The design gives great flexibility in making slabs. Very thin,
translucent porcelain slabs and thick, heavily textured architectural slabs are
equally easy. A wide variety of other texturing materials and objects can be
passed through the machine along with the clay.
Bodies and rolls are made of cast and carefully machined high
strength special alloy aluminum. Gear trains are made of the strongest material
available for this application, nylon.
Bushings are nylon and the remaining
parts (except plastic gear covers and knobs) are machined steel. Table frames
are 14-gauge steel. Tabletops are of moisture resistant Medex with a melamine
surface. Metal surfaces are zinc plated or coated with a durable powder coat
finish. Virtually no maintenance is required, and the simplicity of the design
ensures that any repair ever needed will be quick and easy.
Drive train gears are made of nylon because it is impervious
to clay dust, does not require lubrication and will "give" just enough to allow
rolls to run out of parallel when needed. Super series machines use steel
reduction gears at the handle (this set is never required to run out true).
Slab Roller Tables and More
Slab Rollers with two rolls require a work surface or tabletop
just below the top of the bottom roll to provide a straight-through path for the
clay. All North Star worktables have a tabletop which allows the Slab Roller to
drop down in to the correct height thus assuring a completely level path for the
In Standard 24" and 30" Slab Roller Packages, the Slab Roller
can be removed from the table in less than a minute. The tabletop can then be
closed and locked in position, yielding a smooth, unobstructed work space for
ally studio task. The Super series tables have a full four feet of unobstructed
table surface on one side of the Roller and two feet on the other.
HOW A SLAB IS MADE
The opening between the rolls is adjusted with a star knob at
each end of the upper roll. In use, the machine itself remains stationary and a
slab is made by rolling clay between two sheets of canvas, just like running wet
clothes through the old wringer. The knurling on the rolls grips the canvas and
pulls the slab through so that one person working alone can make even large
slabs very easily
To make a slab the opening between the rolls is first set as
desired. Two sheets of canvas are started between the rolls and then the top
sheet is flipped back over the top roll and slices from a pug of class are laid
out on the bottom canvas. The top canvas is then pulled back into position and
the whole "sandwich" simply cranked through the roller.
A slab made by running clay against canvas will have a slight
texture of the canvas impressed in it. In North Star Slab Rollers texture is
passed to the clay b4' the canvas, not the knurling on the roll. If perfectly
smooth slabs are a necessity there are several ways to achieve this. Other
fabrics or materials can be used instead of or in addition to the canvas such as
smooth upholstery fabrics. Pillow ticking, for instance, is a very smooth,
tight fabric and can be run inside the canvas