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  1. You will probably need to hire an electrician to install the power you will need for this kiln - or any kiln that you need to fire to ^6+ But some other considerations would be what sort of glazes and effects you want on your pottery. There are some glazes that benefit from a programmed slow cooling cycle to create crystals and other interesting effects. But if this is not what you are doing, you really don't need an electronic kiln. My first kiln was a used Cress FX23 which uses a kiln-sitter instead of electronic controls, and it fired perfectly every time. I now have a Cress electronic kiln, and have had multiple problems with it. (Also purchased used) I wish I had my old kiln because I really don't need the custom programmed cycles, and since my kiln is not reliable, I am now the kiln-sitter! My first kiln was free, but the second one I only paid $350. I think it's well worth it to try a used kiln first before making that kind of investment on a kiln that may or may not suit your needs. If you are in southern California, Aardvark Clay in Santa Ana has a cork board and I always see used kilns posted for sale. Just a thought...good luck!
  2. Thanks Neil, we are in the process right now of replacing the relays. Pretty sure we did the wiring correctly. Hopefully that will fix it. Appreciate your reply.
  3. I have a used (10 yr old) Cress E23. I've been having problems for awhile and have consulted with tech at Cress for the following. Initial Problem: Kiln not getting up to temp in reasonable time. Bisque fire fine, Glaze (^5) would not get hot enough even after 10 hours on med fast. However all ware was obviously over-fired - I assume from extended time even at under cone temp. Fixes recommended and completed: Replace elements, replace thermocouple. First firing after these fixes was bisque, used pre-programmed ^04, speed slow - all good. (10 hours) Second firing, glaze, used pre-programmed ^5 med-fast. Kiln shut off at temp. I was working and did not hear it click off, but I'm pretty sure it fired to temp, because I checked it after 15 min. and the temp was very close to ^5. I looked inside the peep to see cones, noticed that every other element was still orange. I assumed that this was part of the cooling process, not all elements turning off at the same time. I left it for 5 hours. When I came back out, the temp was still at 1600, and half the elements were still orange. Obviously all the glaze ran off my test tiles, thank goodness I had protected my kiln shelves! If anyone has experienced this problem I would love to know how to fix it. I want to test it again using a self programmed ^5 (John Britt's E1) to see if it will shut down in user-program mode. I will post results from that next. Appreciate any info you can share. Linda
  4. Even though this is an old thread, I'm going to add some information here for anyone looking for more details about mixing mason stains to make colored slip. I've used both Mason Stains mixed with dried porcelain clay to make a slip and Velvet Underglazes as an alternative. This is my opinion: Unless you need many different colors, I feel mixing your own colored slip is better. The mason stains can be expensive depending on the color, but a little dry powdered mason stain goes a long way. (making them economical to use) I usually only need to apply one coat and it is sufficient. The Velvet underglazes are quite expensive (for me) and take 3 coats to get good coverage. They do provide a nice smooth finish, and you can use them right out of the bottle, no mixing and measuring. However a slip made with Mason Stains can provide almost as smooth of a finish if you get all the little lumps out of it, and with only one coat. If there is a high spot, let it dry completely and use some extra fine sandpaper to smooth it out. (A word of caution, always wear gloves when working with mason stains, and if you sand on it, wear a mask). I apply my mason stained slip to leather hard clay. After bisque firing, the mason stains (as well as the Velvets) will be matt. I use a zinc free clear gloss glaze, and fire to ^5 - ^6 in an electric kiln. The colors are vibrant. As others have said, to get the exact color you want you'll have to test. But these are the colors and percentages I use, and that will give you a starting point. Black 10% White 20% Tangerine 5% (fires to a med-orange) Bermuda Blue/Green 12% (pastel, add a bit more for darker color) Chartreuse 40% Dark Turquoise 10% (pastel, add more for darker color) Vanadium Yellow 12% (golden yellow) Violet 40% This is how I mix my mason stains to make colored slip: I use porcelain clay when I throw, and I save all the "shavings" from when I trim. I let these dry completely, and then grind them (wear a mask!) in a mortar and pestle into a fine powder. Using a gram scale, I start with 50g of powdered clay. Then add the mason stain according to the percentage. (In this example if 12% is needed, add 6g of stain.) Mix the mason stain into the dried slip until you have a uniform color. Add water, a little (like a teaspoon) at a time, stirring well, better to have it too thick than too thin to start off, you can always add more water at the end. I mix my slips to the consistency of pancake batter. Let it sit overnight. It will have thickened considerably. Stir it again and get it to the consistency you want by adding more water if necessary. Then pour (more like push and scrape) it through an 80 mesh sieve. This makes a small amount which I like because they tend to dry out and get gunky after about a month or two, and that's about how long it takes me to use it up. (except for black and white and I make 100g batches of those). Dried out slips can be re-constituted, with water, but I find this tedious. I keep my mixed slips in small plastic containers with tight fitting lids, and always give it a few sprays of water before putting it away. (I live in a very dry climate) Hope you find this useful. Cheers. Linda
  5. Thank you all for taking the time to reply to my post. After reading all this, it seems that I should bite the bullet and pay for studio time and use ^10 glaze with a subsequent ^10 firing.
