Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Makins Extruder easy on the hands retro fit CRANK handle from and my hamsas

 The Sedona Red Rock Monarch Butterfly and Sunshine Hamsa is available for purchase from MelodyODesigns at Etsy

After the holidays I challenged myself to make store inventory of a Sedona Red Rock Hamsa wall hanging that I love, but is the most labor intensive and difficult to make piece in my portfolio. It turned out that making them was also very challenging to my delicate wrists and elbows, because each hamsa requires one and a  half feet of extruded clay. That adds up to A LOT of extruded clay plus LOTS of wear and tear on the joints. In the middle of the project my Makins extruder also broke. As I was online ordering a replacement from Karen at I noticed that she was selling something I'd never seen before, an inexpensive retrofit kit ($7.50) that converts the regular Makins twist handle into to a crank handle. It allows for a much more user friendly motion, similar to what one would use for a hand cranked pasta machine or a Walnut Hollow extruder. It's listed on the "M" page for Makins at her store.
To use it you just have to cut off one end of the 4" bar T-bar in the crank handle and slide it out. You slip in the new handle, tighten the nut and you're ready to go. Alas, I didn't have Dremel or hacksaw to cut it, as suggested in the directions. My creative husband suggested a file. I found that all that keeps the T-bar in the handle are lightly flattened, slightly wider areas each end  of the T-bar. All I had to do was file down the sides of one of the flattened ends of the T-bar and it slid out. I'm a happy camper with my new toy because it causes so much less stress on my wrists and elbows.

Below is a picture of what I made for the new year thanks to my Makins crank handle adaptor!

To read a short blog post on the history of Hamsas and also a bit on why and how I designed this particular hamsa please click here