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I have clay that has been through the initial firing and now has glaze applied. It needs to be fired a second time. I researched glaze and clay type/brand and found that the clay and glaze require cone 6. How do I know how long to fire the clay for? How many hours do I leave the kiln on? Obviously I have never done this before but need to get the clay fired within the next two weeks. I had initially hired and paid a company to do it for the school but they refunded the money and said they are no longer helping with groups. I found a kiln but the owner has never used it and I have never used a kiln so now that I know the cone, I need to know the time. I made sure there is no glaze on the bottom of the clay so that it wont stick to the kiln. Any tips are appreciated!

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art teacher, you are facing a very steep learning curve.   for any help here could you please identify the kiln brand and show a photo of it?   does it have a box on the side that says  kiln sitter or does it have a large box on the side with a keypad of numbers?   

a kiln is not an oven, you do not fire it like baking a cake.    kilns fire to a cone number with a combination of time and heat.  

please find the name of your particular kiln and model number.  it is somewhere on the electrical label attached to the kiln.   look everywhere for it, that is critical info you need.

 

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Welcome to the forums. Oldlady has given you the initial info you need locate.  All I can add is a note that when you are ready,  allow a couple to a few days for the process. You will be loading the kiln, possibly preheating it, firing it, cooling it all the way down, and then unloading it. Don't plan on leaving it unattended when it is firing. 

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A little personal information on your location might help.   You might even live near a potter on this forum  or you could be in England.  You don't even know if this kiln works,  having someone who knows how to fire a kiln would be a big help.     Denice

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On 5/14/2019 at 11:25 PM, Denice said:

A little personal information on your location might help. 

I agree.  Knowing a location, or even a general area, invites nearby people who could possibly help directly speak up. 

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Once you have the kiln identified,  it's just a matter of using the right firing schedule.   There is not *set* time that you fire it.  If it's a manual kiln, with a kiln sitter, it will shut off, when the cone melts and trips the shut off.  If it is a computer controlled kiln, it will shut off, when the  pyrometers tell the controller, that the set temperature was reached.  In either case, how long that takes, depend on many factors, like how full the kiln is, how old the elements are, etc.  For a Cone 6 glaze firing, it can take anywhere from 7 to 12 hours, depending on the factors I listed. 

You said you did look at what Cone your clay and glaze are.  I would definitely double check that, as a low fire clay and glaze, fired to Cone 6, would be pretty disastrous.  Along with that, make sure you put kiln wash on your shelves and the bottom of the kiln, if that isn't done already.    Since this is your first time firing, that will help if there are any unexpected drips, on the projects.  You mentioned  not glazing the bottoms.  I would go further and leave 1/8th to 1/4 inch, unglazed.  This gives a nice buffer, from running glazes.

Best of luck!

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ya know youtube is just full of videos on pottery and kilns. Just binge on it until you get it enough to fire a load and maybe go to Amazon and get a couple of books on the basics.

there is also a sub for pottery on reddit.com and several facebook group as wel.

Good luck, have fun.

 

Edited by Stephen

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If it is a Skutt kiln, they have great tutorials on their website.  You also have to have the correct wiring for your kiln. Hopefully you checked with your school maintanence people before getting the kiln.  If not, the voltage amp info should be listed on the outside of the kiln.  Are there other art teachers in the area that might  be able to help you? good luck

 

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