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ShellHawk

What Kind Of Kiln Shelves To Use?

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The neat thing about the Skutt kiln lonk is that is for troubleshooting: it generates a graph of every firing: so a skutt tech can log into your kiln from the mothership and easily see if an element is going etc by comparing firing curves vs, the intended program.

A studio owner with multiple kilns told me that she likes it because she can log in from home and see that her studio manager is doing the right firing that she wanted: ie she can see if the tech is doing a cone 6 program when it is supposed to be 06 and therby avert disasters.

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The big danger of the Advancers is certainly the moisture explosions: I know one person who knew that his got wet, he followed the instructions from manufacturer on drying them and still wabam ! Very explosive, millions of tiny shards, so much force it actually bloated the kiln a bit: If he had peeping the conepacks when that happened, it would have been beyond terrible.

I saw data on the electrical conductivity: (looking but can't find it at the moment) , but it is very minimal. The shelf exploding issue is however not.

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You can say that again on the explosions.  Violent.

 

I now store my Advancers inside the studio winter and summer between firings.... even high humidity over widely spaced noborigama firings worries me.  And I now always use the Advancers in the slow gas bisques before the wood firings......... just to be SURE.

 

One issue in a noborigama style that is not so much and issue on an anagama or any single chamber kiln is that if you don't know what you are doing, you can create very, very humid wet conditions in the later chambers when you are firing the front end.  This is because the firings are SO thermally efficient and the temperature of the wares, kiln furniture, and kiln lining, in the back chambers can all be below the dew point of the atmosphere.... which is laden with water being drivien off of even "dry" wood, as well as the water vapor that is the normal by-product of combustion.  This humidity / wetness can go on for hours....... enough time to be worried about the Advancers in there. Of course you are also potentially screwing up the POTS in there with the wetness.........

 

best,

 

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

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Thanks for the input, and please keep it coming!

 

The main reason I have not considered an L & L kiln is because my teacher (who shall remain nameless, but he's well known in the ceramics world as someone who knows his stuff) told me he repeatedly had terrible experiences with their customer service department. He bought one for the community college where he teaches, had trouble with it from the start, and customer service could have cared less. Had he been the kind of guy who would say, "Don't you know who I am?" he probably would have gotten the service he should have received in the first place, but he's not "that guy." (Which is why I like being his student!  :) )

 

That bothers me, to say the least.

 

I do like the ease of changing elements, for certain. I'm not a mechanic, so the easier, the better!

 

More input is greatly appreciated!

 

Did he get that service from L&L, or from the distributor? I'm sorry if he was treated that way by L&L. They strive to have great customer service. What sort of problems did he have with the kiln?

 

I believe he got that service from L & L , in fact I sent him an email after this conversation started up to confirm and he said "they have terrible customer service." I know he contacted them several times to get everything straightened out, so I assume he spoke with several different people.

 

I honestly couldn't tell you what was wrong with the kiln. It happened before I was a student and if I asked what had happened with it, I can't recall what he said! What he did say after my email is that they weren't built well. I know he had one of the square ones, but couldn't tell you more than that.

 

And it's very possible that it was just bad luck with this one, individual kiln. That does happen!

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Thanks for the input, and please keep it coming!

 

The main reason I have not considered an L & L kiln is because my teacher (who shall remain nameless, but he's well known in the ceramics world as someone who knows his stuff) told me he repeatedly had terrible experiences with their customer service department. He bought one for the community college where he teaches, had trouble with it from the start, and customer service could have cared less. Had he been the kind of guy who would say, "Don't you know who I am?" he probably would have gotten the service he should have received in the first place, but he's not "that guy." (Which is why I like being his student!  :) )

 

That bothers me, to say the least.

 

I do like the ease of changing elements, for certain. I'm not a mechanic, so the easier, the better!

 

More input is greatly appreciated!

 

Did he get that service from L&L, or from the distributor? I'm sorry if he was treated that way by L&L. They strive to have great customer service. What sort of problems did he have with the kiln?

 

I believe he got that service from L & L , in fact I sent him an email after this conversation started up to confirm and he said "they have terrible customer service." I know he contacted them several times to get everything straightened out, so I assume he spoke with several different people.

 

I honestly couldn't tell you what was wrong with the kiln. It happened before I was a student and if I asked what had happened with it, I can't recall what he said! What he did say after my email is that they weren't built well. I know he had one of the square ones, but couldn't tell you more than that.

 

And it's very possible that it was just bad luck with this one, individual kiln. That does happen!

 

 

I'm sorry he had a bad experience with L&L. The large square kilns are a completely different setup than the round kilns, so maybe there was a problem there. I hope everything was resolved.

