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Everything posted by g-bus

  1. Hi folks, I posted a couple years ago about getting a used Bluebird pug mill I'd purchased ready to sell but have decided to keep it. It was cleaned out to some degree when I got it, and I ran some clay through it a while back just to make sure it worked, but I really have no idea how much it was used and what kind of clay was put through it. I've opened the whole thing up and have been working on getting it as clean as possible since I don't know what kind of clay may be stuck on there, but I'm wondering how concerned I need to be about some small spots of clay. I've been working on cleaning it with wire brushes, wire wheel on my Dremel, steel wool, and have even had the auger soaking in a bucket of water to try to soften up some of the dried clay. I've gotten most of it off but there are still some small spots of clay that just seem like dried glue on there (there really is only a very small amount left, I've been pretty thorough, I'm just being extra thorough). Should I be concerned about this? Is it likely that this clay would come off and get into my clay, and if so could it pose much of an issue, aside from possibly some little spots of color? Don't want some clay that's potentially low-fire getting mixed in with my high fire stuff and possibly compromising it. I'm thinking that if it's being so stubborn about being cleaned off it likely wouldn't come off and get mixed into the new clay. If it is something that I should be concerned about cleaning off does anyone have any suggestions about ways to get this stuff off a little easier? Any chemicals I could try that might break down the clay a bit without damaging the metal? I saw a post about running some really groggy clay through to clean off rust, so that's a possibility. This thing is a bit of a pain to take apart to clean so I'd like to make sure I get it done right so I don't have to do this again for a while. Thanks for the help!
  2. Sorry oldlady, didn't check in on this post for a bit. I ended up finding a piece of a countertop at our local building supply thrift store for $15, so I'm all set there. Thanks for asking though! Still working on getting this thing all put together so I appreciate all of the input, especially about sealing around those holes. Might follow your lead there, or possibly try to paint some epoxy or something in there, and will be sealing the heck out of the edges. If I was keeping it for myself I prob would've gone with some sort of plastic (I have a CXC so luckily not an issue for me), but the person buying it from me wasn't real big on dropping that much additional cash, especially for a starter wheel.
  3. Good call, I think that's how I'm going to go, and just seal the heck out of the edges. The local Re-Store has a nice selection of colors, and I'm giving my friend a much better deal than I realized at first so not really trying to make this harder than it needs to be. This wheel really isn't worth too much effort. Still boggles my mind why Brent thought using exposed particle board was a good idea.
  4. Thanks for the input gentlemen. Thinking replacement is the way to go. Brent wants about $100 for the piece and $75 to ship for the old style, so I'm going to pass on that. Probably end up going with a mix of plywood and HDPE or PVC if I can find a decent deal. I'm not trying to drop $150 for a 1" thick piece of HDPE. I'm going to check with our local plastic processing facility and see if they can help me out. They were super generous when I was teaching Tech Ed and stopped by there to take a tour for potential field trips. Or maybe just go on the cheap and grab a piece of laminate countertop from the Habitat Re-Store. I'll let you know how/if it turns out.
  5. Thanks Neil. Yeah, I was pretty much thinking that replacing it is the way to go. If the damage was just out towards the edge I might be able to do some sort of patch job, but structurally I don't see how I could make that stable. This project just got a lot more involved.
  6. Hey folks, I have an older Brent IE wheel that I'm getting fixed up to sell to a friend. I purchased it used and I think it may have been stored in a shed that wasn't very dry. The table (not sure if that's the proper term for it, but close enough) is like particle board/pressboard/melamine/whatever (why they though it was a good idea to use that around something that routinely gets wets I have no idea) is soft and spongy through a large section of it so I was thinking of possibly trying to cut out that area and fitting in a couple of pieces of plywood glued together. It's too big of an area for just wood filler or something like that, and feels like some of it is has really broken down so I doubt wood hardener would help. I'm not sure if the problem extends all the way to the where the wheel head is mounted, but if so I'm thinking I should just try to make a whole new table for it. Yeah, probably more work than it's worth but I'm trying to help a friend out with an affordable wheel. Was thinking the same idea, glue together a few sheets of plywood to get the appropriate thickness and then use the old table as a template to cut it out and match up all of the holes, then a few coats of poly, or if I can successfully get the existing laminate off of the top of the old table I could glue that back on top. Any thoughts, suggestions, potential issues or general input on this? Thanks!
  7. Yeah, the 3/4 plug/receptacle combo had me scratching my head too, thinking maybe somebody did some......creative wiring. But upon closer inspection I saw that the ring, or section, is for an AA-8 B, which apparently does have a different plug configuration than the A-88. Same size, different plugs. And glad Paragon doesn't make their model numbers confusing or or anything (A-88B, AA-8B). Thanks for all the input.
  8. Thanks for all of the input. I finally got around to switching the receptacle back so I could test the outlet on the kiln and it does have power. Just haven't found a matching plug for it yet so will have to hit up some of the local specialty electrical supply places when I have time. But I have included some pics for your enjoyment. Thanks again.
