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Cutting terracotta pot base? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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I'm Peter Reinhart! Ask Me Anything! Monday, February 15, 2016 7:00-8:00 pm EST

To kick off our AMA feature, we have invited author, chef and master bread maker and host of Pizza Quest, Peter Reinhart, to be our first host! Peter will be in the Forum on Monday, February 15th, from 7:00 - 8:00 pm EST. If you are unable to be online during the live session, you can post your questions in the sticky post. Peter will answer those questions during the live session on February 15th. You can view Peter's answers to your questions as well as what happened during the live session in the session thread.

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Cutting terracotta pot base?

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  • Cutting terracotta pot base?

    Trying to make a home tandoor oven.

    What is the easiest way to cut the base off a terracotta pot? I was thinking about drilling holes in it, and sort of chiseling it off eventually? Good idea or..?

  • #2
    Re: Cutting terracotta pot base?

    Angle grinder with cut off disk. Get the pot wet and keep cutting zone wet.

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    • #3
      Re: Cutting terracotta pot base?

      Use a diamond blade on the angle grinder.
      Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.

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      • #4
        Re: Cutting terracotta pot base?

        Yes, diamond blade on an angle grinder. my "fire bricks" are basically terra cotta and I cut 1000 bricks that way.
        Our Facebook Page:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stoneh...60738907277443

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        • #5
          Re: Cutting terracotta pot base?

          Um, why are you cutting off the bottom? Tandoors have closed bottoms, don't they?
          "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

          "Success isn't permanent and failure isn't fatal." -Mike Ditka
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          • #6
            Re: Cutting terracotta pot base?

            Thankyou for the replies. Is it possible I can saw it off, or will the terracotta chip/smash? Not sure where to go get it cut, and I don't trust myself to operate machinery as dangerous as that.

            Originally posted by Archena View Post
            Um, why are you cutting off the bottom? Tandoors have closed bottoms, don't they?
            I'm hoping to use 2 pots, to allow have more heat flowing aruond inside the tandoor. I will cement them together using fire cement.

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            • #7
              Re: Cutting terracotta pot base?

              Originally posted by oasis786 View Post
              Is it possible I can saw it off, or will the terracotta chip/smash?
              If you don't have access to a power tool you can use a hacksaw with an abrasive blade, but that might take you a long time to cut.
              George

              My 34" WFO build

              Weber 22-OTG / Ugly Drum Smoker / 34" WFO

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              • #8
                Re: Cutting terracotta pot base?

                Ah, okay. Makes sense now.

                Don't hit the terra cotta - yes, it will chip like crazy! Get an angle grinder like the guys said. Also, you might want to give it some drying time before final assembly. The interior will be exposed to the water and will likely absorb some. Steam inside ceramics is very, very bad. It'd probably just spall although it might possibly 'explode' a portion (pop off a section) - either way not a good thing.

                Once it's all assembled you shouldn't have a problem keeping it dry enough - and it might not even matter. It just depends on how hard the interior is - terra cotta isn't all that hard to begin with.
                "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

                "Success isn't permanent and failure isn't fatal." -Mike Ditka
                [/CENTER]

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                • #9
                  Re: Cutting terracotta pot base?

                  The low tech way is to put tape around the side you want to keep at the point you want it cut to. Use a sharp knife or something and scribe the edge to around 10% of the thickness of the pot. You can then gently beat on the part that you do not want to keep, and it will break off leaving a crisp outer edge and a decent cut through the pot.

                  A diamond blade on an angle grinder would do the same thing in seconds and much cleaner, though.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Cutting terracotta pot base?

                    They sell a carbide hook scribe for score-and-break work on tiles and wonderboard, for the procedure that Tscarborough describes above, but a cheap angle grinder is a worthwhile thing to have around, and frankly, not that much more expensive.

                    Ask around among your acquaintances, surely someone has one that they could lend you, and give you a quick tutorial, if you're nervous about it.

                    Also, you're going to need a side hole at the bottom for air and fuel. That would be hard to pull off with a score-and-break technique.

                    Just work outside, and be careful about you eyes and lungs. That dust gets all over.
                    My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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                    • #11
                      Re: Cutting terracotta pot base?

                      Once you own an angle grinder, you will be amazed by how many things you can do with it. After your basic circular saw, it is probably one of the most useful tools in your toolbox. A 4 inch one is quite cheap, but get a 5 inch if you are planning on any heavy duty grinding or cutting.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Cutting terracotta pot base?

                        Six words: try on a cheap pot first.

                        I'd forgotten about the tape thing - that should work. And honestly, you can get a knock-off angle grinder that will do the job if you don't want to invest in a decent one yet. Mind you, it's not gonna take much if any abuse but you can at least do the job and try it out before deciding on a better one (probably two minutes after you first use it).

                        Buy some plain, cheap terra cotta pots and perfect your technique on them before trying anything on the big one. You can use them in the planting beds for mint and other intrusives so it won't be a waste (the bottoms can be busted up to use in the bottom of other containers).
                        "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

                        "Success isn't permanent and failure isn't fatal." -Mike Ditka
                        [/CENTER]

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