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Member Since 04 Oct 2011
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 10:11 PM

#68472 Newbie Help On Buying A Used Pottery Wheel

Posted by neilestrick on 23 October 2014 - 07:50 PM

Take classes. There are a million little things you'll do wrong that a teacher can correct while you're learning. You won't be able to do that yourself. By all means buy a wheel and practice at home, but the lessons are very important. There's a lot of crap in the internet that will only confuse and hinder you.

#68342 Adding Brushing Medium?

Posted by neilestrick on 21 October 2014 - 08:44 PM

I have not found bleach to be a good long term preservative. I think that if it was effective, we would see it used commercially since it is way cheaper and safer to store and use than the biocides that are used.

#68297 Kiln Questions

Posted by neilestrick on 21 October 2014 - 03:55 PM

If you have the pieces of bricks that have broken, just use some element pins to hold them in place. When it comes time to replace the elements, replace the entire brick at that point. Kiln cement will most likely not hold the pieces in place, and you'll probably get cement on the elements which is not a good thing. Also pin the elements where the broken grooves are to keep them from flopping out.


If the kiln is rated for 20 amps, it will need a 30 amp breaker. Your clothes dry may or may not work for that, and the plugs may not be the same. I would have an electrician check it al out before doing anything. Do not change out the plug on your kiln unless it's rated for the same amperage, and has the same number of prongs. Some of those older small kilns use a 4 prong plug. Either way, for 2 or 3 pole circuits you can only have one outlet on the circuit, so you'll have to unplug the dryer when using the kiln. If it does work out that you can use the dryer outlet, go ahead and fire it up. If it hits temp then it works.


As for the blank ring, if it's a sectional kiln that has an added blank ring, then the maximum temperature of the kiln will be much lower than without the blank ring. For instance, a cone 10, 7 cubic foot kiln like a Skutt 1027 with an added 4.5" blank ring drops to cone 1. Some kilns have a blank section built into them, in which case the temperature rating on the serial plate will still apply.


Make sure the kiln is 18" from anything combustible and 12" from anything not combustible.


You'll need shelves and posts. Get them locally if you can since they're expensive to ship.


Call Aim if you have specific questions about that kiln.

#68099 Every Once In A While,

Posted by neilestrick on 18 October 2014 - 03:23 PM


#68064 Recentering Issue, Trimming Problem

Posted by neilestrick on 18 October 2014 - 08:58 AM

The other issue with the GG is that if you're using the sliders that hold the pot at the lip, then the lip is being centered, not the foot. The foot is where you're trimming, so that's where it needs to be centered. No matter how perfectly centered it is when you throw it, differences in drying will cause it to become slightly off by the time you trim. Ditch the Giffin Grip and learn to tap center. It's faster, and you can get the foot centered.

#67973 Getting A Bit Of Sheen On A Raw Fired Surface?

Posted by neilestrick on 17 October 2014 - 10:12 AM

I would not put olive oil or any other vegetable oil on the pots as it can/will go rancid, If you want to oil them go with mineral oil, which is food safe and won't rot.


Burnishing can work if you have a smooth body, but at cone 6 it will burn off most/all of the shine. Terra sig is definitely worth a try.

#67928 L&l J230 Maual Kiln

Posted by neilestrick on 16 October 2014 - 04:17 PM

I can carry the sections of those kilns by myself, and I'm not a very big guy.

#67861 L&l J230 Maual Kiln

Posted by neilestrick on 15 October 2014 - 05:08 PM

Gotcha, does the controller mount to more than one ring of the kiln? what tools will I need to to take it off?


The control box probably mounts to just one section, and there are jumper cords that connect the other sections to it. I would take both a phillips and slotted screwdriver to be safe. I would also take a pair of needle nose pliers and standard pliers as you may need them to get the hinge apart (cotter pins and such). It just depends on what year it was made as to what type of parts it will have on it. With those 4 tools you should be set though. L&L doesn't usually use any hex head screws, but if you have a set of nut drivers take them with you.

#67832 L&l J230 Maual Kiln

Posted by neilestrick on 15 October 2014 - 07:56 AM

If you plan to move it on the pallet, you will definitely need a pallet jack and lift gate. I would uncrate and disassemble it. That way you could move it in a an SUV or van. It would also give you a chance to inspect it.

#67784 L&l J230 Maual Kiln

Posted by neilestrick on 14 October 2014 - 10:32 AM

Sorry, I was out of town since Thursday. If it's truly an unused kiln, then that's a major deal even if you find something wrong with it. When you get it home go through everything and make sure critters haven't gotten to it.

#67506 Tea Pots Cracking Violently

Posted by neilestrick on 09 October 2014 - 08:22 AM

It could be that the spout and/or handle attachments provide a weak spot for the cracking to begin, or that they create additional stresses to the form that make them easier to crack.

#67031 Raku Kiln- Highest Cone Temp

Posted by neilestrick on 01 October 2014 - 03:26 PM

you don't experiment with anything else in it? ever?


Nope. It's built for raku. I could maybe get up to cone 6 with it, but I doubt it would go to 10. It's just not insulated well enough for that. I've got my electric kilns for most of what I do. No reason to use it for anything but raku.


Raku kilns are made for firing fast to low fire temps. They are generally not insulated well enough for high fire, nor do they typically have the type of control needed for good reduction firing. They are drag racers, made for going fast for a short distance. They are great for what they do, but you wouldn't drive one to get groceries.

#66861 What Is Causing The Black Zits In My Glaze?

Posted by neilestrick on 29 September 2014 - 11:57 AM

I fire a few thousand pounds of 112 in my studio every year, and occasionally get some pinholes/craters/globs like that, but only on the glazes that I know to be a bit unstable, like fake ash glazes. Firing your glaze to cone 6 may be just what it needs to settle down a bit.

#66668 I Got 84 Kiln Brick But A Reduction Ain't One.

Posted by neilestrick on 26 September 2014 - 01:35 PM

In theory a thinner wall can work. The round updraft kilns like the Olympic Torchbearer models function with 3" brick, after all. However they have the benefit of being strapped together by the outer sheet metal skin, which keeps gaps and air leaks to a minimum. And even then they are very inefficient and uneven. If you were to dry stack IFB in a 3" wall configuration as a rectangle it would be quite leaky, even with angle iron on the corners. All the little leaks ad up to quite a bit when dealing with high fire. In theory it will work, but in practice I think it won't. At the very least you would need to mortar the joints. If you search the forum you'll find many many posts about people trying to get to high fire temps with shortcut kilns and they always have problems. If you're looking for something to tinker with, and have the time and money to waste on something that may or may not ever work, then by all means have fun with it and give it a try. Tinkering is one of my favorite hobbies, too. But if you're trying to build something on a budget and need it to work, then wait for more brick, like several hundred, and build a proper kiln. Even if you just got another 150 and invested in some rigid board for the outer layer you could have a nice little functional kiln.


I built and fired a small salt kiln in grad school that was big enough for one 12x24 in shelf- 27 inches tall with 27" x 22.5" interior. It was a simple cross draft with a hole in the top corner for an exit flue, and one power burner. The top was kiln shelves covered with firebricks. It fired like a charm and gave great results. But even that little kiln, which I wouldn't go any smaller than, took 500 bricks.

#66666 I Got 84 Kiln Brick But A Reduction Ain't One.

Posted by neilestrick on 26 September 2014 - 11:43 AM

There's no such thing as enough bricks.....