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I don't think my kiln is firing to Cone 6


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#1 nancylee

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 05:13 PM

Hi,
I have an old Skutt kiln - I went to the ceramics store and bought those stand-alone cones at Cone 5, and took the extra ring out of my old kiln as the ceramic shop owner told me to do. I have a lot of flat things in the kiln, a Cone 6 cone in the sitter, a stand-alone cone 5 cone on top and bottom shelves. I started at 7AM, 1/2 hour on low, 2 hours on medium, since 9:30AM on high, it is now 6:10PM, almost 9 hours on high.

I couldn't see in the peephole (OK, how does anyone do that) so I opened the top quickly and the cone 5 cone isn't bent even a little!! So...does it sound like my elements are shot? I can bisque, no problem, but I don't think it is getting to cone 5. Do I just give it more time?? If I can't see in the peephole, how can I tell if the cone 5 cone bent without opening the top. Help!! Please!!
Nancy
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#2 Pres

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 09:31 PM

Hi,
I have an old Skutt kiln - I went to the ceramics store and bought those stand-alone cones at Cone 5, and took the extra ring out of my old kiln as the ceramic shop owner told me to do. I have a lot of flat things in the kiln, a Cone 6 cone in the sitter, a stand-alone cone 5 cone on top and bottom shelves. I started at 7AM, 1/2 hour on low, 2 hours on medium, since 9:30AM on high, it is now 6:10PM, almost 9 hours on high.

I couldn't see in the peephole (OK, how does anyone do that) so I opened the top quickly and the cone 5 cone isn't bent even a little!! So...does it sound like my elements are shot? I can bisque, no problem, but I don't think it is getting to cone 5. Do I just give it more time?? If I can't see in the peephole, how can I tell if the cone 5 cone bent without opening the top. Help!! Please!!
Nancy


First off, never raise a lid of a firing kiln-at the temp you are at probably above 2000F. breathing in the super heated air can damage your throat and lungs. Also Hot air is a conductor of electricity. Bad idea. When placing the cones in the loading process make certain that you can see the cone through the peep hole-they are small so get the cone as close as possible on a shelf level where you can see the bend-up close and personal! Now just shut off the kiln, and check it when cool. I would imagine you have an element or two out if you have not reached ^6. You may check this by a simple paper test-turn on each element one at a time and touch the element with piece of newspaper, if it scorches the element is firing, if no scorch it is broken. Check each element. Those that do not scorch will need to be replaced. If you are uncertain of this it would be best to have an electrician look at it and replace the elements. I am handy, so I do my own all the time. Good luck--Oh yeah you pots will be fine and will be able to be fired when the kiln is repaired.

Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#3 Kabe

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 09:37 PM

First of all I am no kiln expert but there are people on this site who are. I bought an old skutt kiln and it didn't reach temp right. took forever. all the elements light up( glowed red) and it seems like when I went through the wiring diagram some way or other there was a wire crossed and instead of the kiln running on 220 it was operating at a 110 level. I had a book that showed how to correct it and the kiln worked fine after that. It has been long enough back that I can't recall if the fault was in the kiln or in how I ran the wiring for it. I don't have Alzheimer but I seem to half timers. If you do not know how to work with elc. I would find someone who know how to do it. ( I should follow my own advise) I am sure there will be friends on here that will be of much more help. There is sort of a trouble shooting procees that you go through to eliminate different problems I'm sure somene can help you with it.
If your kiln is hot enough you will have a red glow in it and you can see the cones. of course you have to line them up with the peep site and you should be able to see if they are in line before you start your kilm. Looking into a cone 6 kiln does not seem like a safe a thing to do. Unless you are one of the three hebrew children from the old testament Good luck Kabe

#4 Mark C.

