I had a problem with my wheel that had been growing for a few months. My wheel is a Bailey ST-50 that I bought in 2002 (now sold as the Bailey PRO-50R), which had been a wonderful problem-free workhorse until then. It wasn't spinning smoothly, it would start with a "jump." At one point I realized I could wobble the wheelhead. So I dug out the long-handled allen wrench that came with the wheel, which is designed to reach the set screw under the wheelhead that secures it to the wheel shaft. The set screw was a little loose, and after tightening it up, the wobble was solved. I thought I was good to go. Not so fast. The "jump" was improved but it was still there. Over the next few months, the "jump" grew into a "lurch." The wheel began making a knocking sound. Then one day I realized, to my horror, that all of my pots had a high spot on the rim, that would hit my fingers exactly when the knock would hit my ears. Every week or so, I would reach under the wheelhead with the long-handled allen wrench and try to tighten the set screw some more. I finally admitted that wasn't the answer. So yesterday, I turned the wheel upside-down and removed its plastic housing. The problem was immediately apparent ... there is another set screw under there that secures the wheel shaft to the belt system. And sure enough, that little S.O.B. was loose. The long-handled allen wrench did not fit this set screw. But I was not afraid. I have so much furniture from IKEA, I knew I would have the right allen wrench. Now my wheel is spinning smoothly and solidly again. Relief! I fixed the problem for free. I'm also feeling good about my decision to buy a Bailey wheel, since it turned out to be so easy to open it up, diagnose and fix this problem. Now I am only left to wonder, did this problem start because of the earthquake we had last August?
Mea Rhee, the potter behind Good Elephant Pottery
American Craft Council
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