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  1. I'm not suggesting that it's a good idea- I know that it's not- but I DO leave my electric programmable kiln to fire over-night and shut itself down. I do worry about the possibility of losing my studio, but it's a separate old building, on a property 15 minutes from my home. It just doesn't work for me to stay. Mine is a Bartlett controller and you can program an alarm to go off at a particular temperature. I used to set up a baby-monitor next to the kiln and it would beep when I needed to go check. Great feature. For the best repeatable results with a finicky glaze, you should watch the cones and shut it off yourself. But remember that the worst gases for your health are those that you cannot smell, at the end of a firing. Especially in a glaze firing if there are metals in your glaze. No matter what kind of ventilation you have, they're still there. Try not to hang out with a firing kiln any more than you absolutely have to.
  2. The bats may be warped, but is it possible that your wheelhead is not level?
  3. When I was shopping for a new wheel recently I was personally turned off by the fact that everything in the Whisper is electronic. Maybe it's because my Dad is a mechanic and he's always complaining about how the new vehicles have so many electronics and so many more variables to go wrong.They’re also harder to diagnose and fix. I considered that if a belt broke, I could surely replace it myself, but if an electronic part screwed up, I would have to send it in and wait. My budget was on the low side, and I went for a Bailey- with the 2-peice removable, HUGE slash pan. This was a major turn-on for me. It definately has a whir, but that has lessened with use, and I throw partly by sound, anyway. Unfortunately I hadn't used anything but a very old Oscar Paul for 7 years, so I can't offer up much of a comparison, but it sure feels like a dream to me! (Although I still love the splash pan design of my old Oscar Paul the best: removable wheel-head, one piece removable pan. Just big enough for a water bucket and not too big. There's nothing else like it!)
  4. I started out with my back to the windows, facing the room. I have a tiny studio and everything is very tight together so I had to squeeze by the wheel in order to sit down. But I kept it that way until recently, because I liked the shelving on my right side (I'm right handed). Now I'm facing the windows, and I cut myself a shelf-board that fits around the splash-pan, made from plywood, to hold my tools. I have spent a ridiculous amount of time over the years standing around re-examining the layout and rearranging so I could fit in another piece of equipment or set of shelving. My studio is 15' x 15' and I have a 16 cu. ft kiln, a 3.7 cu. ft kiln, a pugmill, a slab-roller, 2 wheels, a long work-table, and 5 shelving units (~3' each) in there. Don't ask me how.
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