  9. Hello, Another old kiln question. I've got an old Paragon A88-B that I'm getting ready to sell. It has an expansion ring and looks like someone had replaced the plug on the power cord for it with like a 14-20 or something similar (3 flat blades, one round) but the receiving outlet on the kiln is something like a 10-20 (3 flat blades). I've never fired it with the expansion ring installed because of this, but wanted to have a better idea of why it was set up this way before I sell it. I'm guessing that for whatever reason a previous owner was maybe just plugging the expansion ring directly into a matching wall outlet. Maybe the outlet on the kiln for it doesn't work (I probably should've tested that now that I think of it). Any thoughts? I just want to be able to give potential buyers as much info as possible in case they ask. Thanks a lot!
  10. Thanks for the info. That puts the L&L controller right in line with most of the others that I've been looking at in terms of price, but I assume it's quite a bit more involved as far as install goes, correct? If it's basically how Ronfire explained it then that's certainly within my realm of capability, just need to be sure I got all of the correct parts. Hmm, now you've got me thinking.....
  11. If you needed to go a little thicker maybe some pieces of Hardibacker or similar concrete backerboard?
  12. So after pestering you fine folks about rehabilitating on old Skutt 1027 I decided that I really didn't want to put a bunch of time and money into an old kiln that is not in the best shape, and instead am having a kiln rebuilt for me by a semi-local L&L distributer. It's basically a J230 with new electronics and elements, however it has a manual controller. I really want to go with an electronic controller and apparently to retrofit this one with a hardwired version was not really going to be cost-effective so am looking at wall-mount/plug-in styles. From my research it looks like my options would be something like the Skutt wall-mount Kilnmasters, an Orton Autofire, or a Rampmaster for the plug-in styles. And then there's the Electro Sitter, which from what I can determine looks like is a unit that replaces the kiln sitter, and then has the option of going with a few different control panels, of which the Bartlett V6-CF seems to be a pretty solid choice. I do really like the idea of the Genesis, but haven't found that as an option, so would require buying an Electro Sitter with a different control board and then replacing it with the Genesis, but that would be really expensive and kind of a waste for just a little bling on my kiln. Oh yeah, and then there are all those cheap controllers on eBay for under $100, and while I'm sure some are OK for certain uses, I'm pretty skeptical. So, I'm asking for some input and suggestions as to what would be a good option for me (just a hobbyist, not a production potter......yet). Obviously keeping the cost lower is better, but I want something quality that will be reliable and last a while, and that I won't outgrow in a year (even though I know I could get by with just a kiln sitter indefinitely). I'm comfortable doing some light electrical work if need be. Ok, one last thing, should I consider something that will control all three zones independently or just stick with a controller with one pyrometer? Having something that could adjust each zone independently sounds pretty cool, but from what I've read sounds like it can put a bit of extra strain on elements and relays. And if I really had issues with cold spots couldn't I potentially compensate for this by just adjusting the infinite switches, thereby eliminating the need for a 3-zone controller? Thanks so much for your help!
  13. Yep, a lesson I've learned all too well. If anyone has any suggestions of where to order from, or if I should just go straight through Skutt I'd appreciate it. Thanks again.
  14. Ok, guess you guys have convinced me to spring for the legit ones. Was hoping to save a few bucks, but sounds like it's prob worth the money for the longevity and ease of install. When I bought the kiln the guy told me he had a set of elements for it but not with him and he'd send them to me. Several attempts at contact and 2 years later still no elements. Shocker. Thanks again for the input.
  15. Getting ready to order some new elements for my old Skutt 1027 that I've been working on rehabilitating. Had planned on ordering from Euclid but then came across these guys at kilnelements.com. They're asking $44/set with pins and connectors vs. $191 + about $18 for connectors at Euclid, and closer to $300 everywhere else. Haven't been able to find hardly any info on them so curious if they're of comparable quality. Thanks in advance for any input!
  16. Actually I'm pretty sure I ended up using a different clay for the handle. I was practicing pulling handles and I think I ended up going with one that was from a different bucket of clay (I've got a bunch of free clay from different sources that I've been trying to keep organized, but that's not exactly my strong suit). The handle is actually what the glaze is supposed to look like, so it's possible there were some clay/glaze compatibility issues. However most of the inside of the mug came out OK, so more likely it was my application.
  17. I likely did all of the things mentioned: applied too thin/diluted too much, cooled too quickly, and possibly overfired because it was closer to the elements than the cones (manual temp control). I just turned it off when it hit temp for a bit, since it was about 4:15 am and had to work in a few hours. And it was a different clay than the test tiles, but I had another piece in there that was made from the same clay that came out fine. But it only had some clear glaze over underglaze and was sitting in the middle of the kiln. Well thanks for the feedback. I'll just chalk that one off to another learning experience.
