Welcome to the new addition to the studio- the smallest/cheapest of the current Shimpo line. My 30-year-old cone drive Shimpo is getting a bit long in the tooth [noisy,hard to change speed] and Keramikon [suppliers] gave me a good price [you can probably get it for around 4500 shekels].Anyone looking for an old Shimpo?
The wheel is pretty basic [as all wheels should be]- on/off,fast/slow,clockwise/anti. A light on the off switch would have been nice. The three legs adjust for height,but their locking screws don't fit on the very lowest setting [where,of course,I think the wheel should be]- no great problem,as the weight of the wheel keeps things steady.The work surface is like the Creative Industries wheel- as you can see from the picture,I have my own ideas about surface height,but the Shimpo just slots into the space occupied by a Brent [I have a B and a C,but prefer working on the B,which has a smaller wheelhead relative to the slops tray,making it much easier to clean out]. The Whisper has the same [30cm] head as the B,but a bigger tray,which would make it easier to clean if it wasn't made of such nasty thin plastic [the Brents' softer,more flexible tray is nicer].It also involve spreading the legs a fraction wider than one is used to,but I can get used to that. The foot-pedal is good- large,curiously Birkenstock/Naot shaped [but probably most potters,like me,wear Naots...],comfortable to use,easily kicked into the right location.No Brent-like speed adjustment [I saved you the trouble of opening the base-plate to check],so the top end [160 rpm and up] is wasted on me [I never go that fast].The wheel stops when you want [some keep on going for a few revs] and free-wheels [important for trimming]. The Whisper's main claim to fame is its silent running,which is indeed somewhat uncanny,after years of more-or-less noisy/humming/vibrating machines.No longer do I need to crank up the music when I start working on the wheel.A real pleasure.
It's too early,obviously,to talk about longevity- a sterling quality in a wheel- meaning not having to fix it for at least 4 or 5 years of constant use- stay tuned. In terms of strength, I have also not yet put it to the test,but did notice that I could make the wheel-head slip centring 1kg800gr dinner-plates; the clay was a bit stiff,but not overly so,and I wanted to get the set of 12 done before Shabbat,so was maybe pushing the clay around too vigorously...we shall see.As it happened,a cat [probably ours] walked over the tableful of drying plates,leaving incriminating paw-prints on 8 of them,7 of which I managed to rescue by assiduous rekidneying after Shabbat.The 8th will be used as evidence...
I'm happy with the wheel so far.No wheel is going to make my pots better,but a good wheel is a pleasure to work on.
P.S. I rather think that this might be the first use of the word "rekidneying" on the web [Hi,Hana!]