I'm new to this forum, and have enjoyed reading and learning from this forum. I haven't seen my situation addressed in another thread, so I'll start this one.
I'm wondering how to handle the kiln as I refire a load of underfired bisque.
A little background: I am re-acquainting myself with pottery, which I loved when I was introduced to it in high school. Back then (25 years ago?!), I threw some pots and had a grand time, then moved on to other classes. M oldest daughter, in high school herself, loved the ceramics class she took this year, too. I think she used the same kickwheels I did!
We bought a kickwheel from a school that had closed, and found an small used kiln (electric, Evenheat) on Craigslist. We've found a great clay and supplies store near us and have been having so much fun. Yesterday I fired a load of greenware using the kiln sitter with mini-cones that I used successfully the one other time I've used the kiln before this time. Because it was a much larger load than I've fired before, the kiln was still on when I went to bed at midnight (it had been about 10 hours by then). I'd set the default "off" switch to twelve hours, thinking that it was overkill since the other very small load I'd done was finished very quickly, only about 4 hours or so. The default switch turned off the kiln while I slept, and the cone in the kiln sitter didn't melt too much, and the kiln sitter was still engaged. I'm not sure how hot it actually got, as I didn't put any witness cones in the kiln. I hadn't planned ahead and made a clay plaque (is this the correct term?) for the cones and I didn't want wet clay to explode in there.
I wonder, as I refire the load, do I need to ramp up like usual, with one switch at a time each hour, and the lid propped for a couple of hours? I looked at the pots when the kiln was cool, and while the clay has changed color, it hasn't changed from the dirty gray to bright white that the first load did, so I know it's not "done," and needs to get hotter before I glaze.
Thanks for your patience and sensitivity with an enthusiastic dilettante.