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Glaze Kiln Loading Query

glaze kiln shelf placement

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#1 Pres

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 04:31 PM

I just finished loading a glaze load in L&L. It came to mind that I have seen discussions of loading bisqueloads, some to the running over point, but not much on forcing as much as possible into a glaze load. Over the years, I have come to load my glaze kilns mostly with 1/2 shelves, but often leaving a 1/4 of the kiln occupied by a much larger piece(taller & wider) than the normal piece in the load. In order to do this, I stagger shelves, add shims of bisquefired clay under the stilt and keep on loading. How do you load a kiln of mixed pieces to make room for large pieces?

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#2 Wyndham

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 06:52 PM

I just loaded a glaze load with several shelves(3in post) with flatware then 6 vases. I could have added another flatware shelf but chose to give it a bit more room.

I'm firing an Olympic 10 cu ft  electric, 3 zone,type s thermocouples.

 

If I'm firing mugs and other small stuff, I'll get as much in as possible but I'll program an hour for  last 125 deg to 2200 to give the kiln a chance to even out, seems to work well.

Wyndham



#3 Mark C.

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 07:56 PM

I only use 1/2 shelves even though I have a few fulls.I often span the cracks if the shleves line up. I always fit as much as I can stuff but I only bisque in electrics. As far as glaze fires I always stuff them never leaving any wasted space. If a pice of paper or less fits between pots its good to fire them without sticking. The let it breath thing is a mith that is slow to bust.Maybe in a wood or slat kiln to get the vapors moving thru but not in electrics or regular reduction kilns. My lifetime of glaze fires shows that's true . Stuff the kiln full and make full use of your space.

Mark


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#4 TJR

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 09:10 AM

Pres;

This is why you have to have those fillers.[I was going to say "you gotta have", but that would be correct. Been on holiday from teaching too long.]I always have a couple boards of mugs and smaller dishes. Like Mark, I only bisque in my electric, so I can stack mugs on top of each other, bottom to bottom.

Sometimes, if you have the awkyard large piece, you just have to live with wasted space.

TJR.



#5 Benzine

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 10:30 AM

I prefer using half shelves as much as possible.  In fact, I ordered some more for my classroom.  I had two full round shelves, that are relatively thick and heavy, and I do not enjoy taking those in and out.  I used one, on the bottom, which is a nice stable base, and I plan on doing that, even with the new shelves.  Another bonus to that, is that with no seem, I won't have to worry about glaze dripping on the bottom of the kiln.  The other round shelf I have, was usually the second layer, though I don't like to use it for that.  The only posts, of a decent height I have, are only one inch thick, and I was wary of using those, to hold such a thick shelf.  Neither thing will be a problem now though, as not only did I buy some new shelves, but also some thicker, taller posts. 

 

I honestly don't like to stagger the shelves too much.  Part of that is because the kiln is pretty deep, and I'm pulling off some acrobatics, just loading the thing normally. 


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#6 Pres

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 11:17 AM



Pres;

This is why you have to have those fillers.[I was going to say "you gotta have", but that would be correct. Been on holiday from teaching too long.]I always have a couple boards of mugs and smaller dishes. Like Mark, I only bisque in my electric, so I can stack mugs on top of each other, bottom to bottom.

Sometimes, if you have the awkyard large piece, you just have to live with wasted space.

TJR.

I have loaded some loads with 25 plates using 1/2 shelves and working in a spiral motion all around the kiln using 2-3 inch stilts, with shims. Some of the most even firings I have ever had because of all of the gap in the center. Most time I can get small thrown boxes in around the plates and have one heck of a load-for me.


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#7 Pres

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 10:29 AM

I unloaded the glaze load today, I have quite a few issues to address, with this new clay body, but am happy with most of the results. I did take a few pics to show how the shims allow me to work around the wedding jar.

 

Attached File  Kiln loading.jpg   74.71KB   11 downloads

 

 

First picture shows the first layer with pots off, and the stilts, then that shelf off, and stilts with shims under. Sometimes I use stilts on their side to meet heights. Whatever works.


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#8 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 11:03 AM

I love loading glaze kilns. I have been known to undo and reload just to get everyone's pieces in. My large oval is equally interesting to load. 

It is always satisfying to know you filled it to the max!

Marcia



#9 Mart

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 12:35 PM

Interesting topic. When I bisque, I'll stuff the kiln as tight as I can unless I reach 60% of liters in kg (100 liter kiln limit is about 60 kg of stuff - can happen with lots of small but heavy pieces)

When we glaze fire, I leave reasonable breathing room so pieces can breath (electric or live fire, no difference). This gives us more even and easier heat up (saves energy) and gives better glaze quality.

