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jolieo

Not Being Able To See The Witness Cones

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Hi , as stated. I am having trouble seeing the cones. I have both googled and searched on this forum, so I do have an idea of what to do, but I am still vey new to all this so please bare with me.

I did a couple of bisque loads in my VERY tiny(.04ft) glass annealer. That kiln has one peep hole and a small hole in the top. I could see the cones in that kiln fine (?).

I finally got the shelves for my big kiln, and I suspect that kiln has never been fired. So as per the literature, I slowly fired a bisque load to condition the elements.

So I finally get up to high ( my kiln is a paragon w/o kiln sitter or digital, just low,med and high supposedly goes to cone 8) , finally put both peep hole plugs in and I leave it for forty minutes . Up until this point I can see the cone on the top shelf, the bottom one I can only position it so I see the base, so the bottom shelf will only be useful on opening the kiln. When I go to look after half an hour, I can't see the cone at all. Now I have never fired this kiln before, so I think OH SH##! It fired to glaze temp really fast cuz I closed it up! ( I thought the cone had completely melted!) so I was praying all night while it cooled, oh please don't let me find a melted heap , I just got these shelves. Well imagine my surprise when I open it and the cones are perfectly straight!

So then I google etc. well my kiln is too small to put it 6-8" away . I won't blow into it, that sounds like a bad idea, plus not reliable. The laser sounds cool, but not everyone could see w the laser.

So as far as I could tell, that leaves either putting a dark tile behind or the welder so mask.

I don't have any money right this second , so I can't buy the good stuff . Is there a welder so mask that is cheap that would work? As for the tile, I would have to make it. It would need to be free standing , because I couldn't lean it on anything during glaze firing. So could make it a framed. Can I simply use black underglaze, will that contrast?

I forgot : can I simply paint a underglaze line on the cones ? Would that be visible?I don't have the cash for the ingredients for the ink mentioned in another post ( I would have to mail order or travel an hour to purchase).

And last but not least could I take a picture with my phone? Since I didn't know what was going on yesterday I couldn't try this, but I will next firing . Is there a trick to it.?

It is going to be like this every step of the way , isn't it? I guess I wouldn't have it any other way 😎

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I fire in and electric with cone pack only. I place this right at the edge of the kiln in front of the peep. My cones are arranged perpendicular to the pack falling on both sides of the log. This allows me to see all. I use a small led flashlight to light the inside when looking-makes all of it easier. I also use a color chart to match up color in the heat in the kiln to temperature. Over the years I have gotten pretty good at telling what cone matches what temp color, but always use the cone pack.  

 

Hope this helps,

 

best,

Pres

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Get the right eye protection (wielders glass) to look into a hot kiln-thats 1st

do not paint or use any colorants on cones as this will change them and their melt points.

I suggest a solid backstop which helps you see cones better-its easy to cut down a soft brick and use this.

Viewing cones takes practice and is hard at 1st-like throwing is hard at first.Take some time when loading to get the cones as Pres says above in spyplug.

Buy a cheap lazer lite(never used one but they can help)

Mark

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I use a pair of gas welding goggles, they are inexpensive and work well. I tried my tig welder helmet but it was to dark and cumbersome. 

I use only 1 cone pack around the middle shelf area, place in the middle or far side across from the peep hole so I can see the hole pack. The trick is to line it up so an element is behind to silhouette the pack. The hard part is to make a clear sight path without loosing kiln space . Sometimes I will have to place the pack on a short shelf support  or turn it slightly to narrow the sight line.

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If you can ream out the peephole and make it a bigger it is easier to see the cones. I used to paint a very thin stipe of black pigment on cones, I know you are not supposed to but it really pops out at ^6 and is easy to see in smaller kilns. For the amount of pigment I used I really don't think it fluxed the cone enough to matter. Yes, I think underglaze or a ceramic pencil would work.

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jolio, find out from Arnold at paragon kilns what kind of sitter works on that particular kiln. I have a spare, I think it is a model P but I am not home right now and cannot look. ask Arnold what it will take to add the sitter to your kiln, maybe you can use this.

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I too have had a lot of trouble seeing my cones at ^6.  They are placed close to my middle peephole.  I tried the dark tile behind them although that didn't make sense to me.  The tile glowed as red as the cones and which were lost against it.  I didn't find that the welders goggles helped at all.  The one thing that works for me is to have a clear space behind the cones right to the other side of the kiln.  Does make loading a problem though.  Does the laser light really work?

