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  1. Agreed. The 'teaching story' my first professor used on us was the time she closed the kiln before lighting, forgot the striker, and went inside to get it. by the time she came back out (she'd been distracted) and lit it without thinking, the force was enough to lift the entire kiln and shift the bricks. whether or not it was bull, it definitely left an impression on me, but when I say babysitting, I mean I'll be sitting five feet away either reading or working, more than close enough to ear the burners change from their burning noise to their leaking-gas noise. That sounds fascinating. I wonder if I could build something like a miniaturized noborigama with old electric kilns. I certainly have the geography for one. I don't suppose you could point me towards where I might find some of that info? Waste oil was my first choice for fuel, but I can't for the life of me understand oil burners. I do have to reiterate, whatever initial burner I end up going with, I'm definitely adding regulators on. I can't imagine any propane application that doesn't require regulators. (sorry for the long absence, I graduated and took a three-week long nap)
  2. I absolutely agree that it's worth the money to do it above-board and safely, but that's only the better option if you actually have the money to do that. I'm trying to work a good burner setup into the budget, but as safety features go I'm thinking I might have to content myself with coffee and a fire extinguisher for the extremely near future. The home-built black iron burners look promising if I can work out how to do it properly with a baso. The problem is most videos I can find on them are quick-and-dirty no-safety backyard forge burners. I still have a little time to do more research in that area, I've just been a little swamped this week with moving out of my school studio (sad day) and holiday stuff.
  3. @Rex Johnson @neilestrick Thanks for the responses guys, I know I have a lot of questions, but this is new for me, and not something I'm comfortable playing with blind. I understand the basics of kiln building and I can fire one fine, but you never really realize how complicated specific parts are until you have to get your own on a budget Baso Valve and Solenoid! That's what they're called! I couldn't for the life of me figure out what they were called. (at the university we just called them safety valves) That'll make it a lot easier to figure out what the heck I need to do with them. Potentially stupid question: The kiln I'm used to was using passive-air burners, and the baso valve worked on temperature, when the pilot went out, the valve cut the gas, until the kiln got up to a temp where it would auto-reignite. what part senses the temperature/fire? is that a feature I could put on a home-built burner? is it something that can run without power or am I stuck running some kind of electrical to my studio? Electricity based safety features might get complicated, my studio is away from the house by about 50-100 yards, and I wasn't planning to run electrical to it; my wheel is a kick wheel, and the kilns I intend to run off gas. that makes forced-air burners tricky too. My professor suggested an inexpensive raku burner from Ward, but my professor has a yearly budget and a tenured teaching position, so I think our definitions of 'inexpensive' are different Black pipe I'm at least familiar with. I've used it for a couple hipstery furniture builds, I honestly love working with it. That will probably be my go-to once I've worked out the kinks in all this, but I'm probably gonna give it a shot with the weed burners first, the way simon leach did it. the burners are cheap, and there's not a huge amount of risk I'm thinking. definitely won't be walking away from the kiln while it's going but that's probably for the best. at least I'll have to get some work done while I'm firing!
  4. @High Bridge Pottery I haven’t had a chance to read the whole thread but I’m always glad for more information. @neilestrick when you say a burner from black pipe do you mean the kind I’ve found on YouTube, usually for mini forges? Do you have a plan you can recommend for that?
  5. That's great to hear! I might give the cross-draft method a try, anything that means fewer bricks to buy is a plus for me right now, and I'm not terribly confident in my welding abilities at the moment, being as I've used a mig welder all of once in my life. also good to hear you've gotten good results using it as a salt kiln! my tentative plan was to use it as my primary gas kiln until I can afford to build something more practical, and then repurpose it for soda. It's my favorite firing technique and I'm heartbroken to lose access to the school's soda kilns. It's a tiny little thing, I don't expect to fit more than one or two layers of work in there once I've had to make room for a firebox and airflow, but it's better than no kiln at all, and I'm determined to keep on making and firing my work.
  6. @neilestrick - thanks, that’s a lot of good information and I appreciate it. Natural gas isn’t an option unfortunately; the city utility doesn’t reach our lot, the whole house runs on propane. I know it’s not going to be as easy to run as a professionally built kiln or one of the larger cone10 kilns we have at the university. The kiln I’m used to running is something of our red headed stepchild; a tiny student-designed test kiln. If I can’t get a good reduction or even temperature it’s nothing I’m not more than used to already. One small advantage, my kiln is an old square paragon, so at least I have that. I’ve considered playing with some ^6 glazes, and might stick to the mid temps while I work the kinks out of my little frankenkiln. @High Bridge Pottery You’re using a homemade venturi burner? Would you happen to have plans/advice for that? I’ve considered building one, but I’m leery of going that level of homebrew with fire and explosive gas, especially not without talking to someone with more experience in what I’m building.
  7. One of my problems is my professor isn’t really experienced in single-fire, so we’ve been erring on the side of caution, I think. And there’s no real reason to conserve gas as it’s one of the few things the university studio has a near-unlimited supply of. I’m in Texas, so I guess waiting for really bone-dry work is less of an issue, but if not an overnight preheat, how long a preheat would be a reasonable amount of time for a bisque/first stage of a single-fire of very dry work? It’s a smaller kiln than I’m used to working in so I assume it’ll want to fire faster, but I’m always wary of losing work. EDIT: I unfortunately don’t have an oven available to dry work in. I live with my family and they’re particular about non-food in the oven, regardless of how perfectly safe it is
  8. I’m a recent grad working on setting up a studio space on a really tight budget, and my current plan is to convert an old electric kiln I got for free into a propane-fueled gas kiln. My original plan was to fire it with a pair of propane weed burners, (like simon leach’s conversion) but it’s occurred to me that could be a safety issue during an overnight preheat. I’m planning to once-fire most of my work to cone 10 reduction, and I’m used to the university gas kilns, which use Venturi burners with pilot lights and safety shut offs. My usual firing schedule is an 8-10 hour overnight preheat, bring it up to cone 06 slowly (4-5+ hours, reducing 012-09) and then up to 10 quickly(1-2+ hours) and letting it cool naturally. Obviously I’ll be monitoring the kiln while it’s firing, but I’m worried about the preheat. On the other hand, I don’t have a ton of money laying around until I can start firing work to sell, and proper kiln/forge/raku burners are prohibitively(for now)expensive. Does anyone have any advice for this? Maybe an inexpensive burner actually designed for long-term use? Or an alternative firing schedule that doesn’t call for me to be awake and alert for 16-24 hours?

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