Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

As most of you know we bought a new kiln at the end of last year.
We ditched, sold off, our old kilns.
There is a learning curve with anything new.
When we added a kitchen to our house a few years back I went from an electric stove top to gas.
It was and still is a learning curve.
I still can not just put a pot of something on low and walk away.
My gas cook top knows no low.
So I have learned to cook with gas and place anything I don't want burned in the oven to cook away on a lower temperature.
The new kiln:
Is not quite as wide as the old one.
Has thermocouples that stick out and have to be loaded around.
It works better with staggered shelves.
I could reach the bottom of the old ones.
This one works best with tall - 9 inches - at the bottom.
We blew up two pots last week.
I could place the old ones on a very low setting for 3-6 hours and let them dry out the pots before we fired the next day.

So when these bad boys were going in we decided to make a preheat for the kiln.
User 6, one ramp 50 degrees an hour to 175 degrees and hold 4 hours.
It ramped to about 189-190 and we turned it off and just let the heat vent through the kiln to dry out the pots.
Hours later we did it again.
Then we turned it on last night to fire and programed with a preheat and hold time.

Not real trusting, but when you make 18-19 inch pots and you need to fire it gets time expensive to have to make, dry and fire them again.

a tool we can not do without- do you have those? This board holds the same amount as our shelves and is our "planning" board.
Fingers crossed that this does the trick for us.
This kiln seems to fire hotter- as you can see since it did not hold at 175 but keep going up past that.
We did the same with our smaller, shorter kiln and it held at 178 through the whole cycle.
learning curve.
Some days I think I am going to just open a cookie business...

And about the computer and monitor.
They are once again talking to one another. We unplugged the monitor and hooked it to the netbook. Then when it was plugged back in to the computer it worked.
I guess these two needed a break.
Like all things too much together time.
We are glazing fools today.


Linda Starr said...

I wonder if it's the humidity that keeps the pots slightly moist and causes them to blow up, hopeit works.

Shortstuff said...

I admire your patience.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

I have found, as you have, that you can never be too careful in drying out pots :)

Michèle Hastings said...

jeff is famous for firing pots that aren't dry... he sometimes throws little cups and fires them wet to fill in some empty spaces. we basically do the same as you...we keep it under 200 degrees for a few hours at night, shut if off, go to bed and fire as usual in the morning. we have an old manual electric to bisque in.

Patricia Griffin said...

Best wishes for a great firing! No explosions!

TropiClay Studio said...

The humidity here is so high, that even the appearance of bone dry for a couple of weeks means nothing. I always program in at least 3 hours @ 175-200 in the beginning of every load. ;-)