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Advancers are easy to keep dry-keep them off cement floors (put a pice of wood down 1st)

do not hose them down who hoses shekves anyway? ( I know someone who did and exploded a few in kiln)

As John says run them thru a slow bisque before glaze firing if damp.

Its just common sense but nowdays it seems in short supply.

I have fired them for more years than can recall with zero issues

THEY ARE MORE FRAGIL THAN OTHER TYPES OF SHELVES-opps caps stuck on but you know this upfront-they do not like uneven quick cooling cycles as well.If you are the type of person always blowing up bisque ware than these may not be for you as you are firing to fast for wares.

if you like quick cooling kilns than these also may not suit you.

If you like fitting more work into a given space and handling less wieght loading (my 1 inch dry pressed 12x24s) wiegh 33# each my advancers (12x24) weigh 9# each-I load 33 to 38 shelves per fire on average say 35 shelves for a 840 #differeance per load-thats per bisque and per glaze fire. Now for me thats at minimum say 35 glaze fires per year so 70 including bisques-thats overe 29 tons a year I do not have to move in shelves alone. Now as far as more pots into a load at less than 3/8 of an inch thick it really adds space to each load that equals more wares in each fire.

The ecomomics only make sense to use them. The pure physical wieght handling adds up to I would have to be crazy not to use them.My only regret is I wish I leaned about them in the 80's instead of the 90's. My back would be in better shape as I do not like moving tons more than I have to. Mine are long paid off. If I was a hobbist these make less sense but I'm not. If pottery is your living than these only make sense. 

Add the fact that I can pick one up with pots on it (12x24) and glaze does not stick to them and they NEVER warp EVER well whats not to like.

Oh I cannot wash them in the dishwasher darn. Always something

Mark

I have had a few PMs on these regarding firing a few times a week at art centers and thats where thse shelves really shine.

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Mark,

 

They are actually fine with fast heating and fast cooling.... that is part of how those low mass furniture units are used in industrial practice. What kills them is UNEVEN heating and cooling that tends to happen with the "potter grade" type kilns we use.

 

best,

 

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

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I bought a used L&L, and immediately dealt with their service to get new elements, some replacement bricks and element holders.  I found them to be helpful.  Maybe not 'southern friendly' but I got everything I needed with a minimum of effort.  The support information on their website is the best I've found, although I haven't cruised 'all' the manufacturer's sites, since I really wanted the L&L.  I also have an Olympic gas, and a Cress test kiln.

 

Alice

 

I'm in the same boat - got a used L&L (cheap) and couldn't get it to work even though the person I bought it from had fired it before selling it to me. The person I talked to, Rob, really knew his stuff and spent a lot of time on the phone with me as we troubleshooted...and he didn't call me a blithering idiot because the service to my outbuilding couldn't even support a 220v line in the first place (which explains a LOT why it didn't work!). So I am doubly sold on the L&L brand, from all that I've heard and my own experience. (Yet to fire the kiln...still need to rewire first...)

 

Maybe L&L just likes people from PA. ;)

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I should of clarlified that as I know its uneven not fast. I think of fast cooling as uneven-pulling the dampner to hot on gas kilns- opening the electric lid too soon to ho all can make for uneven drafts that can crack these shelves..

 My main point is they make sense on so many levels unless you fire only now and again.

Mark

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My main point is they make sense on so many levels unless you fire only now and again.

 

Yup... right there with ya' as I said earlier in the thread. Great product. Pricy initially.... but has the "bang for the buck".

 

best,

 

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

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I have to say that when I saw a price of $237 for one shelf, I about had a heart attack! http://www.continentalclay.com/detail.php?cat_id=195&sub_categoryID=43&PID=895. (Plus I'd have to find not-rectangular shelves for the kiln I can fit into my garage...) I don't make enough sales at this moment to make that pay for me. They will most definitely be something for which I'll start saving, because I no longer have the back of a 20-year-old, myself!

 

Thanks! 

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Has anyone got the Bailey electric kiln? I'm looking at the 2327-10, just out of curiosity. 

http://www.baileypottery.com/kilns/baileyelec2327-10.htm

 

I'm wondering what people's experiences are with this kiln. Are the elements easy to change? Pros and cons are appreciated.

 

Thanks!

pretty sure the top loading Bailey electrics are the same as a Skutt, where elements go directly into the soft brick channel.  It's the front-loaders he now makes that have the element holders similar to an L&L.

