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Woody Sheep

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  1. Hmmm....I just replaced the elements in my old Cress. It had the same symptoms as yours. Mine has three banks of elements. When I checked them...easy to do, Disconnect each element, then just check em with an Ohm meter ... I found the bottom one burned out. So the kiln was getting hot from the other two but it needed all three to reach final temp. From experience, check the manufacturers web site, somewhere buried in there should be specs on what each bank of elements should read on the Ohm scale. Mine was 41 Ohms for the Top and Middle, and only 36 for the lower...unless one is broken, in which case your reading will be 1. You need to know these reading to make a comparison. When you do get the new elements, there will come with a full instruction sheet on how to replace them. It really isn't that difficult.... unless in your case where you can't access them....If you try, be careful these old kiln used Asbestos as insulation. Sorry i couldn't be more help. PS The relays make a very loud popping noise when they turn the electricity on and off to the elements. Its really scary at night when you can see the relays flash as the electricity arcs between them.
  2. What a fascinating idea....It never occurred to me. However I did try Carbon Dioxide. I got great reduction up to the first inspection vent...then the CO2 leaked out. So I would imagine your Argon would do the same thing. Please keep us updated....Thanks
  3. Hi. You are not bisque firing hot enough. I use the Laguna B-mix and I had a similar problem, but it was with excessive pinholing. I finally solved it by bisque firing to cone 3 and glazing at Cone 6. (Yes, this cone 10 clay works great at Cone 6) It seems excessive, but it tested all the way from cone 05 up and finally got the pin holes to stop at bisque cone 3.
  4. Interesting. This was my first kiln. I do not use it anymore, as my production outgrew its capability. It is very small. That;s the key, it is so small it uses only about $1.50 in electricity to heat up. You should not be having any problem with heat. You should have a problem with it heating up to fast. Ok, a couple of points: I had both of the problems you describe. First the Thumb-wheel - clay dust got into the thumb-wheel and caused it to stick. All I could do with it was blow it out with compressed air and liberal use of WD40. It worked. Unfortunately the thumb-wheel is the key to using this kiln. If it doesn't work, you are back to the old school of manually adjusting the temperature. By the way, I also gave up on the timer and just set it to max. The previous response about using the kiln wash on the kiln setter is a VERY good idea. Mine does not have a yellow button. I have to assume it is just another safety to get power to the unit. This is important. You are going to have to spend some $$ and get a Pyrometer. I use a Fluke and a ceramic probe - about $200 for the set. You have to know what the temperature is doing. There is a plate on the back side that you take off that exposes a small hole that the pyrometer goes into. Then you have to sit down and babysit the kiln all day during a firing. Record the temperature every half an hour and graph it. That's the only way you will know how the kiln is working. Once you know how the kiln timing works, you just set the alarm on your watch to warn you when to go down and watch the Kiln setter. Please note that electric elements do burn out. A cone 6 kiln only gets 60 firings before the elements need replacing. So time to check the elements. Don't be scared. This is a simple electric circuit. To check the elements, take the 4 small screws off that hold the panel to the kiln. The entire control panel comes off. Watch for the kiln setter. There is along rod that slides into the kiln., don't bend it. There are a couple of wires that connect to the elements. DRAW A DIAGRAM so you can put the correct wire back to the correct pin.They should be a standard electrical slip connection. Just pull them off. Then take a small wrench or screwdriver, undo the elements, use an OHM meter and test each element individually. I believe there are two elements in this kiln. They should be both the same. (Sorry I can't remember what the resistance reading should be, you will have to Google it) If you do need replacement elements they are fairly inexpensive for this kiln, about $120 from Euiclid. They are easy to replace. Its a good kiln and it will work. (By the way, I am converting mine to a propane RAKU kiln.) Its just getting old and needs a little TLC. Good luck.
  5. Hi, buying a used kiln is exciting. You never know what you are getting, but lets keep things in perspective. A kiln is nothing more than a pile of bricks with some method of introducing heat. If the bricks are in good shape (small cracks are ok - all kilns have small cracks) and the lid fits. (and the price is right) Go for it. Everything else can be replaced. Now lets talk about the heating elements. You have 240 Volts --- 27 Amps. That's a lot of amps. , but it is obvious that it runs off of a dryer outlet. So this will have a cone 8 max temp, (anything hotter needs a 3-phase commercial hookups), but I would not fire it any higher than a Cone 6. The other question you need to ask is now hard was this kiln used. Electric elements burn out. A good electric Cone 6-8 kiln can only be fired 40- 60 times before the elements will need replacing, sooner if you do reduction firings. If you are firing at earthenware or slip casting temperatures, say cones 06 or thereabouts, he elements can last almost forever. If you want to get really technical, get an ohm meter. and some tools. undo each end of the elements and do an OHM test on each individual element. They should read the same. if not....well, you need to replace them. Oh one more thing. after you get it home. Load it with kiln furniture, a couple of sacrificial pots, turn it on and record the temperature every 15 minutes and graph it. That is the only way you will know how your pile of bricks actually works.
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