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Everything posted by perkolator

  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. Have you visually inspected the elements to see if there are any breaks? You can also do an Ohm test. Could also be wiring or a relay inside control box. I recommend you go look at L&L tech section of their website and read through their troubleshooting knowledgebase. Even if you don't learn the exact problem, you'll learn a lot about your kiln and how it operates. 78 firings is pretty good! Mostly firing low-fire?
  3. Try ITC-100, it's a refractory coating that you can apply on elements. Never used it on elements personally, but it's good stuff for coating most types of kilns/forges as an additional protective and insulative layer.
  4. Sweet. I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Must be nice with the digital controller on such a small kiln. Ours have sitters and VERY easy to blow your work up inside such a small unit if not paying attention.
  5. I would suggest simple 1" thick cordierite shelves. Almost twice the thickness of regular 5/8" thick shelves, so shouldn't really warp on you at ^6 unless you're putting considerable of weight on it, in which case it'd likely crack first.
  6. Go for it. To me they are useful if you have space and budget for them. We have two test kilns in our inventory, they get used all the time for quick next-day test results. Ours are Skutt 614 and Skutt 609, both with kiln sitters. Just a little bit bigger, our Skutt 818 gets used A LOT for a test kiln since it fits "regular sized" items inside. If I had the space, I'd go for something this size.
  7. I get mine at Office Max. It's usually right next to the poster/wall tack - also works great for temporary hold on ceramics
  8. I'm very familiar with these types of systems, most woodworkers have them. it's the one that gets plumbed to an outdoor unit that I thought you were talking about.
  9. I'd personally end up doing what I saw in a Korean onggi video if I didn't want to deal with dust or small 5-gal reclaim batches. If you can do it, store your reclaim in trash cans and wait until the weather clears (or do it somewhere indoors i suppose). They can be outdoors since you said no space inside. Simply pour/scoop out your reclaim slurry onto a big plastic sheet/tarp, let it evaporate to the consistency you like, then cut strips and roll it up like sod grass. Run these through your pugger and store them/use them. To me it seems like much less work than doing smaller batches.
  10. I'm very interested in seeing how this works out for you. I would personally do it, it's a great idea. Dunno why I never even thought about central vacuum system for our studio before reading this, I've never had one in my home but my parents neighbors had one when I was growing up and they loved it. Vaccum and evacuation/ventilation systems are what I'm trying to get funding for to add into my studio to upgrade what we've got now. Everyone should have at least something, even if it's just a box fan pointed out the window. Currently we have a very nice and very expensive Nilfisk HEPA vacuum. It's an AWESOME vacuum, but the size is ridiculous (it's around 3'x3'x4') and not practical for doing certain tasks. Having a port I can simply plug a hose into every 20ft or so, instead of wheeling around that monster would be fantastic and maybe the students would actually clean! hahaha yeah right! I was just at KC Art Institute ceramics lab last week and I was oogling over their central dust collection system too. Not sure if theirs has enough suction for vacuum purposes, but every room had ducting pulling negative pressure and they also had individual work-station extraction arms tied into the same duct system so you can do tasks with dry powder right in your face without a respirator. So jealous!
  11. Xiem bulb tool is pretty nice applicator. comes with several sized tips and cleaning tools - I think it's much better than a drugstore snot sucker and it's less than $20, but those still have their place in studio. One of my fav stand up slips is Arnie's Fish Sauce Slip, you can go REALLY thick
  12. The only one I know of currently available anymore is one made by Leslie Ceramics/IMCO and that's for USA/California. I think a lot of companies stopped producing them because there's too much risk since consumers are so "sue-happy" these days. Quite unfortunate. Good luck finding one in the UK, can't help there.
  13. Wow, yeah your stuff's gonna last decades! Bat pins are easy enough to wire brush off when they get left to rust in a bucket of water, lol. Mine are just standard allen bolts. ACE hardware sells replacements for like $2 a complete set with wing nuts. Wood tools and stuff, I've never seen any issue other than when you leave them sitting in water for extended periods of time. Even then just dry them out, maybe a quick sand and they're good to go.