 

Personally, I don't see the issue with a Skutt kilns, I think they are great.  I'm on the West Coast, they are also, so why would I not support them?  I don't really ever have issues where I need help with them, but when I do call Skutt I always have quick help and excellent service.  Have 7 here in studio and know numerous people that own them at home or in other schools.  Seems everyone here always complains about the element setup in them, but seriously how often are you swapping elements?  Once a year, once every other year?  I swap elements all the time with the amount of abuse undergrads throw at my kilns and they are all nearing 20 years old, also with most of their original bricks until recently when I did a full rebuild on a few of them.  Sure it might be easier to pull out a rigid element holder to keep from messing up soft brick, but that hard element holder is going to soak up more energy than the soft brick would - making a less efficient use of the energy going into your work.  

 

As for those Advancers....drool....I would personally just stick with regular alumina shelves until you are ready for another big investment, since you're looking at investing in a kiln now.

 

someday I will get some, but man are they expensive.  Actually, I tried getting my studio some Advancers a year ago, but after talking with Marshall at SSFBS, he said they wouldn't work because of the way that we use full hard-brick to stack our kilns -- something about the thermal shock of the heat difference between where the shelf gets sandwiched between brick vs the areas not sandwiched.  Marshall sent me lots of info regarding these shelves and I can definitely see where they would excel and could potentially save lots of money in the long run if taken care of.  Unfortunately, it's hard to convince administrators that spending 3x the cost of something that's already expensive, will be worth it long-term (since our regular SiC shelves already end up around $125/ea for a 12" x 28" x 3/4")

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Has anyone got the Bailey electric kiln? I'm looking at the 2327-10, just out of curiosity. 

http://www.baileypottery.com/kilns/baileyelec2327-10.htm

 

I'm wondering what people's experiences are with this kiln. Are the elements easy to change? Pros and cons are appreciated.

 

Thanks!

I recall reading somewhere that Bailey electric kilns are made by Tucker Cone Art kilns. Could be wrong, but they sure look similar.

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Wondering if the corelite or advancer shelves heat and cool at a rate that is closer to the heating and cooling of the clay?

I have issues with this on standard shelves when firing large flat platters or tiles.Solutions have been previously discussed for raising platters off shelves, but not whether changing shelves will help.

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Has anyone got the Bailey electric kiln? I'm looking at the 2327-10, just out of curiosity. 

http://www.baileypottery.com/kilns/baileyelec2327-10.htm

 

I'm wondering what people's experiences are with this kiln. Are the elements easy to change? Pros and cons are appreciated.

 

Thanks!

 

 

As for those Advancers....drool....I would personally just stick with regular alumina shelves until you are ready for another big investment, since you're looking at investing in a kiln now.

 

 

Lol! It's funny how some folks drool over cars and jewelry and whatnot, and we drool over kilns and studio space! HA!

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Wondering if the corelite or advancer shelves heat and cool at a rate that is closer to the heating and cooling of the clay?

I have issues with this on standard shelves when firing large flat platters or tiles.Solutions have been previously discussed for raising platters off shelves, but not whether changing shelves will help.

 

Look at the thermal conductivity number for the material the shelf is made out of.  That is a measure of how "fast" heat energy will tend to penetrate the shelf.  Look at the specific heat of the material the shelf is made out of.  That number indicates how much energy it takes to heat the shelf material itself up.  Look at the combination of specific heat and overall mass of one shelf relative to another to compare them.  That will tell you more about how much energy is going into the shelf to heat it up... or how it will tend to slow down the cooling.

 

best,

 

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

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Wondering if the corelite or advancer shelves heat and cool at a rate that is closer to the heating and cooling of the clay?

I have issues with this on standard shelves when firing large flat platters or tiles.Solutions have been previously discussed for raising platters off shelves, but not whether changing shelves will help.

 

Look at the thermal conductivity number for the material the shelf is made out of.  That is a measure of how "fast" heat energy will tend to penetrate the shelf.  Look at the specific heat of the material the shelf is made out of.  That number indicates how much energy it takes to heat the shelf material itself up.  Look at the combination of specific heat and overall mass of one shelf relative to another to compare them.  That will tell you more about how much energy is going into the shelf to heat it up... or how it will tend to slow down the cooling.

 

best,

 

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

 

 

 

Thank you john.

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I've been running an L&L now for over 30 years, and still find it doing well. Very little has needed replacement, and when it did L&L had the part to me in about 3 days. I am not an electrician, but a handy able to follow instructions kind of guy. The L&L's have proven easy to repair, and easy to fire.

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My L&L came with tons of information.  I was quite impressed and have read it all.  Some of it 2 or 3 times. (It's not age....I've always been that way..)

Me, too. But with age, it's not getting any better!  :D

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