[Clayart] firing electric kilns

Arnold Howard arnoldhoward at gmail.com
Tue Apr 19 15:41:18 UTC 2022

Recently I upgraded an older switch-operated Skutt kiln to touch screen digital. The customer wanted to monitor the kiln temperature from a cell phone app. 

Remote monitoring is convenient though not fail safe. The controller can’t detect when the thermocouple has lost its accuracy. 

Arnold Howard

Sent from my iPhone

> On Apr 18, 2022, at 7:42 PM, Ginger Dunlap-Dietz <gingerpots at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Apr 1, 2022 at 8:51 AM mel jacobson <melpots at mail.com> wrote:
>> knowing and understanding your own kiln and having confidence
>> in it is essential to perfectly fired pots.
>> if your kiln is in order, it will fire in X time, to X cone.
>> It should take almost the same time, over and over.  if it is lagging
>> behind, then there is something wrong.  fix it.
>> on the kiln sitter, there is a small timer. use it every time.  i set mine
>> for
>> about a half hour extra time.  so, my small kiln fires glaze in about 4.5
>> hours.
>> i set the timer for 5 hours.  then memorize..."there is no fail safe.
>> only your own
>> eyes". i do not leave my kilns running without me there. never.
>> about every six or eight firings i clean with very fine emery paper the
>> weight
>> and claw. i clean the cone holder too.
>> my newer big paragon kiln has a 220 low amp plug in on the side of the box.
>> i have an extension cord from that plug to my studio. When the kiln is
>> running
>> that light is on.  i use a standard 220 light bulb. IF THE LIGHT IS ON,
>> at hopkins high i had a 220 light bulb above my desk. Light is on, kiln is
>> on.
>> I could leave school and the janitor knew if that light was on...shut off
>> the
>> main power to the kilns.  It was a sure thing. my office lights are off,
>> if that
>> bulb was lit...something wrong.  if the janitor failed to turn things off,
>> the
>> janitorial department had to pay for repairs.  he cleaned my room every
>> night at 6.
>> we did not have problems.
>> orton tells me that cones can age. so, don't use that box of cones from
>> 1958.
>> if you own a newish controller kiln it does not mean you can just walk
>> away from the
>> kiln.  remember, "planes crash".  kilns do not shut down properly all the
>> time.
>> safety cones work well. your eyes work well. being near the kiln works
>> well.
>> my large electric has a controller. it is screwed to a 4x4 post in the
>> room. the 220
>> box is next to it. i can switch during a firing from cone sitter to
>> controller by
>> unplugging and changing things. i pick the system i am going to use. and
>> often put
>> a cone in the sitter, and use the controller just to test things.
>> I have a analog pyrometer on the kiln. there is a digital pyrometer on the
>> shelf.
>> I have a 60 amp breaker painted red. i have small fans running, and the
>> kilns have
>> their own room. go in and check, and get out.
>> it is so easy to be safe, and have your brain plugged in too.
>> mel
>> website: www.melpots.com
>> www.melpots.com/CLAYART.HTML
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