Trimming a pot

After you throw a pot, it needs to dry to the leather-hard stage (this takes 4 to 6 hours) before it is trimmed. In most cases trimming refers to turning the pot upside down and trimming the excess clay away with a sharp edged tool. A foot-rim is usually trimmed on the pot.

Why are pots trimmed? Pots are trimmed for three main reasons:

  1. Aesthetics: Trimming gets rid of the excess clay at the bottom of a pot. This can transform a heavy and awkward pot into one that is aesthetically pleasing and feels good to hold.
  2. Warping: When pots are fired, they warp and this can cause them to wobble when set on a flat surface such as a table. A well trimmed pot, with a foot rim, won’t wobble.
  3. Glazing: Glaze is essentially glass. When a glazed pot is fired, the glaze (glass) melts and flows on the side of the pot. The foot-rim provides a barrier between the flowing glaze and the kiln shelf which the pot is sitting on. If the glaze on the side of the pot flows off of the pot and unto the kilns shelf during the firing both the pot and the kiln shelf are frequently damaged. For more information on this subject see Learning to Glaze.