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Rex Johnson

Advancer Kiln Shelves

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I own over 50 of them and use them every week..I would never go back to any other shelve.

I also has a friend who used them in his electric kiln as well..

If you fire a lot they pay for themselves over a short time as they take up so little space-meaning you get more work into ever fire.

If you use porcelain you will need a light wash.We can talk later on this.

If its stoneware no wash.

This are super light a 12x24 is only 9#s vs a English dry alumina similar shelve is 33#S and a mullite shelve is 28#s

They are 5/16 inch thick and never warp and never absorb glaze .

The downsides are few but there are two -they do not take uneven thermo shock-so no fast cooling -like pulling a damper and letting cool air hit part of shelve.

They cannot get wet as they will explode if fire wet and fast. They need to be kept dry.

Mine paid for them shelves in less than a year-as far as the back pain -they are a joy to use.

You need to keep them off cement as cement contains moisture. I store mine on wood leaning against kilns

I'll Pm you some details

Mark

 

Edited by Mark C.

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3 hours ago, Mark C. said:

If you use porcelain you will need a light wash.We can talk later on this.

Hi...well, it is later. Say a bit more about why the wash is needed on these shelves for firing porcelain. Thanks. 

 

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Their price tag says I get to use them when I go use other people's kilns, namely when I take the odd trip to the soda kiln at Medalta. They are a fraction of the weight, and sooooo much nicer on your shoulders and back! It's a delight. They seem to clean up pretty easily if you're using that carbide scraping brick thing. (That's the technical term for it, I'm sure.)

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My thoughts are if you are making living or a part of a living these shelves make sense.No matter what kind of kiln you fire-electric or gas.

In my car kiln that averages 33-35 shelves per load I get an extra two feet of space almost compared to my former 1 inch thick dry pressed english shelves.Back when I bought mine in the 90s I was firing 35 glaze fires a year at two feet of extra work per load-you can see why they quickly paid for themselves-I get a lot more work in a kiln these days with these shelves.

One shelve is 5/16 compared to 1/2 inch or 3/4 or 1 inch shelves. You save so much space and they are so light and easy to handle.I know some potters whom fire 6 times a year and they said they paid for them in two years of space savings-that was a 30 cubic foot kiln. They can conduct electricity but they would need to touch the elements to do that.

If you are a hobbist I would not pay the price unless you have back issues and can afford them.

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When I eventually scale up to a bigger kiln these are going to be purchased because of the space saving like you said. In my little kiln they would give me about 5 inches that I don't currently have, so I can't imagine how much space they give in a big ole kiln. 

What do you do when glaze sticks to them? I assume you can't use an angle grinder on them.

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Glaze pops right off no grinding needed.The shelve surface is so smooth and hard nothing penetrates it.

One last note these shelves can be cut  down but only with a wet Dimond saw-they will dull a blade as they are very hard.

Edited by Mark C.

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I like both the light weight of those shelves & the ease of cleaning - plus I love that carbide brick scraping thing! You can really tell the difference in weight when you handle a lot of them.

Callie- good thing we're not there today, eh? -17C brrrrrrrr..... mind you the kilns kept us warm. Hey did you see? They fixed that burner.

Edited by terrim8

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I bought a set of them for one of my DD40 kilns.  I also have a set of hollow kiln shelves that I no longer like.  I still have about 1.5 sets of old school shelves that are kept on a shelf and never used.

I would have a second set of Advancer shelves, but I'm a little unsure of some health issues that are coming up.

Most weeks I fire both of my DD40 kilns to cone 7.  In the winter I make a lot of terracotta garden pots and do around 3 firings a week.

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42 minutes ago, terrim8 said:

I like both the light weight of those shelves & the ease of cleaning - plus I love that carbide brick scraping thing! You can really tell the difference in weight when you handle a lot of them.

Callie- good thing we're not there today, eh? -17C brrrrrrrr..... mind you the kilns kept us warm. Hey did you see? They fixed that burner.

I was reading the kiln logs for that beast: that same thermocouple I replaced had only about 4 firings on it.  That burner was shot. 

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Bailey sells Thermal-Lite shelves which are made in Germany (Advancers from St-Gobain, I can't recall the name of the company that makes Thermal-lites).  These shelves are virtually identical to Advancers in materials, thickness, weight and maybe a few bucks cheaper, though still expensive.   

Just another option if you are considering purchasing Advancers.

Edited by S. Dean

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I posted the results of my testing the thermolites from Germany  I bought and tested  which are sold thru Bailey last fall/summer. They are cheaper a little 12x 24 $190 and Bailey has had a 10% sale last xmas on shelves. Smith Sharp also give s a discount or did back in the day when I bought mine if you bought 5-or 10 I cannot recall. The Advancers come in just about ant size the Thermolites are limited in size choices.I bought most of mine in the 90's maybe 15  or 20 in the 2000,s

They where $110 when I bought my 1st 10 of them. I have also bought them used at $110 about 7 years ago via the CM for sale items in back of Magazine. They where in NH and had to be shipped.I recall buying 12-15 of them then.I sue them in two kilns.

My review on the German shelves was  this-they are as good as the advancers-they have a hard slick surface that glaze does not adhere to. Weigh the same and resit glaze the same.

There now is a cheaper shelve that smith sharp (https://kilnshelf.com) sells that is a bit more course on surface and glaze may get into it? That is the main question that I have not yet had an answer on. They to are made by the same company that makes advancers-they are 165$ for a 12x24 and are called cryston-I have not test them yet.They are the same thicknesss and do not warp they say as advancers. 

 

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2 hours ago, firebob said:

I bought a set of them for one of my DD40 kilns.  I also have a set of hollow kiln shelves that I no longer like.  I still have about 1.5 sets of old school shelves that are kept on a shelf and never used.

