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Member Since 04 Oct 2011
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 09:00 PM

#105843 L&l New Kiln

Posted by neilestrick on Yesterday, 08:17 AM

Error 1 simply means that the kiln is not heating up as fast as it should. It could be that the elements are shot, but it could also be a broken element, a dead relay, a bad thermocouple, a loose connection, or just a fluke. At 78 firings your elements should still be plenty good unless you're doing very long, slow, hot firings with holds. I would first check that you didn't have one element fry out. The easiest way to do this, since it can be difficult to find a break, is to check the element resistance, which will also tell you if the elements are worn. Instructions HERE. If the resistance in one section is way off from the others, then there's a break in one of the elements. If they are all good, then you need to check the flow of electricity from the power cord to the elements and see if there's a break in the flow somewhere. If you're not comfortable with using a meter, then do a Vary-fire program with one step to 1000F at a rate of 9999. When you start the kiln it will turn all the elements on full blast. After a few minutes you can check to see if all the elements are glowing. If one element is out, then there's a break in it. If a pair of elements are out, then the relay for that section is dead.

#105842 Recommendations For Levelling A New Kiln Installation?

Posted by neilestrick on Yesterday, 08:09 AM

My floor was only slightly out of level, so I stepped on a beer can and used that.


I hope you drank the beer first.

#105799 "functional" Low Fire Clay

Posted by neilestrick on 27 April 2016 - 01:56 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.

#105670 Catenary Wood Fire Kiln Stalling? Eveness?

Posted by neilestrick on 24 April 2016 - 09:37 PM

Firing a crossdraft wood kiln is no different than firing a gas kiln. You have fuel, air, and pressure (chimney draw). If it stalls out, them something is out of whack. I would say that the load was not too tight. It looks like you have plenty of open space for the kiln to breath. Usually it's all about the air- either too little or too much, but usually too little. In the wood kilns I have dealt with, the problem was usually that the ash pit was clogged up, in which case you had to let it burn down or scoop it out. To burn it down, I'd put in a few big soaker logs to keep stuff burning without creating coals too quickly, and increase the chimney draw to pull more air across the ash pit to burn it down. Stirring the pit helps, too. Sometimes there was a little loss of temperature, but it was quickly regained once everything was burned down.


Also, most of the wood kilns I've fired have a point at which they stall out, usually around cone 5ish, sometimes for an hour or more, after which they rocket up. I think there's a point at which the bricks and ware are still soaking up the heat, and the kiln just can't get any hotter until everything catches up.

#105601 Can't Find Info On My Kiln Model!

Posted by neilestrick on 23 April 2016 - 09:34 AM

All manual kilns work the same way for the most part. Put a cone in the sitter, turn it up every hour. If you need elements, call Euclids. They will be able to make elements for you based on the info on the serial plate and kiln measurements.

#105505 Cornstarch

Posted by neilestrick on 21 April 2016 - 08:42 PM

To keep a glaze in suspension:

Add 2% bentonite and 0.5% Epsom Salts. The bentonite needs to be added during the weighing process and dry mixed well or it will clump. The Epsom Salts should be dissolved in water and added to the wet mix after sieving. There will be a noticeable thickening of the glaze upon adding it, and additional water may need to be added.


To make a glaze brushable:

Make gum solution by adding 2 tablespoons CMC gum and 1/8 teaspoon copper carbonate (preservative) to a gallon of warm water. Let it sit overnight, then blend till smooth. Substitute 1/3 of the water in the glaze with gum solution.

#105484 Slip Casting Moulds

Posted by neilestrick on 21 April 2016 - 11:21 AM

Mold vs. mould

American English has no mould, and British English has no mold. In other words, the word referring to (1) the various funguses that grow on organic matter or (2) a frame for shaping something is spelled the same in both uses, and the spelling depends on the variety of English.

Of course, the spelling difference extends to derivatives such as moldy/mouldy and molding/moldingand to the verb sense to shape with a mold. 

Australian and Canadian English favor the British spelling, though mold is fairly common in Canadian publications.

#105444 Thinking Of Getting A Test Kiln, Pros, Cons?

Posted by neilestrick on 20 April 2016 - 10:13 AM

My little kiln is actually a Paragon A119B3 that I got for free from a customer. I have it hooked up to an external Orton controller that I got for free from another customer. I just got lucky on those.


Do not worry about shipping. I've never had a kiln damaged in shipping, because L&L uses good carriers. The little doll/test kilns are great kilns, built to the same standards as their larger kilns. A 9.5" diameter plate is the largest you could fit in one, or 3-4 mugs.

#105427 Bowl Signed, Studio Pottery, No Clue What It Is Please Help Id

Posted by neilestrick on 19 April 2016 - 08:35 PM

I would even go so far as to say it's a green bowl, with other colors. :D

#105379 Black Slip Turning Grey In Firing

Posted by neilestrick on 18 April 2016 - 12:42 PM

Underglazes are meant to be used as is. If you want to color a slip, use stain.

#105257 Bartlett Genesis

Posted by neilestrick on 14 April 2016 - 08:18 PM

I always fire at night, anyway. It would be great to get an alarm on my phone if there's an error code instead of waiting until morning to find out it didn't fire off properly. Maybe they could put in a microphone so you could hear the clicking of the relays. That would be comforting.

#105240 Bartlett Genesis

Posted by neilestrick on 14 April 2016 - 02:49 PM



It's now available, and the price is decent. Might have to get one.....

#104862 Need To Step Up Production

Posted by neilestrick on 07 April 2016 - 07:20 PM

I have something similar to THIS in my studio and it works great. Just hook it up with flexible water lines and plug it in.

#104847 Need To Step Up Production

Posted by neilestrick on 07 April 2016 - 02:47 PM

Quickbooks is a great affordable app for handling inventory, sales, purchasing, invoicing, paying sales tax, etc. It's also great come tax time since everything is in the system, so you don't have to spend time going through paper receipts.


To get the most efficient use of your space, you may have to build your own shelving. The problem with commercial shelving units is that they don't have enough shelves if you're making mugs and such, so you have to buy two units and combine them to get enough short shelves. By the time you spend that much money you can build your own cheaper. Lots of potters us a ware board rack, which is just a frame that ware boards slide into. Do some google searches and you'll find examples. Rolling carts with adjustable shelves are also a good way to go, although they get pretty pricey.

#104806 Need To Step Up Production

Posted by neilestrick on 06 April 2016 - 12:09 PM

I would love to have a 16x24 studio! I know full time potters who work in spaces half that large, and without plumbing. I worked out of a studio that was only 8x15 for a couple of years, with two kilns in there and no plumbing. Open floor space is not necessary, but well designed shelving is. It's amazing what you can do in a small space if you're smart about it.