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perkolator

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  • Birthday July 18

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  1. 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.
  2. I have no science behind this, but if you're crash cooling at the top end of your temp you're going to end up pulling in significantly cooler air through your peep holes - could possibly thermally shock hot elements and brick local to the peeps. I do it because I already know I'll be working on my kilns continuously through the year, some home ceramicists might not ever touch their equipment until it breaks. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. I've been known to crash cool the student's work in a big gas kiln firing - just leave the damper and burner ports fully open and remove the spys. Below maybe 500* I'll crack the door open and put on the blowers. Usually this is only when we are on a time restriction, usually for critique.
  3. For crash cooling I usually let the students pull spy plugs below 600*. Crack the lid with a piece of soft brick when it's below maybe 400*. Fully open lids at 250* or lower and unload with gloves if need be. Typically leave vent on until room temp.
  4. For a damp box it likely won't make any difference since I'm assuming it's the type with just a slab of plaster. If it's slip casting molds then it likely would. I've always known regular gypsum plaster to be "weaker" than the Pottery #1. Your mold will degrade faster and won't hold the detail as long. I also think they have different absorption rates.
  5. since we essentially duplicate the process of forming rocks, all of our ceramics is permanent and will be here until it melts again with some great force of energy. maybe some sort of ultra hot explosion from warfare, volcano or lava flow, or perhaps heat from asteroid colliding with Earth. with that said, there is a lot of terrible ceramics out there that will be here forever.
  6. our students do this all the time with both commercial tile and dinnerware from thrift stores. simply use low-fire commercial glazes and underglazes. decals also work. definitely make sure you test fire the object at the temp you plan on firing to BEFORE you do your entire kiln full of them - sometimes we'll come across a random tile or plate that looks all good, only to find a puddle where it sat in the kiln. also, not all colors work with this technique - for example greens with chrome sometimes don't fuse well or flux out with the existing glaze
  7. 10% is right about the starting point you want to use any mason stain in glazes, slips, clays, etc if you want to get the intended color.
  8. mortar and pestle? i would also try calcining it like suggested.
  9. pretty much any white slip recipe can be made into a colored slip. for most natural oxides you will use the same percentages you would in glaze recipe (so like 2% for cobalt carb = blue) if using a mason stain, you'll want to be up near 10%. my go-to basic white slip recipe is equal parts (25/25/25/25) of EPK, OM#4, Silica, and Custer Feld. you can easily tweak this recipe with flocculants/deflocculants or suspension agents to get the consistency you desire. this slip can be used at pretty much any temp range. for a raised slip/heavy surface texture, i prefer "Arnie's Fish Sauce" and i believe it's a midrange/stoneware recipe. Mix it THICK, like yogurt or even cream cheese. this can also be colored. 43.6 Grolleg 15.6 Silica 23.4 F-4/Minspar/soda spar 7.8 Pyrax/Pyrophyllite 9.5 Bentonite
  10. wow, that's crazy! we've accidentally and purposefully fired coins in the kiln before, but never had any results like this. gonna have to do some experimenting!
  11. one of our faculty has a large AIM oval kiln that is over 15yrs old. she fires it all the time and never had any problems with it until a couple years ago when she burned through a couple sections of elements with glaze drips. to my knowledge, it's only had the elements replaced the one time (all of them), 2 relays, and one kiln sitter tube assembly - I would say that's a pretty good kiln. one thing I really like about the AIM is that it has clamping connectors for the elements instead of crimped like on a Skutt - I'm guessing it's slightly less efficient in terms of resistance, but sure is a WHOLE lot easier to work on. I will admit though - trying to get those elements for this kiln was a chore and took several weeks - so I guess AIM still has a little bit of residual issues on their end. If I were to recommend a new kiln to someone it most likely won't be an AIM, but instead one of the currently better-known makes like a Skutt or L&L, etc. most 120v kilns I see are all kiln-sitter type and they should all fire the same with this type of controller. chamber size:elements ratio is pretty much equivalent between all of them so you really shouldn't see much difference. also x2 on watching the voltage requirements - I have an old Cress 120v kiln that I wasn't able to use for a long time because it takes a 30A plug that I didn't have.
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