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Dick White

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  1. The energy regulator is also known as a simmerstat, as you've noted, but also called an infinite switch (because there are an infinite number of heating rates depending on where you point the knob, compared to other switches that are on-off or low-medium-high). It is a common switch type in kilns, so you might be able to use one from a different brand of kiln. Also, this type of switch is commonly used in kitchen electric stoves. Perhaps an appliance repair shop has something comparable.
  2. Is the energy regulator failed or just the gnarly connection? It might be that the cover of the regulator looks ugly but it works inside. Try pulling that connection apart, clean up the tab on the regulator, and cut the connecting wire back to good wire and put a new connector on the wire. You will need to fix that wire no matter if you get a new regulator or not. But that may be enough to get it working again.
  3. Fine with me too. It's an interesting additional level of glaze chem. Thanks Bob for originating it.
  4. Cobalt does that in some glazes. I don't know why, just that it is a common problem.
  5. The only way to know is to test it on you clay body. Some glaze recipes are quite robust and work over a wide range, and others are finicky within a narrow range. Even ones that are represented by the seller as having a wide range may respond differently on different clay bodies, both as to color and fit (shrinkage) over the range of temperatures.
  6. Chrome-tin glazes are opaque enough without the titanium. They also need a high level of calcium. Take out the titanium and put back the calcium carbonate, but only for the chrome-tin glaze. For the blue one, 4.5% cobalt is a lot for a glaze to keep in against acid and alkali attack. Take one of your blue pieces and set in sideways in a bowl of vinegar so that only half of it is in the vinegar. Leave it there for a few days and then wash it and let it dry completely. If the side that was in vinegar is still the same gloss and color as the other side that was not in vinegar, it is probably ok for use with food. If the side in vinegar is faded, the glaze was attacked by the acid and the cobalt leached out. That's not good for food use. Try some tests with less cobalt (2% or less) and decide if you like the color.
  7. My bad, yes, I used the the wrong sample, the 5g item. Your math is correct, so if it's 2.5g of sugar per 100g of wolly, that hypothetical bucket of glaze would need 3/8 cup of sugar to sweeten it. Even that seems like a lot sugar to put in the bucket. Now that the idea is out, I can do some "line blends" as I mix new batches for the students...
  8. So, from your experiment, it sounds like an addition of table sugar in the amount of 25% the weight of the wollastonite in the recipe will "solve" the clumping? For example, a recipe containing 10% wolly in a 5kg batch has 500g of clumpy wolly. Adding 125g of sugar (about 3/4 cup, one tablespoon weighing 12.5g per Mme Googlefu) will make that recipe fly through the sieve?
  9. I have not tried this, but is this something that could be addressed by calcining it? I use zinc oxide and certain frits that are hydroscopic, causing them to chunk up in the bag/bin. I calcine them to around 900F to remove the moisture but not so hot that they begin to sinter. Then I spin them through a coffee grinder to reduce the chunks back to powder. Just an idea...
  10. I think it is a mistaken typo during the input process, as Min suggests. If you look it up on Glazy, it is labeled as part of the Iron search. If it matters, she is part of the Facebook group on ceramic recipes, and I could reach out to her there to confirm.
  11. Just a sorta-humorous note along these lines... We had been talking about this, and though the college studio where I am a studio monkey was closed because of the pandemic, I suggested to the professor that she should order some to get us through the however long the shortage might be. We reopened yesterday for modified in-person studio work, and there on a cart were 4 bags of it, enough to last us the rest of millenium.
  12. Gare Kilns were taken over by Evenheat. User manuals for the old Gare kilns aren't among those published on the Evenheat website, but if you call them, they are helpful and can get the old manuals out of their archives for you. As for the capabilities of the kiln, some of that should be listed on the electrical rating plate that is attached to the side of the kiln or the control case. If you post a picture of that, we can see what it looks like. dw
  13. Given all the disruption from the pandemic, I am not surprised. As Neil notes, probably the first of the parade.
  14. I will stay out of the discussion on how to make one for the lowest price as I am not a gas tech, but if you are looking to retrofit another gas kiln with the Olympic part, I would be very surprised if they would sell it as a separate unit. There is just too much liability surrounding amateur installation of gas valves and burners. JMO, YMMV.
  15. It appears that some of the photographs on the Olympic website show a kiln sitter device on certain models that presumably operated similar to one in an electric kiln, in that a sitter cone inside would bend, causing the flap to drop, which would trigger something to cause a valve on the main gas line to close, and thus turn off the kiln. However, the sales material only offers an optional electronic control, based on a Bartlett 3-key controller that, that as indicated in the instruction manual, will absolutely shut the kiln down at one of 3 predetermined temperatures (1700F, 2000F, or 2350F) should it overfire. But there is also some noise a few pages later that one can program a single set point as the shutoff temperature of one's choosing (though if you understand ceramic firing, you will know that an absolute temperature and a cone are two very different concepts), plus a hold time at that temperature. So, I would guess that notwithstanding the pictures, the kiln sitter option is obsolete and was replaced by the controller.
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