds. Less critical for the SlumpHump molds. Plaster of Paris for example sets up too fast.

Q: How thick should the plaster be before pouring it?

A: About the thickness of pancake batter.

Answers about the Bat

Question: My plate is not releasing from the bat for several days and then is cracked when it does release. What is causing this?
Answer: Your bat was probably not given the thorough initial drying that it needed to drive off the water used in the plaster mix. Force dry your bat after you’ve poured it. Warm air flow is best but not over 120 degrees fahrenheit. A dry bat should release your plate in about 24 hours. Drying molds properly promotes good strength development, uniform absorption and reduced efflorescence. 

Q:
My new bats are mushy instead of hard and dry? What is causing this?
A: Old plaster that has not been kept dry will not set up properly. For best results, store plaster indoors in a dry, stable environment (Lidded barrel). A good plaster mix will get very warm from the chemical reaction that takes place while it is setting up in the mold.

Q: My bat is wobbling up and down and not seating flatly on the wheel head. What is causing this?

A: Make sure that the plaster bat is not hitting the bat pins on the wheel head. Carve out plaster to create enough bat pin clearance to allow the bat to seat properly on the wheel head. ADD LINK

Also, check to make sure that the small circular cave in the middle of the plaster bat is large enough to clear the circular nub in the center of the Quick-Release. Scrape away excess plaster, if need be.

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