Rib and scraper tools are essential when it comes to pottery and other ceramics work as they aid in shaping and smoothing clay. Although ribs are most commonly used in throwing pieces at a wheel, they can be used in other clay exercises as well. Ribs come in a number of materials including wood, metal, and soft rubber or other polymers. Rubber tools are often best for removing fingerprints and imperfections when finishing parts on the wheel, although they can also be used for shaping or polishing. With the introduction of tools made from other polymers such as silicone, there are more options than ever for soft, resilient tools for clay. Check out our picks of the best rubber rib tools for ceramics, all with the ARTnews Approval stamp.
1. Xiem Tools ultra-soft silicone rib
For absolutely flawless surfaces on your ceramic, try this soft green silicone rib from Xiem Tools. The flexibility allows a gentle touch that smooths without disturbing the shape or details; It’s also a great choice for polishing. The elongated kidney shape of the rib has a thin and a wider angled tip for added versatility. Silicon ribs are not only highly flexible, but also strong: These withstand heat, stains and cracks. Only a quarter inch thick, despite its size, it can be used for detail work.
2. Mudtools polymer rib
Mudtools were created by ceramist Michael Sherrill and the brand is known for innovation in the world of ceramic tools. While this rib looks very similar – and in many ways – to other kidney-shaped ribs, it is made from a proprietary polymer that is slightly more stable than similar silicone options and more flexible than rubber options. This rib is a step above its softest polymer rib and offers a lot of versatility in the studio.
3. Impresa Soft Rib
This pack comes with two ribs that are identical in shape and size. They are made of silicone, are ultra soft and have a kidney shape, which allows them to cope with many different angles and curves. Each rib has a hole in the middle for a comfortable grip and less slipping during use. The malleable silicone creates a soft finish and removes surface imperfections from your final project.
4. Longdex ribs
If you are looking for a rubber rib that almost feels like it’s a part of you, this set should be checked out. With a slightly rounded kidney silhouette, these three ribs fit the shape of your hand exactly, making them one of the easiest tools to maneuver when working with clay. Flexible and yet firm, these ribs can get a ceramics beginner on the way to equip their studio at a reasonable price.
5. Kemper Finish rubbers
This rubber rib is great when it comes to small areas and tight spaces. At 3.125 inches tall, it can access those hard-to-reach places without compromising the integrity of your piece. It has a traditional kidney shape, the most popular shape of ceramic ribs. As such, it can handle many curves and surfaces. In addition, it is so comfortable in the hand that it practically feels like an extension of your own hand.