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temp for opening kiln?

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#21 Karen B

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 08:04 PM

OK this may sound sillly but I would like to know at what temperature do most folks open their kiln??? My L&L says to wait until it is 250 F or below to open. So of course I open as soon as it hits 250 because one more second of waiting is just too much. But I get the feeling others wait for a much lower temp. So what is the consensus?

I did what most here do, pushing a bit at 300, taking plugs out etc... Then one day at about 250 degrees, I got to the shelf with the porcelain mugs, (the rest of the pieces were stoneware) and they had all shattered from thermal shock. Since then, I leave it until it is room temp.

#22 clay lover

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 04:28 PM

There are soooo many things that can go wronge when I do my best. that I'm not going to temp fate by trying something I KNOW can cause trouble. I never hurry the cooling , no plug shuffle, no propped lid, untill it's 200*, then, If I have a pressing reason to get something out, or packed to go to gallery, I will pull out top peep, then prop lid 1 " at 150. Don't every open lid untill under 100* Lots of times I do nothing at all with lid and peeps till under 100*

It's not worth it. have seen the results too many times.

#23 weeble


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Posted 17 November 2012 - 04:42 AM

I'll often peek at the top shelf, but usually leave stuff until its cool enough to handle with bare hands. Sometimes I break down and grab the pot holders though, but I really do try to leave stuff in until its cooled to 150deg or so. I don't mess with the plugs but I figure the envirovent will do just as well as anything for venting :)
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#24 Diana Ferreira

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 12:20 PM

I high fire an earthenware clay (slipcasted). I open my top bung at 428F(220C), Front bung open at 392F (200C) and open door at 356F (180C). If I need to inspect a new piece, and I can get to it, I will remove it then.
My friend works with porcelain. she opens her top bung at 572F (300C)
No issues. Food safe , etc. Oh, and my friend can fire her kiln every 24 hours, should she want ... Quick ramp-up and down.

#25 Lucille Oka

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 03:09 PM

After my first disaster opening my kiln too soon many many years ago I learned to have a lot of patience. I fire with the top peep open but when the top temperature is reached and the firing is complete I insert the top peep so no bursts of cool air enters the kiln from doors opening and closing.

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#26 Joy pots

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 03:31 PM

Hi, I keep the kiln completely closed for the same time the firing took then I prop the lid. Usually wait again the same time of firing before unloading, but gradually pull the plugs out. Totally manual kiln with cones & a timer.

Happy firing

#27 Center Hill Clayworks

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:33 PM

Oh I love the phrase plug shuffle! What a variety of answers to this question...wonder what that proves, besides the obvious one that the impatience quotient varies among potters. Do those of you who open early get more crazing than if you'd waited?? Of course crazing is pretty, but isn't it bad on the inside of pots that will hold food?

I'm a new potter, 72 years young and after taking classes I've now had my own cellar studio for one year. I LOVE making pots! Electric kiln in the garage, and I agonize every time about this kind of question. How about the other end of the firing cycle—is it okay to close the lid and bung holes at the beginning and set it for a fast glaze firing?
And how about the bisque firing. If I'm sure the greenware is fully dry is it okay to do a fast firing, with everything closed??

Ginny Clark (Fort Wayne IN)

Hi Ginny,

I have an L & L with a computer. I always do a slow bisque and a slow glaze, I leave the top plug out and I do a 5 minute hold on the glaze. So far this works great.

I also make sure my greenware is real dry, I can tell by the weight when I pick it up. If I get in a hurry or I think its good and dry by its not, I have had some blow ups - not pretty!!
Center Hill Clayworks

#28 Mudlark


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Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:18 PM

i am also sometimes one of the impatient potters. i opened the kiln the other night at 11:30 pm so i would be able to sleep. it was at 220 degrees and i have gloves. the problem is that there is no room around the shelves to lift them off safely so i have to be careful to look only at the top shelf and guage the look of the rest of the load from what i put on the top shelf. didn't sleep well since i was able to see right away that all the pots i had done in one of the glazes was too thinly applied. (damn sprayer!, never me)

some of you have mentioned "dunting" without realizing that it is a condition caused by poor glaze fit, not firing. dunting can happen weeks after a firing and will startle you with the loud PING!!! i had this problem until i changed the clay body, the glaze recipe and the kiln. dunting is not a good thing. somewhere there is a crack in the pot even if you can't see it. a well made stoneware bowl will ring like a bell if tapped. if it goes clunk, it has a crack.

#29 Mudlark


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Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:32 PM

Dunting is a firing/cooling fault and occurs at the cristobalite inversion temp of 226 deg C and at the siica inversion temp of 573 deg C, Dunting is not a glaze fault.It occurs in unglazed ware during both bisque and higher firings.It is one of the major problems to be considered when formulating flame proof bodies.

#30 AndyL


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Posted 03 February 2013 - 11:57 AM

I open my L&L at about 140ºF I have an E23T if that's important to your decision.