  18. Hello, I just did a glaze firing of some test pieces in my little test kiln and one glaze that I used on a mug came out looking awful. I've used this glaze before with success, so wondering what may have caused the problem. I'm relatively new to working with glazes outside of a classroom setting, but haven't seen results quite like this before. I tried looking it up but nothing really fit this particular issue, or maybe I was phrasing my question wrong. Either way, here are the details: I was using Mottled Turquoise by Blick (one of a bunch of jars of glaze I acquired after buying out someone's small home studio), cone 4-7. The glaze had pretty much dried out so I added some water and mixed it up using an old handheld immersion blender. I then applied with a brush (label recommended 3-4 coats), however it was pretty lump and didn't go on very smoothly or evenly. So after the first coat I used a slightly damp sponge to try to smooth out the glaze. I then diluted the jar a little more in hopes of attaining smoother coverage and added 2 more coats. I poured some into the inside since brushing it was a pain, and that actually came out pretty OK. Everything looked good and even, so I fired up the kiln. Fired to cone 5, but was kind of a quick fire, about 9 hours. The glaze came out really lumpy and not even close to turquoise, was more brown. Also, when I picked up the mug I could hear and feel it sort of crackling under my fingers. This leads me to believe there are some sort of adhesion issues, and possibly the clay body and glaze shrinking at different rates. The clay is sort of a mystery clay that I got for free, but everything else I used it for has seemed to have come out fine. I had another glaze produce similar results on a clay that I was very familiar with and was fired in a different kiln. The handle on the mug in question looks good, but pretty much everything else looks terrible. The other pieces fired with it were just test tiles with clear glaze over underglazes and all looked fine. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance! mug1.tiff mug1.tiff
  19. I knew the wire is a much smaller gauge but wasn't sure if it was insulated the same. I've got of bunch of various sizes of wire laying around the house so was wondering if I could just use some of the appropriate gauge, but I kind of figured it would require something that could tolerate the temps they'd be in proximity to. Also, this doesn't really seem to use a wiring harness, just individual wires, but I think they could all use replacing, just to be safe. The current plug on it is a 10-50, rather than a 6-50. Not sure if this was a modification by a previous owner or if it is just a really old model. Should I just switch it to a 6-50 when I replace the cord? Figure it wouldn't hurt to have a more modern setup there, especially if the outlet were to be used for something else in the future. The outlet I had installed is a 10-50 to match the current cord, as I was assuming that whatever plug was on the kiln was the correct one. But from what I understand it seems this is a pretty old configuration and may not ground properly, at least on the original versions. I couldn't find any dates on it anywhere but imagine the serial number could be some sort of clue there. Thanks again for all of the help!
  20. Thanks, that's pretty much what I was wondering, if the wiring was rated to a specific range. The one that is/was on the kiln is a 2/6 and 1/8 (the 8 ga being the ground), but I assume going with all 6 would be fine. Plug is different too, but I figure that isn't really a big deal either. Is it safe to assume that all of the other wiring is pretty standard, since it's not carrying the kind of load that the power cord is?
  21. Thanks for the info so far. Sorry, I guess I probably should've listed all of the info for the power cord. 6 AWG 2/C 8AWG 1/C Type ST 105° C.
  22. Hi folks, I purchased two used kilns from somebody that basically buys out estate sales and then sells the stuff off, so got a decent deal (I think). I plan to sell one and keep the Skutt 1027. Bricks are in OK condition but I plan to do some repair on them, however doesn't seem like any need replacement. It obviously needs new elements, so that's a given, but my main question is about the power cord. Looks like it was maybe touching the kiln while it was on so the sheathing is a bit melted in one spot. I opened up the control box and disconnected the power cord and things look to be in pretty good shape but there is some corrosion on some of the connections so thinking I might as well replace most of the wires and connections while I'm at it. But I digress, so back to the power cord. I took it down to one of the local electrical supply shops and they didn't have a replacement for it (not really trying to spend $90 for a replacement from Skutt). It's a 2 6AWG/1 8AWG cord. Any reason I couldn't just get the appropriate sized wires individually and buy some flexible conduit/sheathing for it? Be a lot easier to just pick that up from the good ol' local big box store, but I want to make sure it's rated for the kind of use it's going to be needed for. The plug seems OK but I figure I might as well replace that while I'm at it as well. Anything else I should consider replacing while I've got this thing taken apart? Here's probably a better question: since some of the elements are damaged and/or missing, how is the best way to test to see if it will still power up properly before I start dropping a bunch of money into it? I do have the proper electrical outlet installed for it. If it seems like it's not going to be worth it financially I might just see if I can sell it to someone trying to do a gas conversion and put the money towards something newer, but considering I got both kilns for $400 I figure even if I have to put in another $400 it's still probably a pretty decent deal. Thanks for the input!
  23. So I left some clay in my Bluebird 440 pugmill with it pretty well sealed up with plastic (or so I thought) for about a month. Clay still felt somewhat soft, but had obviously hardened up a little bit. I tried firing it up and I guess it was too dry for the motor and tripped the breaker, and got a nice little scent of hot electronics with a little puff of smoke from the motor. I don't think I killed it but I'm sure I didn't do it any favors. It was hard enough that I couldn't pull the housing from around the auger. I poured some water into all of the openings and covered it back up with plastic, hoping to soften the clay up again. Any other suggestions as to dealing with this? How long should I let the water absorb for before trying to start it again and should I add more water occasionally? Thanks for the help! -Greg
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