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New Kiln And Venting


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#1 meisie

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 08:32 AM

I recently bought a kiln from a woman who was no longer using it. She had it in a barn outside her home. It does not have a vent or venting system. I have placed it in my cellar in a corner near the door. Do I need to vent it? I can't see anywhere where a vent could be attached. Are some kilns designed so they don't need a vent?

I have been doing wheel work for about a year and a half now but the firing has been done by the place where I work. They don't really teach firing. So I am sort of starting that process blind. I just happened upon this kiln and it was a good deal and in nearly new condition.
Thanks for any help.
Renee

#2 CarlCravens

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 09:52 AM

I recently bought a kiln from a woman who was no longer using it. She had it in a barn outside her home. It does not have a vent or venting system. I have placed it in my cellar in a corner near the door. Do I need to vent it? I can't see anywhere where a vent could be attached. Are some kilns designed so they don't need a vent?


Kilns themselves don't "need" a vent system... the primary purpose of a vent is to keep unwanted fumes out of the kiln room. I've read that a vent tends to produce a more even temperature throughout the kiln as well, and some vent manufacturers claim that it produces better results because it ensures enough oxygen is present in the kiln for oxidation firing.

I fire my small kiln in a large garage with plenty of ventilation, so I don't bother with a vent... I just prop the lid open a bit during the early part of the firing (per the manual). I have a friend that fires two large electric kilns in a small room at the back of his house... he just puts a fan in the window and closes the door.

Whether you need a vent or not depends on how you feel about fumes in your cellar and how well you can move fumes out and fresh air in. Vent systems aren't cheap (they start at just under $400), and you may be able to maintain a safe working environment with a good fan.

The basics of firing an electric kiln are pretty trivial. Without a digital controller, it's not all that different from an electric oven... you turn up the dials and it heats up. Everything else is just details about what your work requires... "350 for 20 minutes, then turn up to 450 for an hour" kind of stuff. Your specific clay and glazes will determine the firing schedule, and some of that will be trial and error. The electric kiln itself is a rather simple device.

Check the website of your kiln manufacturer... some of them have excellent resources. I know Paragon has all the manuals and tons of information available.
Carl (Wichita, KS)

#3 meisie

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 12:40 PM

Thank you very much for your reply. I don't want fumes in the house but the cellar is well ventilated in that corner and near a window and door so I should then be able to use a good strong fan to clear the fumes out the window.
I have all the kiln paperwork and manual. I even happened to find a video in my classroom and it looks pretty easy to do. I have minimal knowledge, I used to do the clay work in college but not the firing. Of course college has been a few years (30) down the road.
Thanks again
Renee

#4 bciskepottery

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 09:36 PM

My kiln is located in the garage and I chose to have it vented to keep out the fumes from firing. To me, it is worth the extra money to not have to worry about noxious fumes lingering around. I also fire kilns at a local studio -- they are not vented and it really creates an unpleasant environment. The studio has vents, the vents just are not connected to anything past the fans that draw air. From a firing perspective, I think drawing air through an electric kiln does make a difference -- the colors do seem to me to be a bit brighter.

Even though your local studio may not offer kiln firing instructions, ask and see if they will not let you hang around when they are doing both a bisque and a glaze load. If they will not, then ask any potters in your area who fire at their homes -- I'm sure they would be willing to let you watch and ask questions.

#5 Chris Campbell

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Posted 05 August 2010 - 10:52 AM

I agree you should ask to help with a few firings at the arts center ... Little tricks and tips can save you
a long learning curve.

I would not fire a large kiln in my home without proper venting.
Think about what is burning out of your clay ... The safety rules that apply in your srts center are valid
concerns ... you really do not want to breathe those fumes. Also they really do stink.

I have mine vented even though they are in the garage because there is a bedroom over it.

Chris Campbell
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TRY ...   FAIL ...  LEARN ...  REPEAT


#6 CarlCravens

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Posted 05 August 2010 - 10:25 PM

I have mine vented even though they are in the garage because there is a bedroom over it.


I keep forgetting that "garage" means different things to different people. :) My garage is detached, at the far end of the back yard, and is a roomy 3-car that I've never put a car in, and over half of it is "shop". Two full garage door spaces are filled with five-foot tall south-facing windows. My kiln sits near windows on the west wall, and I have various fan options to move air through the garage and windows. (Including one old furnace blower rigged up specifically to pull air outside.)

I shouldn't call it a "garage" really... it's more of a shed. Just a really big shed built from a garage kit. It sold the house the moment I saw it.
Carl (Wichita, KS)

#7 hansen

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 04:33 AM

Cellar? either vent the kiln or vent the kiln room, we're talking about formaldhyde from bisques, potentially lead, manganese, chrome, etc,. from gloss
h a n s e n

I recently bought a kiln from a woman who was no longer using it. She had it in a barn outside her home. It does not have a vent or venting system. I have placed it in my cellar in a corner near the door. Do I need to vent it? I can't see anywhere where a vent could be attached. Are some kilns designed so they don't need a vent?

