I must admit, I’ve never been terribly disciplined about my test tiles through the years.

I’m pretty good about taking careful notes; too many times I’ve been burned by shoddy notes.  However, I do tend to slap those careful tests on whatever’s laying around.  The result is a box full of well-documented, mismatched shapes and shards.

I finally got sick of the mess.  It prompted me to search for a standardized test tile.  Many options were considered: wheel-thrown, slab-built, pinched, and free-formed.  Eventually, I settled on an extruded tube, a variation on something I saw Bill Van Guilder using.

These tubes are uniform, stable, strong, and provide for a lot of information in a relatively small space.  They look great in a box or hanging on the wall, and they feel good to the touch.  That’s my favorite part.  About the only thing they don’t do is replicate a thrown surface.  I figure I can live without that.  After nine months of using them, I can tell you the time and effort it takes to produce these things ahead of time is well worth it.  It reminds me: if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing it right.  ∆

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