#31 Edith Marie

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 12:18 PM

Because I work at another job during the daytime, I will look in at the top shelf, be amazed, then close the lid with all peeps still in and wait a day, so everything inside is compeltely cooled down. It is hard to wait but just like Christmas or Birthdays the wait is so worth it.....

#32 clayshapes


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Posted 03 February 2013 - 06:09 PM

I'm part of the "can't wait for Christmas" crowd here. I tell myself I won't open the kiln until it's at 200 -- but I ALWAYS open it sooner. I crack the lid and peek in -- sometimes at 400(!!!!). Then I close it, scold myself and issue a stern warning to be patient...go have a coffee...and then come right back down and peek again. It's quite common for me to unload the top shelf at about 300 (wearing oven mitts, of course). I can sometimes summon the patience to not go further than that -- but not often.
I have been doing this for 2 years. I have NEVER had anything crack or break. I'm like the others who wonder -- If I can take something out of a 450 degree oven, why can't I take it out of the kiln?
I'm sure there is a logical answer to that question, and a finger wagger will be along shortly to explain!
Not that I recommend this. One of these days I'll learn my lesson -likely on a pot I can't recreate. Then I'll start meditating or something... or give up pottery all together...

#33 bciskepottery


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Posted 03 February 2013 - 06:59 PM

The temperature read from the thermocouplar is heat in the atmosphere of the kiln; the actual wares and kiln shelves may be of a higher temperature as they will cool slower than the air inside the kiln. Just something to keep in mind, not wagging fingers. You seem to have a clay with good thermo-characteristics; on the other hand, I lost most of my work in a salt firing when the wares were removed too soon (the others in the group wanted to open early; I was the lone vote for the next day), with dunting starting as soon as the wares hit the cooler outside air. Obviously, not a good clay body for that situation. None of their work dunted.

#34 voceramics


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Posted 05 February 2013 - 05:09 AM

After a couple of incidences with crazing and breakage with large flat pieces, we wait till the pieces are cool enough to hold in the hand to unload. Maybe a quick peek with the envirovent turned off below 300 F, otherwise we wait till below 200 F before turning off the envirovent and pulling a peep.
Vo Studio Ceramics

#35 Diane Puckett

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 09:01 AM

I recently read (in Fraser, I think) that the issue is not so much temperature change as temperature differential on the two sides of the pot. If the pottery in your kiln is still hot, opening the kiln rapidly cools part, but not all, of the pot. Any weakness in the pot, even throwing lines, can crack. I once had a large bowl dunt, and it did so right along the throwing line.
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#36 neilestrick


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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:39 AM

I open the lid all the way at 250F. Never have problems.

Neil Estrick
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Owner, Neil Estrick Gallery, LLC


#37 Bette


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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:43 AM

On occasions when I've had the dreaded pinging and crazing - not often, and not recently - I don't know whether it had anything to do with temperature shock. I now regularly bisque fire slowly and I have learned more about which of my clays/glazes fit together without crazing, and I suspect that has led to better outcomes rather than temp. Still, I now also wait to unload til max 150F to be safe.

If concerned about crazing and cracking, the hugely variable experience reported here is a great reminder that more variables are at work than just the unloading temperature!

As for unloading temperature as a cause of bad outcomes, it would be great to know the science, at what cooling temp point does your specific clay or your glaze no longer contract. I am new at this; maybe others have this knowledge? Personally, in the absence of knowledge, I test and expect to slowly learn the hard way. :/

#38 kdavitt



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Posted 05 February 2013 - 03:08 PM

OK this may sound sillly but I would like to know at what temperature do most folks open their kiln??? My L&L says to wait until it is 250 F or below to open. So of course I open as soon as it hits 250 because one more second of waiting is just too much. But I get the feeling others wait for a much lower temp. So what is the consensus?

I remove plugs at around between 500 - 600. I take repeated peeks in the mid 400 deg. F range in electric kilns firing to cone 6 with stoneware. I crack the lid and keep it cracked around 300, open it all the way in the mid 200's and start taking ware out shortly after. I've had no problems.

#39 Mart


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Posted 15 March 2013 - 08:34 AM

LOL Posted Image I am sitting here right now and witing it to drop below 100C 200C (200F) so I can crack the lid open and let it cool faster. I like to get the stuff out, glaze it and go home.

10 degrees C to go Posted Image

#40 Rebekah Krieger

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 09:44 AM

My kiln shuts itself off usually late afternoon early evening (4-6:00pm) and I don't open it until the morning. I have noticed that my bisque firings are warm to touch in the morning and my glazed firings are usually cool to touch even though I expected them to be hotter since they get up to a higher temperature. I am assuming it's due to the glaze being less absorbent of the temperature.
I dont have a temperature on my kiln and I rely completely on the cones. So I have to wait until the next morning because I don't want to take a chance.

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