  6. Thank you Preeta, I do believe I'll give it a try. They certainly are not doing me any good sitting in a box in the garage.
  7. Hmmm, the pottery in question is functional ware, mostly mugs, so leakage would be an issue if the clay is not vitrified. BUT, if the mugs are glazed inside, would that keep them from leaking or seeping moisture, at least for an hour while I drink my coffee?
  8. I have a number of bisque fired ^10 clay pieces that I made during a class that used ^10 only. At home, I work with ^5 - ^6 clay, and glazes. Can I take my bisqued ^10 clay pieces, fire them in my kiln to ^ 9 or 10, (without glaze) and then glaze them with ^5 glaze and refire to ^5? I know this is an odd question, and it seems to me it would work in theory, just wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this? I no longer have access to ^10 glazes, and would rather not purchase some just for 6 things. Thanks, Linda
  9. Today at 9 am my wheel head replacement arrived from Skutt. It was only yesterday that I was told they were replacing it, so I was shocked when it was on my door-step this morning. Again I will say Skutt has the most amazing Customer Service I have ever experienced! Can't throw today...other obligations, but will post tomorrow if this has fixed my problem.
  10. ONE FINAL NOTE - I contacted Skutt and they are sending me a brand new wheel head. When they say they have great customer service, they mean it.
  11. Thank you all very much for your feedback. I've done the 180 degree turn and re-seat a dozen times with no change. I will contact Skutt in the morning. I am disappointed to be having the issue, but also glad that it's not me. I was afraid that in making the transition from throwing in a seated position to throwing standing, I had lost my touch! Linda
  12. I was so excited when my husband gave me a brand spanking new Skutt Wheel for Christmas. Now I can throw standing up and it has made a world of difference for my aching back. But I had never used a Skutt before, only Brents. I am experiencing a centering problem - which is possibly my experience level and past 2 years of mostly handbuilding - but also quite possibly the design of the wheel head. (I can center clay pretty easily on a Brent) When I remove the wheel head, the shaft coming up out of the motor has a flat top. The wheel head has a hole on the bottom that fits down over the shaft, but it is conical shaped and I think this may be the problem. It does not "seat" properly. Most of the time, if you put downward pressure on the wheel, it rotates level, but just a little bit too much pressure and I get a tiny wobble which knocks my clay off center. I appreciate any advise you can give me...I am hoping it is something I will get used to. It's difficult to describe exaclty what makes this wobble happen, but I can say that if I grab ahold of either side of the wheel with both hands, I can easily move it up and down from side to side. It is a slight movement, but enough to throw me off center. I was at Aardvark rencently and did this same "test" on a floor model Skutt and it did the same thing, only not quite as much as mine. The Brent however, was rock solid. Linda
  13. I'll try the polyurethane then, as it will brush on easily. Thanks so much!
  14. I need a resist for a new glazing process I'm trying, but don't have any wax resist on hand. Other than melting paraffin wax with oil, does anyone know, can I use a polyurethane varnish or acrylic sealer? I have heard of using shellac, but I don't have any of that either. I fire to cone 6 in an electric kiln.
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