This selection will make working with clay much easier and elevate the final look. With that in mind, here are the supplies needed for a basic toolkit that every new potter should obtain when starting out with clay.
These long heavy needles set into the wooden, metal, or plastic handles are one of the most versatile tools in pottery. Use them, among other things, for neatly trimming the top edges of pieces while they´re on the wheel and for scoring slabs and coils when you´re hand-building pieces.
These thin-bladed knives come in either a hard temper or soft. The hard ones are inflexible, while the soft fetteling knives are flexible and can be bent into desired angles and curves. They were first developed to remove the fettle (the ridge left where pieces of the mold are joined when a piece has been cast). They are also very useful for trimming slabs and thrown pots or cutting across areas of hand-built posts.
If you have both kinds of fettling knives, it is wise to add a band of paint or indelible marker on one of them so you can easily tell them apart.
Used in throwing, these tools can help shape and smooth pots as they are being formed on the wheel. They are also used during the "rib and hand" method of working with coiled pots.
Ribs come in many different shapes and are usually made of hardwood or rubber.
Scrapers look a lot like ribs, but they´re lighter and used to smooth wet and soft leather-hard greenware. They come in a myriad of shapes and can be made of steel, rubber, or wood. Some potters use scrapers and ribs interchangeably for tasks. Rubber ribs and scrapers usually give the smoothest finish.
Just generally useful, these tools are handy for trimming greenware and for use in hand-building. Wire and ribbon varieties are not recommended for use during throwing because they are too fragile. They can, however, be used for carefully hollowing out handmade pieces. You could even make your own pottery wire.
Wooden modeling tools
Wooden modeling tools come in an astounding variety of shapes, and they are useful in all sorts of hand-building. Although called modeling tools, the triangular-headed varieties are also excellent trimming tools while throwing on the wheel.
Potters use this type of caliper to measure the inner and outer dimensions of pots where they will meet with other parts of a set. For example, they are especially useful when measuring lids for jars, measuring the base of a cup to match the depression in the center of a saucer, and measuring the base of a pitcher to match the interior floor of a basin.
Calipers can be made of metal, wood, or plastic.