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new to kilns...and i need advice on firing

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Hello all!

ok so, I have an older Skutt kiln (that I bought used) that has no temperature setting on it other than low, medium and high. I have fired with it to cone 06 3 hours low, 3 hours medium, and then about 1.5 hours high and i get great results. however, I would like to fire some stoneware glazes on 04 bisque. I need to fire to cone 6, and i DO NOT HAVE A KILN SITTER. i have to use witness cones. plus, I have heard...r read somewhere that i need to use peep hole plugs when firing to cone 6?


can anyone please help me? and i need lay terms as I have no idea what is what lol.


thanks in advance :)

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Hi Angel!

My Skutt is over thirty years in service - bought it from the original owner last April; I've fired bisque in in twice, glaze fire once - still on the steep part of the learning curve, eh?

Low, medium, high only set how much current is flowing.

Any road, although firing with only cones as guides is no doubt possible*, I added a pyrometer to my first "big" order of stuff (Aardvark has a decent price on the unit depicted); hence, I can track the progression and slow down through important temperature ranges (see glazenerd's suggested schedules for bisque and glaze firings - shout if'n you can' find'm).

I wouldn't depend on a sitter; too much can go wrong.

If you are watching cones, protect your eyes, welding glasses are req. You'll also need to actually see the cones - they can be hard to see amongst the glaring red/orange...


*some get consistent results by watching the colours transition from red to orange, to yellow. I'm watching that pyrometer (which reads a bit low, still dialing that in...).



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What is the make and model of your kiln? What is the peak temperature rating? You can find that info on the serial plate on the control box.

You can fire faster than that. As long as everything is dry or you're doing a glaze firing, go one hour on low, one hour on medium, then high. if you're doing a bisque, it wouldn't hurt to let it candle for a few hours with just the bottom switch on low before turning everything else on. For all firings, you should have all your peep hole plugs in except the top one. If you're using a downdraft vent, then all plugs should be in for the entire firing.

Getting a digital pyrometer is a great idea, so you can see the progress of the firing. You'll still want to use large cones on the shelf to know when to shut it off, though. Self supporting cones work great, or you can use regular large cones and put them in a wad of clay to hold them up. Use safety glasses when looking at cones.

Your other option is to invest in a wall mounted digital controller, however that will run you $500-$800.

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