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Random Tip: Inexpensive Frit Trays (Repost)

ssfrittraysIn my never ending quest to find a suitable (and cheap) replacement for my beloved stainless steel frit trays, I have finally succeeded! I used to get these cute little sauce dishes from Target. They’re stainless steel and came in packs of 6 for around $5, but woe is me… Target stopped carrying them several years ago and I haven’t been able to find them anywhere else, since. Well, a few months ago, I was wandering through the garden section in Home Depot (God knows why because I have the blackest thumb on Earth!) when I noticed these cute little flower pot saucers in various sizes. The 4″ one is a perfect replacement and it was only 68¢. I later found some at Michael’s, as well, for even less if you have a coupon.


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Building A Workspace On A Budget

So, recently I posted some pics on FaceBook and LE of my workspace and enough people questioned how I did it that I figure maybe it was something worth sharing. First of all, let me remind you that I put the “eap” in cheap. Mostly because I’m poor, but also because I must have a genetic mutation that won’t allow me to spend good money on anything other than running shoes and torches. I am ALWAYS looking for a bargain. (I found the best best BEST yoghurt in the world by being cheap!) That being said, I do realize that there are some things that you can’t cheap out on (running shoes and torches).

Anyway, on to my “studio”:


Fan set up for use:



The bench:
I scored a great deal on a workbench from Ikea. They were on sale for $25!! So I bought 3. It’s the perfect height, but a little too small so I bought a cheap 4×5 piece of plywood, cut it to size I wanted (3×4), wrapped it in some aluminum roof flashing and bam! Instant Awesome Bench! The roll of flashing was $15 for 20ft, the plywood was $8. I taped the seams with aluminum HVAC tape. (Already had it but costs around $8/roll).

The ventilation hood:
My ventilation consists of an inline vent fan and semi-rigid duct. The fan in the photos was found on Craigslist ( for $50 and the ducting is from Lowes. (Just happened to be closer to Lowes than Home Depot.) It’s 6″ and 435CFM. I’ve since upgraded to an 8″, 745CFM that I purchased on Ebay for $51. The 6″ actually worked a lot better than I expected, passing the “hot ball of glass dropped on carpet” test with flying colors. It also worked great for sucking stinky smells out when you forget about the half-eaten chicken sandwich you put behind your kiln. (Don’t ask.) This type of setup is much more effective if you have a straight run, rather than bends or arcs, like I have. Fortunately, I work next to a window so the run is short and I arched the duct, rather than using multiple 90 degree elbows. (Each bend cuts down the effectiveness of your fan) I suggest getting at least 8″, 700CFM for this setup. My new fan kicks major bootay!

To make a hood like mine, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 – 500CFM or more inline fan Ebay is a great place to look!
  • 1 – 90 degree duct elbow (around $5) Make sure you get a size that corresponds with your fan. (If your run is straight, you won’t need this.)
  • 1 – Roll aluminum HVAC tape (around $8. Multiple uses.)
  • 1 – Length of Semi-Rigid flexible duct (around $15. NOT the flimsy floppy kind for dryers!)
  • 1 – Register Boot. (around $6. Mine is 6×12.)

Getting the elbow, ducting and fan all assembled was a real Bee Eye Tee Cee Aych! Holy Crap! I do not envy HVAC guys at ALL. But even though it was a pain, it still only took about 30 minutes (20 minutes of jacking around with the stupid elbow!). I’ve since learned that there’s an awesome crimping tool you can buy that makes it a heck of a lot easier to fit the pieces together. I taped all the seams. The boot I taped inside, as well. The fan vents out the window to my right. I block the window with foam core board ($1.50) when I’m working. When I’m done, I pull the fan back and shut the window. I didn’t want to cut any holes in my wall or permanently block a window, so this system works very well for me.

Altogether, including the bench and vent system, I’ve spent less than $100 on my work space. (Some of the stuff I had laying around already.)
As you can see, it’s fairly simple. Don’t be fooled by this photo, though. It’s NEVER that clean! This how it usually looks: