Chop, trim, smooth, and finish your pottery with a steel scraper. An essential tool for any ceramicist—recreational or professional, beginner or advanced—a scraper, also called a rib, is a versatile implement that’s ideal for texturing, shaping, and refining. Choose a one with a serrated edge to add interest to your surfaces or get pesky clay residue off your wheel, or pick one with a smooth edge for finishing purposes. Heavy-duty metal ribs can be used for shaping and smoothing, while thin ones are flexible enough to bend around most forms. Note that thin scrapers can also be very sharp and should be used with caution. To choose the best option for your studio or project, browse our roundup of steel scrapers below.
1. Kemper Tools Steel Scraper
This tool is essential for hand-building. The curved, serrated edge makes quick work of scoring when joining pieces together, and the straight edge can be used to smooth the surface of your clay. It is made of flexible stainless steel, so you can bend it around rounded edges, but note that it is not intended to be used by children, as it can cut skin if not used properly.
2. Xiem Tools Stainless Steel Clay Rib
A well-designed smooth metal scraper can do a lot of work on its own. This versatile shape and size (it measures 2.8 by 1.4 inches) has one rounded right angle, a wide sweeping curve, and a more acute angle for added versatility. Use it on wet or leather-hard clay.
3. Comiart Steel Cutter and Scraper Tools
Educators or group organizers who want to stock a supply of scrapers should consider this 10-piece set. It includes mostly smooth-edged pieces in a handful of useful shapes, plus a curved scraper with fine serrated teeth and a rectangular serrated scraper. Note that the flexible stainless steel, which, again, is great for bending around curves, makes these scrapers potentially dangerous. Students should be supervised while using them.
4. WiziWig Tools Goblet Makin’ Lucile
WiziWig makes all kinds of specialized ribs for different creations, from mugs to flutes to bowls to, in this case, 10- to 12-ounce goblets. This tool allows professional potters (and any other perfectionist) to create uniform shapes for matching sets. Because it is thicker than most metal scrapers, it can be used to shape as well as finish clay on the wheel. Curved notches at the bottom of this clever tool can be used to create four different rim sizes.
5. C.Rae Designs Ultimate Edger
This all-in-one ceramic scraper has a unique design that gives you multiple specialized edges for maximum versatility. Round the mouth of a pot, create a double or single lip at the bottom, or make a raised design on the surface of your clay with this innovative tool. Made of 20-gauge stainless steel, it has been laser-cut with the utmost precision. Well made and well designed, this rigid, heavyweight rib is built to last.