  14. From the locations you mentioned, I would personally stick with the sun room for a studio space. There is something to be said about being able to simply hose out your studio. Put everything on casters so you can easily move it aside and hose out, then squeegee and put it all back. Can't do that in a basement. Also, you gotta walk all your equipment and clay materials not only down the stairs to the basement, but back up too, no thanks. For clay concerns, just make sure your studio gets cleaned at least weekly if not daily. A simple sponge wipedown every evening takes less than 5 minutes and you get to walk into a clean studio to work in the morning.
  15. on all my Skutts, I think I've found the actual temp has to be lower than the start temp in order to modify the firing like this. I do this often when extending a pre-firing hold on a kiln, have to let it drop well below the start temp in order to have computer "like" what I am trying to do.
  16. Are you looking for a commercial glaze or a recipe for a glaze that will do that effect?
  17. ^same here. On right after I turn kiln on, off when cool and unloading.
  18. I would never personally bisque cone packs. My theory is that when you re-fire ceramics the "maturation temp" so to speak goes down a little each time you re-fire. So if ^04 was originally at 1941* the first time, it might be 1925* the second time, etc. I'd never want to compromise the device that is measuring the maturation temp in the kiln, so I'll never bisque cone packs. The standard is to either make cone packs in advance so they are bone dry, or to perforate the clay with hundreds of pin holes to allow steam to escape quickly. In our studio we simply use kiln putty/kiln wadding to embed our cones in, instead of regular clay. It's the same material we use between bricks and shelves in our stack, since our biggest two kilns are a shuttle and a trackless, with literally tons of weight on them and plenty of vibrations - the wadding helps dampen vibrations and also level shelves against bricks. I've stuck freshly made cone packs and kiln gods and small wadding sculptures directly into all types of firings and have never seen it crack, split, blow up, etc. It's an expensive material since it's a consumable that's only used for firing. Kiln wadding recipe: 1 Silica 1 EPK/Clay 1 Grog
  19. 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.
  20. I second trying a non-ceramics supplier for their silicon carbide. Lapidary supply, glasswork suppliers, maybe sandblasting, etc should all carry it. I want to say our print lab gets their SiC for grinding/polishing lithography stones from a print/litho supplier. The only issue I see with buying from a non-ceramics source is they might categorize the SiC based on GRIT size vs MESH size. I'm not sure on the conversion, there should be info online about this. I know our print lab has as fine as 800 grit I think, which is pretty fine.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Add an whitener/opacifier to your slip: zircopax, superpax, opax, ultrox, tin, etc etc etc
  24. You can use either Frit, Gerstley Borate, or make an underglaze with equal parts clay color and flux. Frits, being fired material usually leave a gritty/sandy texture to the wash, some people use CMC, laundry starch, karo syrup, etc to help. Usually I use GB and CMC gum solution, sometimes add a little bit of EPK in it too. Look up Linda Arbuckle's majolica notes, she's got a lot of suggestions for combos of washes. Most are by volume, not weight. Here ya go: http://lindaarbuckle.com/handouts/majolica-handout.pdf http://ceramicsweb.org/articles/arbucklemajolica.html
  25. Like this? This round was pizza bagels but concept is the same. I would NOT recommend this in a top-loading electric kiln, way too dangerous IMO. Heat up to around 900*, pizzas cook in just a few minutes like a wood pizza oven. Use clay pizza stones or a brand new kiln shelf w/o wash, definitely use heat resistant PPE. After the first time I singed my eyebrows getting too close I decided it was time to make a pizza peel, WAY safer I wouldn't worry about any toxicity unless you exclusively cook all your meals in your kiln. We all likely breathe more harmful stuff just walking through the clay studio with a dirty floor, breathing in a big city, walking past an idling car in a parking lot, sitting in traffic, etc.
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