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Member Since 08 Feb 2012
Offline Last Active May 11 2016 01:30 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Bentonite - When To Use It

11 May 2016 - 01:30 PM

Kind of depends on the glaze, glazes with lots of clay in them tend to not hardpan.  Bentonite is typically used to aid in glaze suspension. At 1-2% there is enough to help suspension, but not enough to mess with the glaze.


I don't always add bentonite, but I DO always add CMC gum solution to my glazes.  It helps with suspension, flow off the brush/brushability, and more importantly it forms a "hard coating" that keeps the glaze from rubbing off in greenware state.

In Topic: Relay Life

11 May 2016 - 01:23 PM

All the Skutts at my studio are 20 years old.  All with original control boxes except for one kiln that was a victim of vandalism a few years ago (had a break-in and they decided to pour a Coke down the control panel through the vent fins).  They all seem to function just fine with the exception most of them have lost their "sound/beep" from the control pad.


300 firings is incredible!  I think I get around 100-200 firings out of a relay in a Skutt 1227, 208v 3ph. Smaller kilns like our 1027 and 818 get more firings, closer to the 200 mark. I've had relays fail all sorts of ways over the years (even fail closed and keep firing, which they are not designed to do for safety reasons).  We do a lot of ^04 firings with thick sculpture that sees a lot of on/off of the relays due to the firing programs we use to accommodate the thicker work.


I, too, started writing dates on all my repairs like relays and keep a spread sheet of all repairs.  I really need to get everyone on board with documenting every electric kiln firing though, it's kind of a free-for-all with electrics; then I'll know exactly how many firings, the programs being used, and I'll know if firing durations are changing over time.  I also write a date and vendor name on every bag of materials I buy.

In Topic: 3" Brick Versus 2.5"

11 May 2016 - 01:04 PM

If you're trying to add extra insulation to a 2.5" kiln, my gut says it'd be smarter to invest in some ITC-100 vs the fiber jacket

In Topic: "functional" Low Fire Clay

27 April 2016 - 06:51 PM

The cost difference between firing bisque or cone 6 is only going to be a couple dollars per firing. The main cost difference is replacing the elements, since you get 2-3 times as many firings when doing low fire. Either way it's pretty cheap, though, when you calculate the cost per pot.

This 100%

In Topic: Need Advice On Buying A Used Kiln

27 April 2016 - 06:50 PM

A lot of people come and ask me about used kilns they either see for sale or have been offered.  Besides looking for the obvious things mentioned above, one of the most overlooked things I've noticed is that people don't pay attention to the power requirements and somehow end up looking at 3-phase kilns instead of 1-phase that most residential has.


Yes, pretty much any kiln with a sitter can be converted to a digital control box.