Compact Slab Roller
The Talisman compact slabroller is designed to sit on a bench or small table, at a height suited to your working convenience. Though not necessary, it can be screwed down in place. The lightness and compact design of this unit allows it to be stored easily after use.
The strength of the design is in its simplicity - with the baseboard as the component that travels back and forth. The clay is rolled between two sheets of canvas, and the thickness of the slab can be controlled by a simple adjustment which will lift or lower the rollers in relation to the baseboard.
Using the Roller
To set the roller to the height required for your particular clay thickness simply loosen both large red tap knobs at each side of the roller frame (pic 1). This will allow height adjustment by pushing down or lifting the red cross bar - you will see the black roller go up or down. Once the roller is at the correct height it is necessary to retighten both red tap knobs.
Wind roller so that the baseboard is almost fully extended. Pull the top canvas back over the roller (pic 2). On the bottom canvas place your clay - it should be of a thickness that will fit under the bar which precedes the roller. The exact size and shape of the clay for the required slab will be found by experience.
The top canvas can now be pulled back in place. When the handle is firmly turned the baseboard with clay will travel under the roller (pic 3).
If rolling a big slab, you may prefer to do the final rolling in more than once pass to reduce the force needed on the handle. As the clay spreads out before the roller, check if the canvas under it needs smoothing out to avoid creases. If the clay overspreads the edge of the platform, trim the sides off with a blunt knife.
Removing the Slab
Using two rigid sheets of hardboard, slide one under the bottom canvas. Peel back the top canvas and lay the other sheet of hardboard on top of the rolled clay. Now carefully invert the "sandwich" - remove the hardboard which is now on top, peel back the canvas. You can now safely carry the slab to the workbench.
Tips to Remember
Dampening the canvas helps to avoid creasing.
Adjusting the roller to obtain an often repeated particular thickness of clay can be made easier by using a piece of wood (of the required slab thickness) as a gauge. It is ideal if this gauge is approximately 40cm (16") by 10cm (4"). After the red tap knobs have been loosened, this gauge is slipped between the two canvases under the roller. When the red cross bar is lowered, the black roller will rest on the gauge between the canvas, and when you tighten both red knobs and remove the gauge you will be assured of your repeat thickness (and will also be even across the width of the roller).