BTW, I was pleased to read the same recommendation from Art of Firing by Nils Lou. Now I have no doubt it's a sound recommendation :)



#10 smokin pots

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 04:52 PM

Dang, in my L&L I thought I was supposed to leave two elements between shelves, the first time I didn't and just left one on the top shelve with a
full shelve instead of the normal half shelves, I got a kiln error because the difference between offset thermocouples was so ...different.
So now, three layers with two elements between. My shelves are knuckle scrapers to the very edge.
j
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#11 oldlady

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 01:19 PM

the reason you are scraping your knuckles is that your shelves were probably made for a kiln whose walls were 2 1/2 inches thick.  L&L uses 3 inch walls so the place your fingers go is smaller.

 

i have an L&L also and most of my work is fairly flat.  i put 1inch plus 1/2 inch posts together with glaze and fired them into 1 1/2 inch posts which work great.  sometimes i use all nine of the full shelves in a load.  it gets tough to figure out how not to run into the thermocouple  protectors so thats where taller stuff goes.  making up a full kiln load is just a matter of balancing these two shapes.  

 

my L&L rep tells me not to but it has worked so far, 10 years.

 

why doesn't a shelf manufacturer make a shelf with a bite out of it to fit around the thermocouple protectors?   new business venture available.


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#12 Karen B

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 05:06 PM

I take awhile to load the bisque, what with different heights and such, so, in order to take (much) less time to fit pots in the glaze firing, I now take a picture of each layer of loaded bisque with my phone, so I can load the glaze the same way (only not touching of course). I'm using a top loading kiln.

 

The big, whole-shelf platters go on the bottom to make it easier to have them level.

 

At some point I was told to leave everything an inch from the thermocoupler.



#13 oldlady

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 12:53 PM

yes, karen, taking pictures makes it easier and provides a record of what happened in the glaze firing.  it also lets you know what shapes take the most room and what value each shelf brings to your cashbox when stuff is made for sale.  helps to figure pricing.

 

yes, leave space around the thermocouples.  that is why i want a shelf with a bite out of it.  mostly i fire a single time, ignoring the bisque phase.  i spray my glazes and find it simpler to just spray the greenware and fire on slow glaze setting.  the only times i bisque are when i make stuff in florida during the winter and bring it home to the big studio for glazing.  i just did a bisque firing because i tried a new way of slip covered carved stuff and a neighbor had made a very delicate piece i did not want to single fire.  i expect her to change her mind on color and that is not easy with single firing.  beginners always seem to want to do complicated things without realizing what is involved. 

 

since i glaze outside and the weather this week is beastly, i have been inside on this computer and not outside glazing.  i should turn on the AC in the studio and make up more buckets of glaze.  i promised to mail some to a member here and haven't done that yet.

 

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#14 Pugaboo

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 01:23 PM

beginners always seem to want to do complicated things without realizing what is involved.


This is SO true I swear whenever I decide to do something "simple" it ends up involving 20 more steps than I thought and techniques I never even considered. I am kind of learning that the styles and designs I am really drawn to are never simple and I should just learn its going to take me 5 times longer to figure it out than I thought it was. On a good note though I am learning TONS!

Terry
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#15 Mark C.

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 06:48 PM

One of the things you learn over lots of doing is knowing how tall each piece is. This comes second nature after years of loading kilns. No tape measure needed-You will know what forms fit under what stilts within a 1/4 inch. I have not used a tape for more years than I can recall. This skill will transfer to the hieght of just about all things within range of your pottery wares.

Happy loading

Mark


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#16 Pres

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 09:09 PM

I'im still pretty good at guesstimating, but when in doubt, put a stilt next to the pot.

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#17 Pres

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 10:07 PM

Years ago, when I worrieod about weight on the floor I addeid an extra old floor under the regular floor. I alsio sitarted not using the hinge as the kiln was 4 sections high, and many times I would not use all. I added an extra handle to my lid at home when I added the new lextroa thick lid.

I do believe that teaching classesi and firing student work gives those of pus that have. . . an edge. Firing a students work makes you so much more aware of details of handling, placement, glaze effects and firing processes. I used to not have the skills and care I have now. I guess I was not as invested in my own work as I was with my students; if it didn't turn out, I would just redo!

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#18 Benzine

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 10:04 AM

I'im still pretty good at guesstimating, but when in doubt, put a stilt next to the pot.

Yes Sir.  I always keep an extra post out, while loading, so I can compare.  If something seems close, I'll even take a couple stilts, put them on both sides of the piece, and put a flat surface bridging the two posts. 


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#19 Joy pots

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 10:12 AM

I keep a small mirror to double check clearance under the shelf. Sometimes a knob is higher than I thought. I also have a long stick that I use to measure clearance as I load really tight.
Joy





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