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Help understanding stilts

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I am learning to use my new Skutt Kiln, firing glaze to 5-6.   From 'found' pieces of kiln furniture I have a variety of kiln stilts (the kind with the little metal prongs sticking out?).  I just fired my first glaze firing, and I had a flat bowl that had NO drip edge margin, so i place a couple of  the old 'bar stilt' pieces under it, thinking that they would protect the kiln shelf if the glaze got too runny.  

When I unloaded the kiln, my little bowl had two new little skids.... the stilts had fused to the bottom.

SOOOO... while I'd never thought about it (it didn't occur to me that kiln furniture wouldn't fire to a mid-fire range (5-6).  My take away is that all of my 'found' stilty peices are not going to be helpful... and makes me have two questions:

1.  What DO I use for stilts?  I did a little research and it appears that Roselli (now Creative Industries) stilts can be used upto Cone 10... is that right?  Is it the metal that is the problem?  How do you know?

2.  I have those blocks that I use to separate the kiln shelves (one shelf, a set of block stilts, another shelf, etcetra).  Are THOSE a problem?  Will I find the the shelf collapsed in the middle of a firing? 

Help :)


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Not sure about your description .

Cone 6 is not a temp that you glaze the bottoms of wares and use stilts to keep the pots off the shelve-thats a cone 08 thing.

At cone 6 use do not glaze the bottoms and hold the glaze off the bottoms.

Make a drip catcher on your feet and glaze to that -leave the bottoms bare and put them on a washed shelve.

Stilts  or posts are the things that you use to separate kiln shelves they are square or triangular about 1.5 to 2 inches square or triangular-sometines they are only 1 inch wide in low fire applications .These should be stacked inline with the shelves on top of each one going up.

The 3 point stilt which is made from ceramic material will hold up to cone 10 but the pots may not since they only have a 3 point stand. These tips break off and leave a rough edge and break easy.They are like the wire ones only pointy ceramic tips

Edited by Mark C.

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did you buy a used kiln and got the stilts from that sale?   it is common for people who do not know anything about ceramics or kilns to sell their inherited kilns, molds for earthenware,  etc, everything that the original owner had just to get them out of the house.   if a person unfamiliar with ceramics buys this group of items, the result is confusion.

if you intend to fire earthenware at a low temperature, anything that begins with a zero cone temperature, you would glaze the entire piece, bottom and all and place it on stilts to protect the kiln floor or shelf.  if you are doing this, the stilts have value to you.  otherwise, throw them out or give them to a low fire potter.

if you are firing to temperatures cone 5-6 that you mentioned, do not put glaze on the bottom of anything.  that is where wax is used to provide a barrier between glaze on the pot and the shelf.   

in addition, there are things called posts.   you stack shelves on top of posts to allow room for more layers of pottery to be fired in the same kiln load.  posts are supports that will hold up your shelves.  they come in many sizes from half an inch to much taller, i think i even have a 12 inch set of posts.  

you might benefit from looking into the glossary that has been added to this forum.  look for it and try to understand exactly what you are doing.  i do not understand what a "drip edge margin" is.  the only drip edge i know is to keep rain from backing up under shingles on the roof.

ONE MORE VERY IMPORTANT THING!  if you are brand new to all this, you might think that your pots can be placed directly on the bricks of the bottom of the kiln.  yes, you can do that but many people find that putting  3 short posts on the brick bottom to support the first  full size shelf that work goes on, will save the bottom (VERY EXPENSIVE) from damage in case a glaze runs off the pot.  

hope you have fun with your new kiln.

Edited by oldlady

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+1 to everything already said, but ....

I too was told I shouldn't glaze the bottom, and therefore wouldn't need stilts, but sometimes the only way we learn is to do it ourselves and see what happens. 

If you do stilt when firing at cone 6 and hotter, the clay could collapse around the stilts, then you can't remove them.  Guess how I know?  

If you don't want to have a "drip-catcher" or incised line around the bottom of a pot, and want the glaze to appear as if it goes all the way around and under the pot, you can make a cookie to sit the pot on.  The cookie needs to be smaller by about 5mm all round, and then you can glaze under the pot for 2-3mm if you know your glaze doesn't run.

With runny glazes, if I really want the bottoms to look glazed, I make double cookies, the top one smaller than the pot, the bottom one much larger, so if the glaze does run, it doesn't ruin the shelf.

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