I have been doing wheel work for about a year and a half now but the firing has been done by the place where I work. They don't really teach firing. So I am sort of starting that process blind. I just happened upon this kiln and it was a good deal and in nearly new condition.
Thanks for any help.
Renee




h a n s e n
Stone House Studio, Alexandria, Virginia

americanpotter.blogspot.com
thesuddenschool.blogspot.com

#8 meisie

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Posted 12 August 2010 - 04:10 PM

Thank you all. Lots of food for thought and I was planning on getting some expertise at a local class that I will be taking. While the previous class that I took didn't have an opportunity for me to watch fireing this class will most likely allow for me to view how it's all going to go. I will also rethink the venting issue as well.
Thanks again.

#9 The Clay Workshop

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 02:27 AM

I am hoping that someone can advise me, I see that the issue I need help with has been mentioned here, which is regarding manganese fumes during firing. I have recently started using manganese dioxide in a clay slurry - about 2 teaspoons to 1/2 litre slurry, although this is all very experimental at this stage, I am still finding my feet after having done Raku exclusively for the last 10 years.

I paint this slurry onto the pots, or alternatively wedge it into the clay before throwing. I then burnish and fire to cone 06. I have done some research and see that there is a potential health hazard regarding kiln fumes when using manganese. My kiln is outdoors on my verandah, and I think well ventilated. Can someone help?

Mellissa.





#10 JBaymore

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 08:33 AM

I am hoping that someone can advise me, I see that the issue I need help with has been mentioned here, which is regarding manganese fumes during firing. I have recently started using manganese dioxide in a clay slurry - about 2 teaspoons to 1/2 litre slurry, although this is all very experimental at this stage, I am still finding my feet after having done Raku exclusively for the last 10 years.

I paint this slurry onto the pots, or alternatively wedge it into the clay before throwing. I then burnish and fire to cone 06. I have done some research and see that there is a potential health hazard regarding kiln fumes when using manganese. My kiln is outdoors on my verandah, and I think well ventilated. Can someone help?

Mellissa.


Hi Melissa,

I could go into some detail.... I teach ceramic toxicology as part of a college level ceramic materials course. But I won't do that here. It'd take a very long discussion/disertation to cover the subject adequately.

Short answer....... be careful....and not only with the fumes from the kiln. And understand what fumes ARE. Very fine particulate....that settles on everything like what we usually refer to as "dust". REALLY fine dust. And your clay body now has manganese in it's dust also.

Awareness is the key.

Please get a copy of the book "Artist Beware" by Dr. Michael McCann. Lyons Press ISBN:978-1592285921

Also contact Mononna Rossol at A.C.T.S. in NYC. http://www.artscraft...atersafety.org/

Get her small book: The Artist's Complete Health & Safety Guide, 3rd Edition.

And also contact NCECA for Monona's "Keeping Claywork Safe and Legal" book.


Then get the Material Safety Data Sheet for manganese dioxide from your ceramics supplier. To help you understand it, do a web search for "reading an MSDS".


That stuff should give you some good grounding on this kind of thing.

best,

................john


Moderators: You might want to split this last pair of postings into a new thread....... bit of a change of subject.
John Baymore
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Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

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#11 The Clay Workshop

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 04:17 AM


I am hoping that someone can advise me, I see that the issue I need help with has been mentioned here, which is regarding manganese fumes during firing. I have recently started using manganese dioxide in a clay slurry - about 2 teaspoons to 1/2 litre slurry, although this is all very experimental at this stage, I am still finding my feet after having done Raku exclusively for the last 10 years.

I paint this slurry onto the pots, or alternatively wedge it into the clay before throwing. I then burnish and fire to cone 06. I have done some research and see that there is a potential health hazard regarding kiln fumes when using manganese. My kiln is outdoors on my verandah, and I think well ventilated. Can someone help?

Mellissa.


Hi Melissa,

I could go into some detail.... I teach ceramic toxicology as part of a college level ceramic materials course. But I won't do that here. It'd take a very long discussion/disertation to cover the subject adequately.

Short answer....... be careful....and not only with the fumes from the kiln. And understand what fumes ARE. Very fine particulate....that settles on everything like what we usually refer to as "dust". REALLY fine dust. And your clay body now has manganese in it's dust also.

Awareness is the key.

Please get a copy of the book "Artist Beware" by Dr. Michael McCann. Lyons Press ISBN:978-1592285921

Also contact Mononna Rossol at A.C.T.S. in NYC. http://www.artscraft...atersafety.org/

Get her small book: The Artist's Complete Health & Safety Guide, 3rd Edition.

And also contact NCECA for Monona's "Keeping Claywork Safe and Legal" book.


Then get the Material Safety Data Sheet for manganese dioxide from your ceramics supplier. To help you understand it, do a web search for "reading an MSDS".


That stuff should give you some good grounding on this kind of thing.

best,

................john


Moderators: You might want to split this last pair of postings into a new thread....... bit of a change of subject.



Hi John

Thanks for this. I have contacted Monona, and am waiting for a reply, but in the meantime maybe you can help - I don't use glaze, and what I am trying to achieve is a rich, charcoal surface colour (along the lines of certain of Magdalene Odundo's pieces, as an example). I am experimenting with manganese on terracotta, but it is all very much a work in progress.

I am concerned about the health hazards here, especially because I have a little boy (5 years) who loves to work with the clay and hang around the kiln, and also I have started giving a weekly class to children. Obviously they don't have any access to the oxides, but if the danger is substantial I would rather not use them at all. Do you perhaps know of an alternative to manganese that I can use to achieve black, something not toxic in any way? My clay supplier suggested charcoal, which I have yet to try.

Thanks again John,
Mellissa.




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