DIY Pottery Workbench & Drying Box Combo

Potters use damp boxes to keep clay damp for a longer period, allowing them to work on the clay before it is dried for the bisque firing. On the other hand, warming boxes, or hot boxes, are used to dry pots quickly, saving time and increasing efficiency for shows and custom orders. Building a drying box is an easy process. First, you need to create a table, which can be made with a half sheet of plywood.



The Workbench Section:

The term “half-sheet” refers to the fact that you’ll be using a standard 4×8-foot sheet of plywood, which you’ll cut in half to create the workbench top. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you build one:

Materials:

– One 4×8-foot sheet of plywood (preferably 3/4 inch thick for sturdiness)

– Four 2×4 lumber pieces for the legs (length depends on desired workbench height)

– Additional 2×4 lumber for bracing and support

– Screws or nails

– Wood glue (optional but recommended)

– Wood finish (optional)

Tools:

– Circular saw or table saw

– Drill with screwdriver bit

– Measuring tape

– Pencil

– Sandpaper or a sander

Steps:

1. Cut the plywood: Measure and mark the plywood sheet at the halfway point (4 feet) lengthwise. Use a circular saw or table saw to cut the sheet in half, creating two equal pieces. One of these pieces will serve as the workbench top.

2. Prepare the legs: Determine the desired height for your workbench. The standard workbench height is around 34 to 36 inches, but you can adjust it according to your preference and needs. Cut four pieces of 2×4 lumber to the desired length for the legs, taking into account the thickness of the workbench top.

3. Assemble the frame: Using the remaining 2×4 lumber, cut pieces to serve as the frame and support for the workbench. You’ll need two pieces to span the length of the workbench (the same length as the plywood), and two pieces to span the width (minus the thickness of the legs). Assemble these pieces into a rectangular frame using screws or nails, with the shorter pieces placed inside the longer ones to form the corners.

4. Attach the legs: Attach the legs to each corner of the frame using screws or nails. Make sure they are positioned evenly and securely. You can reinforce the connection with wood glue for added strength.

5. Attach the workbench top: Place one of the half-sheet plywood pieces on top of the frame. Align it evenly, ensuring that it overhangs on all sides. Secure the plywood to the frame using screws or nails, driving them through the plywood into the frame below.

6. Finishing touches: Sand down any rough edges or surfaces to smooth out the workbench. You can also apply a wood finish or paint to protect the wood and give it a polished look.

7. Test and adjust: Once assembled, test the stability and sturdiness of your workbench. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure it’s level and solid.

Creating the Drying Box:

Warning: Heating things means things could get hot. Be sure to have your heat source far enough away so things do not catch fire and burn the place down. Be sure to check temperature settings. Be sure all wiring is correct, and check on your pots often. Use this tutorial at your own risk.

Materials:

– Plywood sheets for the workbench and sides

– Lumber for framing (2x4s or similar)

– Electric heater or gas heater (like the Big Buddy)

– Screws or nails

– Hinges and latches for the door (if applicable)

– Insulation material (optional but recommended for retaining heat)

– Ventilation system (optional for controlling humidity)

Steps:

1. Attach the panels: Once the frame is constructed, attach the plywood panels to the frame using screws or nails. Ensure that the sides and back are fully enclosed, leaving the front open for access.

2. Install the heater: Depending on the type of heater you’re using, install it in a safe and accessible location within the box. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and make any necessary modifications to accommodate the heater.

3. Insulate (optional): To improve heat retention, consider adding insulation material between the plywood panels and the frame. Follow the instructions from the link to install insulation if desired.

4. Add ventilation (optional): If you’re concerned about humidity levels inside the box, you may want to install a ventilation system. You may add vents or a computer vent fan as needed.

5. Finish and test: Double-check all connections and ensure that the heater is properly installed. Test the heater to make sure it’s functioning correctly and adjust the settings as needed.

6. Use and maintain: Once the drying box is assembled and tested, you can start using it to dry your pottery pieces. Monitor the drying process closely and make adjustments as necessary. Regularly clean and maintain the box to ensure optimal performance.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

If you place pots directly on the table, they may dry out due to the heat generated from the box that warms the table surface from underneath. This allows more pots to start to dry than just what’s inside.

To keep the heat in, I used a big buddy gas heater and boarded up the front partially. You can use a 1/2 or 3/4 door or prop up a board to enclose it more. A swing-out door would take up space and be hard to get around. So I have not put one on here. But if you have room to work around things, then go for it.

Additionally, I have placed a dehumidifier on the ground, blowing in, which has worked out great.

There are a million ways to make a warming box; I have only seen a few. If you have seen one, let me know in the comments. I would love to hear about it.

I have used break racks to stack pots inside on a roller. It works out great!

Do you have questions about this table or Drying box? Do you have any tips that could make this better? Let me know, and I can add them here.

Warning: Heating things means things could get hot. Be sure to have your heat source far enough away so things do not catch fire and burn the place down. Be sure to check temperature settings. Be sure all wiring is correct, and check on your pots often. Use this tutorial at your own risk.

Written By,

Al Wayman

Artist/Owner

Creek Road Pottery L.L.C.

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