Clay, Application to Refinement


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The finisher as the name suggests is used in finalizing shapes prior to using a steel. These scrapers vary in shape and size depending on the particular task that needs to be done. The flat finisher is handy when it comes to blending fillets between two surfaces, or developing radii.

It is ideally suited for interior clay modeling, where intricate details are abundant.



The photograph on the left shows a selection of purchased and handmade finishers. The sizes range from 1 1/4" to 2".


With the basic introduction of the finisher explained, let's proceed to make several different size finishers utilizing various methods to secure the blade to the leg assembly.


For this purpose I shall use 1/8" Dia. steel rod, 1/8" square steel bar and 3/16" steel rod for the leg assemblies. The blade is made from 1/16" steel plate. All these materials are readily available from any Home Depot, Lowes or hardware store.




3.0" or 75.0mm


2.0" or 50.0mm


1.0" or 25.0mm




2 1/2" or 65.0mm


1 3/4" or 45.0mm


3/4" or 19.0mm




3/4" or 19.0mm


1/2" or 13.0mm


3/8" or 10.0mm

The above chart gives you blade dimensions for three different size finishers. These would give you a good foundation for tackling most small modeling jobs.


The illustration right shows two methods of securing the blade.


The far left illustration shows 1/8" steel rod that has been formed in a vise and would be silver soldered  to the top of the blade.


The illustration immediate left shows a 3/16" steel rod that has been split down the middle for approximately 2". It was then eased open to the width of the top of the blade.

You would then silver solder the leg assembly into place.


The illustration right shows two 1/8" square bars that have been bent to produce the angles for the legs.

The leg assembly would be silver soldered at the base and then silver soldered to the blade.


With all these methods of attaching the blade to the leg assembly, it is really a matter of preference on which method that you use. Just make sure that the balance between blade and leg assembly looks right.

When attaching the leg assembly to the blade it is important that you have sufficient angle to the blade. This is to provide hand clearance from the work surface.


The blade angle to the legs should be approx. 110 degrees. When you cut the clay surface the angle is approx. 90 degrees. This will give you 20 degrees of clearance and prevent you from dragging your knuckles along the clay when modeling.


To simplify the leg assembly for the three different size finishers it pays to make a setout board.


 The illustration on the right shows the width and length of leg assembly prior to fixing into the handle, i.e. 2" wide and 2 1/2" long leg assembly for a 3" finisher, 1 1/2" wide and 2 1/4" long for a 2" finisher and 3/4" wide and 2" long for a 1" finisher.

The handles for the finishers can be made from oak, pine or any type of wood that you like. The length would be approximately 3 1/2" with a diameter of 1"- 1 1/4". They can be turned in a lathe or just tapered, the important factor is that the tool feels comfortable when in use.


OK, now that we have discussed the theory side of the tool making lets proceed with the practical side.




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