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About neilestrick

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    Neil Estrick

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    Grayslake, IL

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  1. Electric-Propane kiln conversion advice

    Here's a graphic of the little no-chimney cross draft design: You could just cut a hole in the lid at the top corner for the flue opening, make it about the same size as the burner port or slightly larger, and you can cover it with a brick to control back pressure. A simple power burner is relatively cheap and easy to build from stock black pipe parts. The Baso valve and retention tips will be the most expensive parts.
  2. Relay Life Update

    Thank you, everybody!
  3. Relay Life Update

    Thanks @Callie Beller Diesel and @Marcia Selsor. I put in my application!
  4. Glaze issue

    I think they need to be fired hotter, like cone 05 or 04. I think they're getting to their bubbling stage but not getting hot enough to smooth out completely. When glazes cool in their bubble stage, they often crawl.
  5. Kiln bricks can handle the expansion and contraction of heating and cooling better than pots and kiln furniture. Soft brick don't hold heat the way dense materials do, and they have much greater flexibility, allowing them to deal with the thermal expansion/contraction issues. I usually open my kilns at 300F, and my kilns don't seem to mind. Nor do my pots (porcelain) or kiln furniture. The lower the temp the better, but I think there's a point where the effects of fast cooling can't be measured. For larger pieces, I do wait until the kiln gets down to 250F or lower.
  6. Electric-Propane kiln conversion advice

    If it's one of those old top loading square kilns with a heavy frame, those are great for adding on a downdraft chimney. A dozen soft bricks and a few pieces of angle iron welded up and you've got a very functional gas kiln. I've built one of those before and they can work great- way better than a converted round kiln. The one I built had two small power burners, coming in from the front wall, one on the right one on the left, and a ware area in the middle. Basically you use 1 shelf instead of 2, with firebox area on each side of the shelf. You can get great results with a kiln like that. Another option is to have one power burner coming in at one corner at the bottom, and have a flue opening at the opposite corner at the top, like a cross draft. No added chimney needed there. I had a little salt kiln like that and it worked well, too.
  7. Electric-Propane kiln conversion advice

    The preheat isn't necessary if everything is totally dry and you can go slowly. Weed burners are not good kiln burners, and no kiln should be fired without safety systems. At the bare minimum you need to have a Baso valve and pilot on the burners. A lot of people have come to the forum in the past couple of years with questions about round gas kilns (converted electric kilns). They are generally difficult beasts. Electric kilns are designed for electricity, not gas. You can put a burner on just about any kiln shaped thing and get it to low fire temps for raku and such, but going to cone 10 with a controlled atmosphere, efficiently and with even temperature requires more engineering than a cylinder of bricks. Some folks manage to get them figured out to within a cone or so temperature difference top to bottom, some folks manage to get them to reduce evenly, but it seems to be rare that anyone is totally happy with their round gas kiln. Those that seem to work best have an external downdraft flue added. Air flow is everything in a gas kiln. You will need smaller shelves than what the electric kiln uses, to allow for good air flow. Do some searching here on the forum and you'll find a lot of recommendations for placing shelves and target bricks and such to get it to work. I'm not trying to be a downer here, I just want you to be aware of the reality of the situation. It will not be as simple as the kilns you used at school. Also take a look at the cost of firing with propane. Up here propane is really expensive, and it's cheaper to fire with natural gas (much cheaper with electricity). Also look at the glazes you work with and consider firing to cone 6 in reduction instead of cone 10. It will use half as much gas, and most glazes can be converted fairly easily. It will also be easier with your converted kiln.
  8. I always used magnetic business cards for intake covers.
  9. Decals on Bowls - Inside or Out

    Outside. Decals are not always super durable.
  10. Too short to throw standing up

    I'm not sure I understand. Does the wheel have tall legs that make it too tall? Put the pedal up on the wheel and work it with your hand.
  11. Are these ^6 wadding?

    The wires on those stilts tend to soften and bend during the firing at cone 6, which can be a problem. For smaller pieces they'll probably work, however on a small piece of jewelry the scar left by the pins will be quite large in relation to the piece. My students that make jewelry just leave the back sides plain, free of glaze. They use porcelain so they're good and tight and won't absorb oils from the skin.
  12. Glazes That Break

    The cones may drop more, depending on how slowly it cools from the peak. I cool at 175F/hr from 2232F, and that drops at least 1/2 a cone more. If you want to avoid that, crash down to 2000 before starting the cooling cycle.
  13. My concern would not be crazing, but the clay itself. Like Curt said, many bodies cannot handle thermal shock very well. I would never take a porcelain (or any fine-grained clay) pot out of the oven and put it directly into the freezer.
  14. Glazes That Break

    Once you start selling your work, you'll find that the vast majority of the buying public has no idea how to effectively critique a pot.
  15. I would let them cool down to 150F in a space that cold. Let it cool as much as you can before pulling the peeps or cracking the lid.

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