I would have a second set of Advancer shelves, but I'm a little unsure of some health issues that are coming up.

Most weeks I fire both of my DD40 kilns to cone 7.  In the winter I make a lot of terracotta garden pots and do around 3 firings a week.

Welcome to the forum fireBob

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I have been looking into shelf options for my electric kiln.  I have had lots of warping on my 26" half round standard 1" thick shelves fired to cone 6.  I have added a few corelite shelves and these seem much less prone to warping, but are still fairly thick.  The ~$225 price per half shelf for advancers (from kilnshelf.com) is not a viable option.  Axner sells a 26" half round "nitrile-bonded" shelf that seems very much like Advancers.  They are 1/2" think.  But the Axner price in only around $80/shelf.   Can anyone tell me the difference between the Axner shelves and Advancers.  I called kilnshelf.com but the technical person cannot call me back until at least Monday.

thanks,

Jeff

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All my experience is in cone 10 and 11

These look like the ones made in china-I have used 4 of the 12x24 size of these.They are not advancers in quality. They are made with less stringent controls . Meaning they vary in thickness and the surface is not near as hard and glaze resistant as an advancer. They are better than any mullite shelve in my opinion .Any crystalized bonded Nitrate shelve falls into this category.  My Chinese shelves warped over time at cone 10 firing.They also cracked over time. For electric use at cone 6. I think they would work fine for a long time.Just not near as long as those other costly ones.

Have you looked at the thermolites sold by Bailey  as they are cheaper and exactly like advancers.looks like they are 192$ for that 26 1/2 round

I noticed that they do not mention the country they are made in? at Axner You should call Axner or Laguna (same owners) and ask about them .

The thing is the Chinese ones will warp and crack over time whereas the other ones will never do that.I consider the Chinese ones as a far lesser shelve. You may get a long life from them at cone 6-I have no experience at that lower temp.The other thing is they still are 1/2 think vs the 5/16 of all others

Consider them a grade  B shelve were as all mullits (corilites) are grade C and Ds. Let us know how they work at cone 6

One last note when these Chinese shelves came out I tried the 1st batch which had small cuts in the corners to keep them from cracking-which they did over time-the next batch dis not have these cuts and I tried two of them and they laster longer but did warp and crack over time. They are getting better over time.

Advancers and Thermolites will work for your whole life without any issues unless you drop them or fire them wet .The Chinese ones will last not as long. 

Let us know how they hold up.

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2 hours ago, fergusonjeff said:

I have been looking into shelf options for my electric kiln.  I have had lots of warping on my 26" half round standard 1" thick shelves fired to cone 6.  I have added a few corelite shelves and these seem much less prone to warping, but are still fairly thick.  The ~$225 price per half shelf for advancers (from kilnshelf.com) is not a viable option.  Axner sells a 26" half round "nitrile-bonded" shelf that seems very much like Advancers.  They are 1/2" think.  But the Axner price in only around $80/shelf.   Can anyone tell me the difference between the Axner shelves and Advancers.  I called kilnshelf.com but the technical person cannot call me back until at least Monday.

thanks,

Jeff

Those are not good. I've tried them, too, at cone 10, and they all warped quite a bit. They were no better than standard silicon carbide, just a little thinner. Even when I switched to cone 6 they continued to warp.

I use Corelite shelves. They're super strong and never warp, although they are thick. They cost about the same a typical cordierite shelves, but are much better. My 14x28 are 1" thick, so yes, with 4 in a stack in  the electric kiln I'm losing 3 inches over Advancers. With Advancer I could easily get an extra $400 worth of plates/platters in each load since it's a large kiln (22 cu.ft.). So yes, they'd pay for themselves pretty quickly. However, I don't have an extra $4000 sitting around to buy them. Maybe some day.

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Thanks for the reply Neil-thats just whats was needed cone 6 real world info.

Sorry to hear that they also failed over time at cone 6  just as they did for me at cone 10.

 

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The warping is my biggest issue as I have car kilns.  I know maintenance on the cars and track is key, but when you get a self wrap during a firing there is not a lot you can do.  I have not had any issues with the Advancer shelves.

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Yes thanks for the info on warping at cone 6.  I am about half way through replacing the standard 1” shelves with corelites and not getting any warping yet.   I guess I will just go the rest of the way with corelites.   

I am not too concerned about the space saving.   I can buy about 4 or 5 corelites for the price of one advancer.  

Buying shelves is about as fun as buying car tires.   Nothing new or interesting, just back to about where you started.  It was certainly a shock buying a full set of silicon carbide shelves for the wood kiln.   I really hope they hold up.  

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My 20" square Corelites all warped. Not badly but they definitely are warped. Used them roughly 4 years before the warping showed up, pretty heavy usage, firing to ^6=7 electric.

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If money is tight ,the way to get into better shelves is buy a few at a time and over a few years you will have lifetime shelves.

Its really investing into your business-If you are a hobbist no need to get them as I noted in above post as saving space and firing a few fires does not make sense.

 

I have piles of shelves from my past staring in 1971-each is a huge pile-over the years I have given many  shelves away.

The 1st pile is silicon carbide-mostly 3/4 inch-I have an 83 year old potter  friend who uses these and I gave her my best ones already but still have a ton of them.

the second pile is mullite-1 inch mostly with some thinner mixed in as I use to use the 12x24 x1/2"for bisquing in car kiln as they took less space

the next pile is 1inch English dry pressed high alumina-These used to be the best shelve at cone 11-very stable and took years to see them warp-My pile is huge maybe 50

I now use those in my salt kiln

Since I switched to advancers no more need to get any shelves-You are done unless you have a disaster of some sort.Always a constant in ceramics .

 

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