[Clayart] digital controller for old kiln. sawdust instead of straw in small kiln

ronroy at ca.inter.net ronroy at ca.inter.net
Wed Apr 6 14:58:43 UTC 2022

Perhaps vents were installed at the same time - vents have a very real  
affect on extending element life.


Quoting paul gerhold <gerholdclay at gmail.com>:

> Why would a digital kiln get longer element life since element life  
> should be determined by nothing more than the amount of current that  
> flows through the element?
> Paul
> Sent from my iPad
>> On Apr 5, 2022, at 10:23 AM, vpitelka at dtccom.net wrote:
>> ?I don't remember when it was that L&L switched over to digital  
>> controllers.  Seems to me that it was around 2000.  Early in the  
>> millennium we bought new digital L&L kilns at the Appalachian  
>> Center for Craft, and the old L&Ls we got rid of were all  
>> Kiln-Sitter kilns.  One of the new kilns was an L&L 30-cubic-foot  
>> frontloader electric, and the other three were the e23T toploaders.  
>>  We kept one old Skutt in good condition so that all of the  
>> students would learn about Kiln Sitters.  I must admit that I was  
>> skeptical of the digital controllers at first, but I quickly grew  
>> to love them.  In terms of maintenance, they were far more reliable  
>> than even a well-maintained Kiln Sitter, and elements lasted much  
>> longer in the digital kilns.  In the fifteen years or so that we  
>> were using the digital kilns before I retired, we occasionally had  
>> to replace thermocouples or relays, as you would expect, but those  
>> are easy fixes.  In that time, we never had a single failure of the  
>> digital motherboard/keyboard.
>> Regarding firing accuracy, the one advantage of a Kiln Sitter kiln  
>> is that the softening of the cone corresponds to the actual  
>> maturation of the clay and/or glazes, whereas the shutoff protocol  
>> of a digital kiln is responding only to temperature and not to  
>> duration of the firing.
>> - Vince
>> Vince Pitelka
>> Potter, Writer, Teacher
>> Chapel Hill, NC
>> vpitelka at dtccom.net
>> www.vincepitelka.com
>> https://chathamartistsguild.org/
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Clayart <clayart-bounces at lists.clayartworld.com> On Behalf Of  
>> paul gerhold
>> Sent: Friday, April 1, 2022 11:16 AM
>> To: Clayart international pottery discussion forum  
>> <clayart at lists.clayartworld.com>
>> Subject: Re: [Clayart] digital controller for old kiln. sawdust  
>> instead of straw in small kiln
>> My guess would be a properly maintained kiln setter is a lot more  
>> reliable than a computerized controller and a lot less expensive to  
>> maintain.
>> That said if you are doing glazes and crystals either macro or  
>> micro a computer makes it a whole lot easier.
>> Paul
>> Sent from my iPad
>>> On Apr 1, 2022, at 11:03 AM, Carolyn Curran <cncpots2 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> ?On the kiln sitter  perhaps I was just too used to using cones and
>>> was reticent to rely on the kiln sitter.  If I can have use of a kiln
>>> in my facility,  I sure as heck would work with the kiln sitter.  
>>> or else use
>>> cones to make sure all is OK>    On the other hand,  if a computerized
>>> controller is feasible and practical,  then I'd go with that.   I like to
>>> check on a kiln when it's near end of firing..just in case the
>>> controller doesn't shut off kiln at proper time, even if that is  
>>> rare these days.
>>> But does anyone -know if the computerized controllers are compatible
>>> with older kilns?  I'd like some feedback before  kiln technie comes
>>> here so that staff here knows about a possible option to old kiln sitter.
>>>    On using sawdust for a primitive kiln:  the last little kiln I
>>> built I never actually fired beforehand but  charcoal fired  it the
>>> first time in the green state, and it worked fine,so maybe it  
>>> would be worth a try with
>>> that  using sawdust.    Thanks for idea. I usually use heavily grogged clay
>>> and added vermiculite  or perlite..)   Chopping up straw with any tool
>>> available took a long time.  I had not thought of tree leaves. or pine
>>> needles, though.     My middle name has been experimentation for 50 years
>>> as a potter, but at this point I appreciate help from others  since I
>>> never know how much time I have left for playing in clay.  Tempus fugit.
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Ron Roy
ronroy at ca.inter.net
Web page ronroy.net

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