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Kiln lid not flush...

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I have a Skutt KM 1027 - 3 (only 9 firings so far) and it has a latch on the side that supports the lid at 3 levels for venting. They advise you to you this and to use the lowest level to close the kiln. However, I noticed that it isn't 100% flush when I latch the lid. I can't see fire through it, and I couldn't even measure the opening it's so small, but it's not flush. I thought perhaps this was intentional for oxygen flow, but now I'm thinking I just drop the lid and say to hell with this latch when glaze firing. thoughts? My pieces that were at the top were definitely under-fired... could this space be to blame? I now know to use a set of cones on each shelf to know for sure how hot my kiln is getting at each level. I only have a thermocouple in the middle.

thanks for any and all advice!

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Those 3 position latches are worthless, IMO. I've never seen one that actually holds the lid closed all the way. That said, it may not be the cause of the problem. With single zone kilns (1 thermocouple), you have to be very careful about how you load the kiln. Pack looser in the bottom and top, tighter in the middle, and don't put a really short shelf at the very top.

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That gap under the lid at room temperature may be intentional. The small gap under the lid when it is latched at the lowest position may close as the kiln gets hot. I suggest that you check to see if this happens. The gap might actually increase if you don't use the 3-position latch.

Paragon top-loading kilns that are equipped with lid springs have a gap at the back of the lid. When the kiln is cold, the gap is about 3/32" and closes as the kiln gets hot.

I agree with Neil that you can alter the bending of the witness cones by the way you load the kiln. The greater the thermal mass, the more energy needed to fire it. Cooler areas of the kiln should be loaded with less thermal mass. This is why witness cones on each shelf are still a wonderful investment even in this digital age. You can check the heat distribution at a glance with cones. If you keep a firing notebook, include a sketch of the witness cones and a description of the ware loaded on each shelf. If your notes are in a digital format, include a photo showing the labeled witness cones.



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



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