Yesterday was a big day - and an expensive one, I bought my wheel. After searching in vain for suppliers in London I decided to go up to Stoke to visit Potterycrafts, as they had the biggest range I could find. I'd looked at the options beforehand online, but didnt feel able to make a final choice without seeing them all in the flesh.
I'm left-handed so one that went on both directions was essential, and I'm also tall and didnt want to spend my days hunched over a tiny machine, so some height was important too.
After some discussions over the phone we shortlisted the Shimpo Whisper, the Roderveld Max red and the Brent C. All these were waiting for me in the show room when I arrived, plus a Cowley hush.
They were all quiet - which I had been hoping for after the monster I'd used in class that rattled even when stationary and truly grated on my nerves. They all had 1/h hp as well so there was nothing to compare there. Some were belt driven and some had direct drives, but I'm not technical enough to know which is supposed to be better.
The Brent and the Cowley didnt have extending legs and so were the least tall so I crossed those out.
A random visitor to the show room (who seemed to have taught throwing at Harrow) said the Shimpos were very popular - more so than the Alsagers, and later that he had never used a Roderverld but knew they were supposed to be good. He also helped us extend some of the legs and mentioned that they could safely be stood on breezeblocks for extra height (and that you can stand on the tray of a Shimpo if throwing something huge!).
I was pulled towards the Roderveld. It was such a nice thing with it's red body and wooden shelf and sturdy metal tray. My colours and no nasty plastic bits here.
However, I also wanted a lotus style head so that I could move newly thrown pots around still on their batts and no such thing was available for the Rodervelds so I had a nasty decision to make...
In the end I went for the Shimpo with its fancy head and not quite such long legs. I can't say I'm in love with the way it looks, but it is soooo quiet it's amazing!
Roll on next Thursday when it gets delivered.
While I was in Stoke I also went to check out the ceramics gallery in the Potteries Museum, but that's another story...