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 12:21 AM

The only way I know if its going to cone 6 is putting a cone 6 in view of the peep hole and letting it fly with all switches on full.If the kiln is full of 2 inch stilts and 500 tiles its going to take a long time to heat this mass.
You need to stack the kiln shelves so you can see the cone at the same level as the spyplug (peephole)-this is a key thing that need to be done.Check this out before loading kiln past this level when loading.
The other spot check is when kiln is empty open lid fully and turn switch's on full-all elements should glow.
As far as it being wired to 220 you need to make sure that also is the case.
I assume you have no pyrometer hooked up to this kiln??-If you did you could also see the heat rise-
When you say stand alone  cone you mean full size ones right??
Keep the lid closed past red heat no matter what you may want to do.
Others with more electric knowledge will help you as well here.
Mark
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#5 nancylee

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 07:07 AM

Hi all,
Thanks for all of the advice and knowledge! I knew it wasn't a good idea to open the lid, but I didn't know about the hot air and electricity!! Yikes!!!
I did line up the full-sized cones with the peepholes, but still couldn't see them. I could not make them out. Tricks???

Finally, around 9:30PM, after the kiln fired for 12 hours on high, I turned it off. When I opened it this morning, all of the glazes had fired to how they look when my teacher does them, except that neither of the cone 5 cones had bent over. So it appears the kiln is getting hot, hot enough to fire the glazes properly, which are cone 5 glazes, but not hot enough to bend the cones over. Is this even possible???

Thank you again for your generously given advice,
Nancy
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www.northernwoodsstudio.blogspot.com

#6 SShirley

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 07:27 AM

Also, when you look through the peephole you need to protect your eyes. I have a rectangle of tinted glass from a welders mask to hold up and look through. You can buy just the glass at a welding supply store.

#7 Mark C.

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:09 AM

[quote name='nancylee' date='29 March 2012 - 07:07 AM' timestamp='1333022846' post='15325']<br>Hi all,<br>Thanks for all of the advice and knowledge! I knew it wasn't a good idea to open the lid, but I didn't know about the hot air and electricity!! Yikes!!! <br>I did line up the full-sized cones with the peepholes, but still couldn't see them. I could not make them out. Tricks???

Check to see the cones when loading-use a led flashlight when firing or blow in the hole-do not put cone so close to hole you cannot see top of it.

Finally, around 9:30PM, after the kiln fired for 12 hours on high, I turned it off. When I opened it this morning, all of the glazes had fired to how they look when my teacher does them, except that neither of the cone 5 cones had bent over. So it appears the kiln is getting hot, hot enough to fire the glazes properly, which are cone 5 glazes, but not hot enough to bend the cones over. Is this even possible???

As you turned off kiln early I doubt you got to whatever cone is in setter.
You soaked the load long enough for the heat work to melt the glazes hence it looks ok. But you did not get to cone 5 if the cone is still standing up.You really need to tune/adjust your kiln setter so it is accurate-get a manual (online or from Skutt) and do this step.





Mark Cortright
www.liscomhillpottery.com

#8 neilestrick

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 05:09 PM

Could be a fried element, worn elements, a connection, a switch, etc. Your glazes probably look fine because most glazes have a pretty broad firing range. Now that the kiln is unloaded, turn it on high and see if any of the elements do not glow after 5-10 minutes. If only one ring is out, or one element, then it's a bad connection in the control box or it's a fried element, or a bad relay if it's a digital kiln. You'll have to figure out where the problem is with a thorough checking of the system. If all glow the same, then they are probably worn and all should be replaced. There's also a small chance it's the sitter, but I'd check out everything else first.
Neil Estrick
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#9 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 08:38 AM

Hi all,
Thanks for all of the advice and knowledge! I knew it wasn't a good idea to open the lid, but I didn't know about the hot air and electricity!! Yikes!!!
I did line up the full-sized cones with the peepholes, but still couldn't see them. I could not make them out. Tricks???

Finally, around 9:30PM, after the kiln fired for 12 hours on high, I turned it off. When I opened it this morning, all of the glazes had fired to how they look when my teacher does them, except that neither of the cone 5 cones had bent over. So it appears the kiln is getting hot, hot enough to fire the glazes properly, which are cone 5 glazes, but not hot enough to bend the cones over. Is this even possible???

Thank you again for your generously given advice,
Nancy

It was mentioned several months ago to use an LED flash light to see the cones inside a hot kiln. It works. I guess it is a different wave length.
Marcia






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