Trimming can be one of the most difficult parts of pottery to master. Your style might be ‘old school’ with a tap center method, or you might have learned to trim on a modern pottery trimming gadget. Either way, having a set of high quality pottery trimming tools will give you the best chance for success.
The way you opt to finish your pots can make a huge difference aesthetically. As your skills on the wheel advance, you’ll begin to appreciate how much your trimming tools can make or break this phase of the pottery process.
Most tools for wheel throwing are fairly basic in nature, and many potters start with a fairly inexpensive set. However, splurging on a high quality set of trimming tools can really level up your pottery trimming game. Read on for some of the best options that have both the quality you’re seeking AND they won’t break the bank.
What Style Of Trimming Tools Are Best?
Generally speaking, it’s helpful to begin with at least one high quality dual-headed ribbon tool for trimming. Even better is a set that includes a variety of shapes and sizes to help you with a wider range of trimming needs.
You’ll also want at least one quality loop tool for trimming, and possibly several shapes for various shaping needs.
Some potters also like an alternative style of trimming tool, like the Xiem set linked below, though I ribbon and loop tools are the more widely used styles.
Best Do-All Trimming Tool For Pottery
If you’re ready to invest in a quality set of trimming tools, these are our recommended, quality tool options to consider for pottery trimming. These are far more expensive options out there for pros, but most potters need not splurge on fancy tungsten carbide tools. Super high end tools can be extremely fragile – so make sure you’re ready to care for them appropriately before buying! In most cases, though – any of the following tools (or sets) will be reliable and affordable options for trimming.
Mudtools Do All Trim Tool
First On Our Must-Have List Is This ‘Do All’ Tool By Mudtools.
Effective at removing large amounts of clay at a time, this quality piece will assist on both exterior shaping needs and foot rim trimming. It’s a bit more expensive as trimming tools go, but is sturdy and effective.
This is nice for squaring off a foot rim, leveling a base, and also for shaping and smoothing the exterior of forms. In other words, it does it all!
Best Pottery Trimming Ribbon Tools:
This Shape Of Ribbon Tool Is A Go-To Style For Trimming.
This tool is a great option, given the quality of the Kemper brand, the sharp stainless edges, and the go-to shapes that this tool offers for trimming foot rims. This Kemper brand tool isn’t super high end, but the blade can be sharpened.
This Multi-Set by Kemper Offers A Wide Range Of Shapes + Sizes To Cover Your Trimming Needs.
I love this set if you’re looking to invest in a trimming set for yourself. It’s affordable, the tips stay sharp for a long time, and the quality difference is noticable when compared to the typical starter tool set.
Best Loop Tools For Pottery Trimming + Final Shaping
Kemper Loop Tool Set Of 3
This Set Of 3 Loop Tools By Kemper Is The Perfect Set For A Wide Range Of Shaping + Trimming Uses.
These loop tools offer a great variety of options for final shaping as you trim. This multi-pack is affordable, and will give you a nice range of loop tools to hone and shape your pieces.
Kemper Loop Tool
If I Had To Choose Just One Loop Tool, It Would Be This Tear Drop Shape.
The shape of this tool offers versatility with just one tool. It has a narrower loop end, a wider one, and also has a nice long flat edge for final shaping and smoothing that can be used on the exterior of your pieces.
Alternative Trimming Tool Option
Xiem Trimming Tool Set
This Alternative Style Of Trimming Tool Is Very Effective At Very Specific Refining Techniques.
These Xiem pottery trim tools are sharp and can be very effective for very pointed refining techniques. These can work well for beveling and leveling. While they are not effective at removing a lot of clay material easily, they can be a nice addition to your trimming toolset.
Best Ribs For Smoothing Pottery
The final items for your pottery trimming tool kit is a quality set of pottery ribs. These can help to finish and smooth both the base and exterior of thrown forms when trimming. They’ll also help press grog back into the form to make the base and exterior of your finished pieces be as smooth as possible.
Chester’s Clay Silicone Pottery Ribs
This Multi Pack Of Silicone Ribs Come In A Variety Of Sizes + Are Just The Right Softness… Making Them Ideal For Pottery Trimming.
You’ll have all the bases covered with the shapes included in this silicone rib set for pottery. They are easy to handle, and just the right softness for the more sturdy requirements of smoothing during the trimming process.