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Wasp Nests In My Kiln

wasps kiln

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#1 jhudson1982

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 11:14 PM

Hi... I hope someone can offer some advice...

 

I bought a small second hand Tetlow Electric kiln about a month ago and have just gone to fire it up for the first time today.  I was giving it a vacuum to clean it out because it hadn't been used in a long time... when I noticed that behind many of the elements and in the holes that the elements go into was full of mud wasp nests.  They obviously created quite a home inside the kiln for a long time while it wasn't in use... but because they were behind the elements I didn't see them when I inspected it.  Before I call the guy I bought it from I was wondering what risks would be involved in cleaning the nests out as best I can and firing it up? 

 

The biggest problem is that its a small kiln and its hard to get inside to see where all the nests are.  They also go back inside these holes and I don't know how far in they go.  I'm worried that if I fire it up they will melt all over the inside and ruin the kiln.  Any advice would be helpful.  

 

Thanks 

Jen



#2 Mark C.

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 11:33 PM

Just be very carefully of the elements . You can use a small tool to carefully loosen the mud something like a wood skewer. Try not to gouge the brick or hurt the elements. Then use a soft bristle tip on your vacuum and suck out the dirt.

Mark
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#3 jhudson1982

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 11:55 PM

Just be very carefully of the elements . You can use a small tool to carefully loosen the mud something like a wood skewer. Try not to gouge the brick or hurt the elements. Then use a soft bristle tip on your vacuum and suck out the dirt.

Mark

Thanks Mark.  Have you any idea what could happen if I don't get all of the mud out? I'm worried that there are more nests further up the holes than I can see.  



#4 williamt

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 12:35 AM

Hey.
If the mud nest is touching the element and you run the kiln to temp, you might cause a short or burn through on the elements. If the elements survive, you might find that the nest has vitrified, and you'll never get it out. Like the advise above, very carefully break up the nests and vacuum the remains. If the nest is more on the outside of the through hole it might just act as an insulator. But I'd try to get it all out.
Good luck.
Lee Tucker
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#5 jhudson1982

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 12:51 AM

Ok, thanks for the advice, I will see how I go.  This will be the first time I have ever fired a kiln and I have to deal with wasp nests!  Scary. 



#6 schmism

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 12:56 AM

i dont see how the elements would short.  they might overheat and burn out.

 

can you use water hose on like stream to wet the mud and flush it out without haveing to do it by hand.   You would think after it dries in the bottom you could just vacuum it out then.



#7 williamt

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 01:19 AM

Seems that hosing it out might not be too good. The water would soak into the soft fire brick and take a while to thoroughly dry. Wet firebrick could allow a short to the metal case. It's possible that as the kiln heated, the inside could get dry, and get its insulating properties, while leaving moisture further in the brick. This might cause steaming, electrical arcing. Also, water could damage electronics.

Seems that the dry clean method would be safer.
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#8 Mark C.

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 02:21 AM

A soft brush may dislodge the mud daubers mud.
I have had them clog holes in my outboard motors
I would not use water as that will make the mud flow more in the element groove.
Keep it dry also a small bottle brush may help
Just take your time as this is a one time deal.Get the dirt out. The element grooves are where it matters to get clean.
Mark
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#9 jhudson1982

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 02:29 AM

I used a bamboo skewer to break up the nests where I couldn't reach them... then I used a plastic drinking straw sticky taped onto the end of a vacuum cleaner to suck them out from the tight spots... I got rid of all that I could see and many that I couldn't see and removed about 20 nests.  I have no idea if there are more up in there... but I suppose that's all I can do.  I'll fire it up after Easter.  Hopefully nothing shorts out or dies or blows up.  

 

Thanks again for the ideas.  The wooden skewer was super. 



#10 Mark C.

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 02:34 AM

Use a mirror and a flash lite to see where you can not get your head.
Take your time
Just a soft vac brush attachment works well no need for the small straw.
Mark
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#11 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 06:30 AM

Those critters drive me nuts. The build nests in my posts as well. They build everywhere including on paper and inside buckets.Clean the elements well. I had one lump the size of my fist on a top element. 

It is fine now but I seal up the kiln when I am not firing.

Marcia



#12 neilestrick

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 09:54 AM

If the elements are not too brittle, and they are connected in the control box with something that can be disconnected (not a crimp connection), you may be able to unhook them and pull them out very carefully to make cleaning easier. Do not use water! Any mud that is left should not cause a short, however it could cause hot spots if left in the element grooves. Where the element goes through the wall of the kiln it does not run hot like the inside of the kiln, so al long as you get most of it out it shouldn't cause hot spots in there.


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#13 Arnold Howard

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 08:56 AM

I bought a small second hand Tetlow Electric kiln about a month ago and have just gone to fire it up for the first time today.  I was giving it a vacuum to clean it out because it hadn't been used in a long time... when I noticed that behind many of the elements and in the holes that the elements go into was full of mud wasp nests.  They obviously created quite a home inside the kiln for a long time while it wasn't in use... but because they were behind the elements I didn't see them when I inspected it.  Before I call the guy I bought it from I was wondering what risks would be involved in cleaning the nests out as best I can and firing it up? 

 

The biggest problem is that its a small kiln and its hard to get inside to see where all the nests are.  They also go back inside these holes and I don't know how far in they go.  I'm worried that if I fire it up they will melt all over the inside and ruin the kiln.  Any advice would be helpful.

Jen, did you succeed in cleaning out the element grooves? How is your kiln running?

 

Sincerely,

 

Arnold Howard

Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA

ahoward@paragonweb.com / www.paragonweb.com







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