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Member Since 04 Oct 2011
Online Last Active Today, 11:21 AM

#118188 Wacky Kiln

Posted by neilestrick on 09 December 2016 - 10:51 PM

There probably isn't anything wrong with your kiln. Kilns lose heat out the floor and lid. The sitter only measures heat work in the middle of the kiln. There will always be inconsistent heating throughout the kiln, so you have to load it in a way that deals with that. If an area is running cold, pack it looser there. If it's running hot in a specific area then pack it tighter there. If you can get the whole thing within 1/2 a cone then you're good.

#118059 Recommendations For Triple-Beam Balance To Measure Glazes?

Posted by neilestrick on 07 December 2016 - 07:29 PM

Make sure it has the tare beam, so you can use different size containers on it. I use my triple beams when mixing small batches for tests, but I prefer the digital scale for large batches because I can weigh out the big numbers in one shot.

#118057 Small Kiln In House (Not Garage Or Basement)

Posted by neilestrick on 07 December 2016 - 07:27 PM

A 1 cubic foot kiln won't heat up the room much at all. And a fan in the window should be plenty to vent it. Put a sheet of cement board under it, and keep it 18 inches from anything flammable. If you go larger, like a 4 cubic foot kiln, you'll want a real vent.

#117976 Electric Vs Gas Firing - Surface Look - Clothes Or Skin

Posted by neilestrick on 06 December 2016 - 05:51 PM



nor do we as students ever get to fire our kilns - which is understandable. 


When I was in school the teachers never fired the kilns. The students were responsible for all firings. It's an important part of the ceramic process, and should be learned.

#117939 Electric Vs Gas Firing - Surface Look - Clothes Or Skin

Posted by neilestrick on 06 December 2016 - 08:17 AM

Are you working with stoneware? In reduction you'll get iron spots coming through, which gives a visual blend between the clay and the glaze, but a good speckled cone 6 stoneware will give you a similar effect. The foot of the pot is always a giveaway, though, as reduced stoneware bodies definitely have a different look than oxidized bodies. When working with white bodies, however, it's much more difficult to tell the difference between reduced and oxidized bodies, and they have much less effect on the look of the glaze. It's often impossible to tell how white bodies were fired. If you don't like how the cone 6 glazes look in oxidation, I would try a darker clay body. It could simply be that you're not getting the color of the clay coming through as much as in reduction. If you're using the same clay body for both, then that's definitely the case. Iron is more active in reduction, so you need more of it in oxidation to get a similar effect. You can't just use the same materials for both and expect similar results. Each type of firing requires specific materials to achieve the desired results.


There are a lot of bad cone 6 glazes out there that look plastic-y, including a good percentage of commercial glazes. In my experience this comes from using too much boron in the formula. In the past, when cone 6 was considered the realm of hobby potters, Gerstley Borate was relied upon much too heavily, making high boron glazes. However a lot of great research has been done on cone 6 in the past decade, and there are a lot of really great glaze recipes out there now. Cone 10 glazes rely heavily on feldspars, which look and feel different than glazes that rely heavily on boron. But feldspars can also be used in cone 6 glazes. I've got many cone 6 glazes that contain no boron, and they are totally indistinguishable from cone 10 glazes.


I work in cone 6 oxidation, and people are always surprised that my work isn't cone 10 reduction. There's really very little you can achieve in a gas kiln that you can't do in an electric. You just have to learn about what's causing the results in each type of firing. I recommend taking a glaze formulation course, then you can work on making your own glazes that will give you the results you want in each type of firing.

#117815 White Stoneware Suggestions

Posted by neilestrick on 04 December 2016 - 02:30 PM

If you want a pure white clay you should go with porcelain. Standard 365 is a great cone 6 grolleg porcelain. No white stoneware is going to be as white as porcelain. They all go slightly yellow or gray. But a good white glaze will still be white even on a not-quite-white clay body.

#117751 Bracing Kiln For Move

Posted by neilestrick on 03 December 2016 - 12:42 PM

What's the best way to protect the lid?


I can imagine that bouncing around in the back of a vehicle can't be good for it, more so with a big oval kiln.


Just leave it on the kiln. Or you can unhook it form the hinge and set it on top of the kiln with a layer of foam board in between. Then strap it all together. L&L ships theirs fully assembled with the floor slab on top on foam, and just some foam padding between the kiln and box, all on a pallet. I've never had freight damage other than the kiln getting hit with a forklift.

#117741 Bracing Kiln For Move

Posted by neilestrick on 03 December 2016 - 09:41 AM

When you put the kilns into the moving truck, set them on a sheet or two of insulating sheet foam- the pink or blue stuff you can get at the hardware store. If the floor slab is separate from the walls, set the slab on top of the kiln with a sheet of foam separating them. Strap everything so they can't slide around.

#117709 I'm Trying Not To Be Angry But

Posted by neilestrick on 02 December 2016 - 05:43 PM

What do they mean by 'due to vendors not being available'? Didn't they jury the show and sign people up in advance? They should know exactly how many vendors they have weeks in advance. And how are they going to get out the advertising for the new date in such a short time? This is messed up. I'd call them and get a real answer. Make them talk to you so they're really uncomfortable. Letters and email are too easy.

#117703 Bracing Kiln For Move

Posted by neilestrick on 02 December 2016 - 05:23 PM

You really shouldn't need any bracing inside. It won't hurt to have it, but as long as the outer body bands are good and tight so the bricks can't wiggle, the bricks can't fall inward. New kilns don't ship with any sort of interior supports.

#117694 Magic Ingredient / Simple Ingredient Change To Turn Cone 10 Glazes To Cone 6?

Posted by neilestrick on 02 December 2016 - 03:32 PM

Some glazes will drop to 6 with as little at 4% Gerstley.

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#117633 Silicone Caulking Cure Time?

Posted by neilestrick on 01 December 2016 - 05:53 PM

Yep, give it 24 hours + to be safe.

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#117499 Drying Time

Posted by neilestrick on 29 November 2016 - 02:36 PM

I find that I can turbo dry mugs with handles in the kiln just fine. Pots can dry fast as long as they dry evenly. You can get away with a lot if you have thin, evenly thrown pots. I recently made a small kiln load in 4 1/2 days from thrown to boxed up and ready to ship.

#117490 Long Lasting Vent Ducting

Posted by neilestrick on 29 November 2016 - 12:53 PM

I've been testing a black thermoplastic vent ducting for more than 2 1/2 years now, and it's held up great. You can get it at McMaster-Carr HERE (link is for 3" but you can get it in any size). It's rated for 250F, so plenty high for kiln venting. I've used it for at least 550 firings and it's still as soft and flexible as the day I installed it, even where it connects down under the kiln. It costs about 4 times more than the aluminum semi-rigid ducting that comes with most vent systems, but it's way more durable and last a lot longer. You can actually step on it without hurting it.

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#117469 Arrowmont Fire

Posted by neilestrick on 29 November 2016 - 08:30 AM

He just posted another report. Hughes Hall, Wild Wing and the maintenance shed are total losses. Everything else is fine.