Lin

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When I had my little test paragon, man it was impossible to see in that little bitty spy hole. My L&L has a nice inch wide hole all the way, it isn't tapered. That makes it 1000x easier. If I had the little paragon again I would drill the hole an inch wide and put an L&L peep in there to make it easier, cause that thing was impossible.

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Thank you press I think of you every time I look into the kiln. I adore color , and orange is one of my favorites, so maybe I will be able to tell by color. But not until I have successfully gotten it to at least bisque a couple of times.

Thanks Mark - I will look for welder so ( actually just lent my glass books to a welder, hmm , maybe I can trade...)

Ronfire my kiln is 13" across, if I leave a clear pat I can perhaps bisque 3 mugs on each shelf,

Min I will try what you suggest, at least on the cones I can position to see. If it adds flux it will bend before its ready, so at most I risk underfiring it , not a molten mess I won't try reaming out the hole until I understand what is going on, I am not sure if I know how to not damage my kiln while I operate on it. It sounds like a good idea though, I am just too nervous until I get familiar .

Old lady, your offer is most generous , thank you! I will ask Howard . Really very nice of you!

As usual , thank you for playing with me, I am really ecstatic to finally be able to fire and hopefully glaze fire too! Without you I do not think this would be half as much fun!

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Hi , as stated. I am having trouble seeing the cones. I have both googled and searched on this forum, so I do have an idea of what to do, but I am still vey new to all this so please bare with me.

I did a couple of bisque loads in my VERY tiny(.04ft) glass annealer. That kiln has one peep hole and a small hole in the top. I could see the cones in that kiln fine (?).

I finally got the shelves for my big kiln, and I suspect that kiln has never been fired. So as per the literature, I slowly fired a bisque load to condition the elements.

So I finally get up to high ( my kiln is a paragon w/o kiln sitter or digital, just low,med and high supposedly goes to cone 8) , finally put both peep hole plugs in and I leave it for forty minutes . Up until this point I can see the cone on the top shelf, the bottom one I can only position it so I see the base, so the bottom shelf will only be useful on opening the kiln. When I go to look after half an hour, I can't see the cone at all. Now I have never fired this kiln before, so I think OH SH##! It fired to glaze temp really fast cuz I closed it up! ( I thought the cone had completely melted!) so I was praying all night while it cooled, oh please don't let me find a melted heap , I just got these shelves. Well imagine my surprise when I open it and the cones are perfectly straight!

So then I google etc. well my kiln is too small to put it 6-8" away . I won't blow into it, that sounds like a bad idea, plus not reliable. The laser sounds cool, but not everyone could see w the laser.

So as far as I could tell, that leaves either putting a dark tile behind or the welder so mask.

I don't have any money right this second , so I can't buy the good stuff . Is there a welder so mask that is cheap that would work? As for the tile, I would have to make it. It would need to be free standing , because I couldn't lean it on anything during glaze firing. So could make it a framed. Can I simply use black underglaze, will that contrast?

I forgot : can I simply paint a underglaze line on the cones ? Would that be visible?I don't have the cash for the ingredients for the ink mentioned in another post ( I would have to mail order or travel an hour to purchase).

And last but not least could I take a picture with my phone? Since I didn't know what was going on yesterday I couldn't try this, but I will next firing . Is there a trick to it.?

It is going to be like this every step of the way , isn't it? I guess I wouldn't have it any other way

Try using a Pelican Stealhlite 2400 flashlight cost about $ 24.69, you should be able to see cones with this bright light.

David

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I recommend green #3 safety glasses (after testing a handful of safety glasses of different shades). Green #3 is dark yet light enough to enable you to see the firing chamber.

 

During a recent test firing, I pointed a bright LED flashlight into a kiln at around 1800F. (Someone else lifted the lid for me.) That flashlight is so bright that the rest of the kiln was dim by comparison. I haven't yet pointed the flashlight into a peephole. (The test kiln in my office is very small and doesn't have a peephole).

 

To get a wide view through the tapered peephole, you have to move your head from side to side. If you need to place the cones close to the peephole, put a bent cone on the shelf and position it where you can see the tip. Use that as a guide in positioning a straight cone. If the straight cone is too low, the tip will disappear when the cone bends.

 

Sincerely,

 

Arnold Howard

Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA ahoward@paragonweb.com / www.paragonweb.com

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