Once a pottery piece is off the wheel and dry, it often goes back on another kind of turntable, a banding wheel, so it can be painted, glazed, or otherwise embellished. The rotating platform gives you unfettered access to all sides of your piece without having to walk around it or lift the piece itself. The simple rotation makes it easy to glide your brush (or etching tool) in a consistent band around your piece. You’ll encounter many options and features when shopping for a banding wheel; our picks of the best products, below, will help you choose.
1. Amaco Decorating Wheel
This turntable is made of supersmooth plastic, which means washing off glazes and dried clay is a breeze. We highly recommend it for classrooms and workshops: Not only will students save time on cleanup, but you’ll save space, since the wheels are lightweight and low-rising, making them safe and compact for stacking. We also like that the 8-inch-diameter wheel head features concentric circles to assist with centering. The wheel retains excellent stability when rotating.
2. Mont Marte Signature Pottery Banding Wheel
This banding wheel is a solidly constructed, reliable choice for artists who work with a wide variety of pottery pieces. It measures 7 inches in diameter and sits on a stand that lifts it about 4 inches above your work surface. Made of iron from end to end, it is heavy enough to steadily support even the heftiest of pots or sculptures. The wheel, firmly attached to its base, can be easily moved with one hand as slowly or as quickly as you like. Thanks to smooth bearings, it swivels without any drag.
3. SAMYO Rotating Stand Turntable
If you need a table with more surface area, consider this one. Twelve inches across and well built, it is perfect for pieces that are larger and heavier in nature. It is quite flat, rising only 0.67 inch above your work surface, and spins very smoothly on 12 steel ball bearings. Its low, double-disk construction and anti-slip base allow it to remain stable with even the most cumbersome of loads. It is also sold in 8- and 10-inch versions.
4. Shimpo Smooth Banding Wheel
When it comes to top-grade tools, look no farther than Shimpo’s line of banding wheels, available in a range of sizes and heights. The iconic blue wheel is known for its ability to maintain its rotation for minutes with a single push of the artist’s hand, thanks in part to its long-wearing, sealed ball bearings. The ultra-smooth turns allow you to decorate your pottery pieces with consistency. The wheel is made of high-quality cast iron and coated with a vivid, rust-resistant paint that makes it stand out from the competition even more.
5. Falling in Art Wood Banding Wheel
Banding wheels can get pretty pricey. If cost is a priority, opt for this simple wheel, which is made out of two disks of equal size; the top spins freely while the base sits firmly on your work surface. Made of wood, it is lightweight, at under 2 pounds, and requires just a gentle touch to turn. Still, this wheel is stable as it spins, propped by four nubby nonslip rubber feet to protect your work surface. It measures 8 inches in diameter, spacious enough to create a wide variety of pottery pieces, but due to its wood construction, this wheel is most appropriate for lighter pieces of pottery.