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Athletes aren’t the only ones who score. So do ceramic artists, especially when joining clay pieces together using the “score and slip” method. This involves scratching lines in the clay, then moistening the surfaces and joining the crosshatched pieces together. This technique provides extra grip, preventing pieces from coming apart once they dry or are fired in the kiln. All you need to make crosshatched patterns in your clay is a scoring tool. Some of them have just one sharp point, but many ceramic artists prefer tools with multiple points to make several lines at once. While serving a practical purpose, they can also be used to create decorative textures. For help in choosing the right implement for your needs, browse our selection of the best multi-point scoring tools below.
1. Kemper Feather Texture Brush
Well balanced, comfortable to hold, and solidly constructed from tip to tip, Kemper’s tool is our favorite for scoring. It features an aluminum handle with a textured barrel to provide a firm grip, and we like that it’s green, which makes it stand out from other tools. It features eight stainless steel bristles that are securely anchored, even in length, and fairly stiff with a bit of give. Perfect for creating hash marks and short strokes for texture, this implement measures 5 inches.
2. Xiem Scoring and Joint Smoothing Tool
Do more with this double-headed utensil, designed with a saw-toothed scoring knife at one end and a curved, joint-smoothing tool on the other. While too pricey to be our top pick, we highly recommend it for serious, high-output ceramicists. Made from high-grade stainless steel and set in a rubber sleeve for a comfortable grip, it stands up to regular, daily use while helping to reduce hand cramps. The scoring end is serrated rather than bristled (like our top pick), creating more pronounced furrows in the clay; the teeth are also quite short, which gives you more control.
3. Creative Hobbies Scoring Tool
This five-pointed scoring tool looks a little primitive, but it’s a great option for artists who want to make rougher, deeper lines. It features five hefty needles on one end, each measuring about 1 inch long and set in a row measuring 0.75 inch across—wider than the brushes or serrated heads of typical scoring tools. Evenly spaced, the sharp metal tines make it easy to create deep cuts with little pressure, and the hardwood handle offers a comfortable grip. To prevent accidental pricks, the tool comes with a thick plastic cover that fits easily over the business end.
4. COMIART Feather Wire Texture Tools
Like our top pick, this wire-tipped tool resembles a brush, with eight needle-like tines that fan out from an aluminum handle. But sold in a two-pack, it costs less than half the price of Kemper’s product. As usual when you save some money, you’ll sacrifice slightly on quality. The stainless-steel bristles have adequate strength for light, superfine scratching rather than well-defined lines. Still, the surface texture they create is good enough for successful joining.
5. Baoblaze Wood Handle Brush
This tool features so many wire bristles, it’s hard to count an exact number. Use the brushlike head to create intricate, densely packed incisions—it’ll rough up your surface in no time. The metal wires come slightly rippled rather than straight, but they hold their structure well, although we’ll note that some are slightly shorter than others. All are firmly anchored in a ferrule, itself connected to a smooth, light wood handle.