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Member Since 08 Feb 2012
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 01:10 PM

Topics I've Started

Help With Updraft Kiln - Burner Setup

02 April 2014 - 02:15 PM

I am trying to help a friend get a gas kiln up and running.  I believe he said the kiln had been sitting inside a barn for many years, and was brand new, never fired.  He has had it for several years and never set it up because there isn't a complete burner system and this needs to get resolved.  Been sitting long enough that the rodents have taken a liking to the fiber interior.  I've been asked to give him some direction with this kiln, but I've never had to set up a kiln before, always just dealt with what was already in place - so I'M looking for help on this one :)


The kiln is an updraft but we don't know who made it - there are no nameplates or identifiers of any sort on the chassis to be found.  The kiln has fiber door and ceiling, the other 3 walls and floor are soft-brick.  Inside volume is roughly 27 cu. ft. Only ports into chamber beside burner ports are 2 spy ports on side of kiln, kinda weird placement IMO. Current burner system consists of 7 naturally aspirated burners that come through the center of the floor, so i'm assuming it uses hearth setup and no bagwall.  The burners are on what seems like a homemade manifold made of square tube that goes to some ball valves.  Where I'm stuck is that there are no pilots, valves, gauges, or anything else to the burner system.


Being unfamiliar with this type of updraft kiln, I'd have assumed there would be some feature in the burner system to allow pilot/candling time before putting on all 7 burners - but I can't figure it out.  The square tube manifold for the burners I think is welded into place.  I don't see any evidence of any external parts like pilots and ignition being connected to the burners like you'd see on other burner systems.  I don't even see much room in the ports to even fit a pilot in the orifice next to the burners if I were to somehow adapt some.  We do have a few burner parts left over from another kiln that went out when this one came in.  Know we're going to have to invest a little in some new valves, gauges, etc etc - hopefully it won't break the bank.  Fuel will be natural gas.




Hoping someone will have input as to the maker of this kiln.  Maybe some input as to the burner system attempted to be installed on this kiln, and how to fire it.  Lastly, looking for input on where to proceed with setting up a "proper" burner system on this kiln, so we can get some clay fired this Summer!






Burner manifold:




Burner ports and size:



Extra parts from old kiln:





Clay Body For Large-Scale Project

11 February 2014 - 08:33 PM

I'm helping figure out the logistics of a proposed large-scale ceramics project.  One of the most important things we need to figure out is the clay body, which is where I'm hoping for input.


Was planning on simply making our standard studio clay body that we use for our large-scale sculptures.  Usually items get up around 1" thick or slightly more, occasionally students get into the 2-3" range (like at bottom of large piece) and we usually once-fire to ^04 or to ^6 without any issues, or at least minimal problems that are usually due to construction methods.


Sculpture body:

6 Fire Clay (Lincoln)

2 Kaolin (Edwin)

1 Ball (OM#4)

1 Grog (20m Mulcoa)


The proposed project will be a very large, very thick slab-based piece, outdoor demonstration with public interaction.  Original thoughts were to NOT fire this piece when finished due to size and thickness, but personally I'd like see if there is anything we can do to the clay body to make it possible to fire because I think it's going to turn out awesome and it would be a shame to put all this effort into making several tons of material, getting public interaction, and then not fire it and slake it all down  :(


Immediate thoughts went to additions of either perlite or cellulose insulation to make the body more porous, in order to fire these solid pieces.  Costs need to be kept to a minimum, so adding crushed IFB is not a possible solution.  I know perlite will work very well for what we want to do, but question whether it will be cost effective when making 2-3 tons of clay.  Paper clay made with cellulose insulation I have no idea - I tried it on a small scale, thin items, works great - but don't know how it would work on large scale like this with thickness getting into the 4-6" range.



Tech Job at Sonoma Community Center

15 May 2013 - 01:01 PM

Got a phone call and email regarding a Tech Job at the Sonoma Community Center, in Sonoma California. Don't know anything about it other than what was sent to me. Not sure how much advertising they're able to do for the position, so here ya go:


Position: Arts Studio Manager & Technician
Hours: Part-time: 20-24 hours/week
Salary: $15.40 per hour
Status: Non-exempt
Supervisor: Arts Education Manager
JOB SUMMARY: This position oversees the maintenance of all aspects of SCC’s
visual arts studios. Works directly with arts education manager to ensure an
organized, cohesive working environment for students, studio members and faculty

• Manage open studio programs and coordinate studio monitors
• Daily studio upkeep
• Kiln maintenance
• Printing press upkeep
• Handling raw ceramic materials, glazes, printing solvents, etching
solutions, inks and painting media
• Mixing and reclaiming clay and glazes by hand
• Order and pick up raw materials and clays
• Maintain functional, clean and safe studio working environment
• Work with program manager to identify and implement necessary studio
• Other duties as assigned by program manager
• Minimum bachelors degree or equivalent in ceramics
• Ability to self-direct
• Strong background in visual arts
• Working knowledge of studio equipment and management
• Strong organizational skills wth regard to studio inventories, Materials
Safety Data Sheets and general studio safety
• Working knowledge of gas and electrical safety
• Strong technical background, experience firing & repairing gas & electric kilns
• Ability to lift 50 lbs
• Strong verbal and written communication skills

Please send cover letter and resume to:
Toni Castrone
Executive Director
Sonoma Community Center
276 East Napa Street
Sonoma, CA 95476

Slip for coating/firing dried flowers?

08 May 2013 - 12:11 PM

Wondering if anyone has any tips or recipe suggestions for dipping/coating and firing some dried flowers, and keeping the detail?

I've been asked to see if it's possible to slip and fire a wedding bouquet of flowers. I'm somewhat familiar with firing slip-soaked fabrics (like crochet, fabric, stuffed animals, etc) - and that's fairly simple since the cotton will soak up slip no problemo - but dried flowers is a bit different since there really isn't any mass to absorb the slip, and they are so fragile. I was thinking some sort of slip containing calcined clay and pyrophyllite might get me in the right direction. I already tried a few attempts with a casting slip and a brush-on slip, but I wouldn't really call them successful. I think flower-type has a lot to do with it, but planning to experiment more with some various dried flowers i've got laying around to make sure it works before messing up her actual bouquet. Next attempt will be to do a quick dip to get into the crevices and then layer more with a sprayer.

Just wanted to see if anyone has tips on where to go next since I know slip-drenched fabrics are very common, but not so much flowers.