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Operating an electric kiln in the Canadian cold


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#1 EJB

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 01:53 PM

I have a small studio in my basement and am just getting back to pottery after having my second child. I have always used a nearby gallery to fire my work. Now I'm considering buying a kiln so that I can fire myself. I don't have a lot of space and am thinking of putting the kiln in my shed. I live in Toronto, Canada and we can have humid summers and cold winters. Would there be issues with this setup (e.g. condensation, longer times to reach temps or cooling too quickly, etc)?

I would appreciate any thoughts or insights before I jump in! Thanks

#2 oldlady

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 06:31 PM

are you looking at used kilns or new? if you find someone nearby who has an electric kiln ask what happens to that one. if you are looking at a new one, contact the manufacturer and ask them. someone in your neck of the cold will know. try a local gallery for the names of local potters. sorry, i am familiar with humidity but not that kind of cold anymore.

happy jumping!
"putting you down does not raise me up."

#3 TJR

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:08 PM

EJB;
Now here is a question that I can sink my teeth into. I am from Winnipeg. My kiln is inside my heated studio, and is vented to the outside. Most potters in our area, [Canada] would have their kilns in a garage or some kind of covered shed. Give Frank Tucker a call at Tucker Ceramics in Oakville, Ont. He can probably put you in line with a used kiln. I know Nelly is also on the blog. She is from Toronto.
Tom Roberts[TJR]

#4 bciskepottery

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 08:25 PM

Your main concern is probably the electronic/computer controls . . . and operating the controls in either really cold or really hot weather. If you check a kiln website, it should list technical data that states the range of temperatures in which the kiln can operate. You might have to use a space heater in the shed to warm things and the electronics in the control before starting a firing in the winter (some folks use a fan to keep them cool enough in summer). You might find your firings takes longer . . . the kiln will have to heat up from a lower ambient temperature. Other than that . . . take the usual precautions for firing a kiln -- safe distance from walls, proper eletrical hook-up, venting to the outside, proper flooring, etc.

#5 EJB

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 11:20 PM

Thanks everyone for the great info! I'm going to talk to the folks at PSH and Tuckers to get even more advice before I take the plunge. Now I've got much better questions to ask. I'm excited that it sounds like the shed is a doable option!

Seems like Cone Art and Euchlid kilns are the ones sold at the two large ceramics stores near Toronto. I'll probably get a used kiln though as I see there are quite a few on Craigslist and Kijiji. Seems like there are a lot of used Duncan kilns out there.



Tom: Brrrr. I spent a winter in Winnipeg working on a consulting project in 1994. We don't get quite as cold as you guys do! Good to meet a fellow Canadian.

Big Electric Cat: You had me worried about posts 2 and 3. LOL


Thanks again!
Elana

#6 DAY

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 06:58 AM

" the kiln should not be started until the board temp is above freezing"
Curious. I have fired my kilns- outside, under cover- for 20 Pennsylvania winters, with nary a thought about 'board temperature'.

#7 wphlea

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 11:24 AM

I can relate to the cold Canadian winter, living in Sask as I do! My kiln is in a unheated quanset and my answer to cold firing is to make a lot of pots in the winter in my basement studio and fire like crazy come spring! It was interesting to read all the other replies regarding controller temps and I learned something in the process. Thanks everyone! Good luck Newbie!




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