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About hitchmss

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    Sam Hitchman
  • Birthday 01/20/1987

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  • Location
    Cincinnati, OH
  • Interests
    Making pots, hunting, fishing, making different foods from my harvests. Like to cook and bake. Enjoy music a lot; its a studio must have. Classic cars, working with my hands. I like to build things. Even though I am not nearly anything close to an engineer, I like to play at it; creating new projects for myself that arent clay related keep me from losing my mind. Metalworking, blacksmithing. Nature constantly inspires and amazes me.

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  1. The old studio had a kiln line run which was close to 90'; the new shop kiln runs are around 20' a piece. With all the money I spent building the new studio, buying the proper wire size for a few hundred $ is not a concern. Only AL lines run in the building are the SEU/SER mains; cost difference isnt THAT great, and like you say, the hassles of a bulkier and more prone to corrosion wire offsets that expense immediately. Its great to know that the info provided from the techs at Olympic was misleading! I was basing wire size for Amaco off of what was posted by manufacturer, and then using wire ampacity charts to deduce breaker size. I understand sizing a breaker larger than the full amp continuous load to avoid accidental trips like high amperage starting draws like on a compressor motor, but I also dont understand why you'd size a breaker larger than what the wire is able to handle; i.e running a 60 amp breaker on a wire designed to handle 55 amps. I know the wire I have installed is sized according to manufacturer specs; the breaker is a 50, not a 60, which is not a big $ or time to fix so I can do that easy enough. Unfortunately the evenheat does not have a serial plate; assuming it was on the control box/cover which was not with the kiln when I got it. There was a scrap of paper which has some info written on it, which one would assume is correct, but then assumptions......Written info states 208V-3 Ph, 32.3 Amps, 11,645 watts. The data I got for the 55 amps at 240/1 ph is from evenheat's website for current kiln model. This is the kind of info that I have very little, practically 0 knowledge about, hence the post. Just spoke with evenheat about just buying all brand new components and they're thinking around $1700, which is much more than I want to spend on a kiln I dont really need to fix, and much more than the cost of a new/lid floor to rehab the Amaco which operates fine. Darn shame because it would have been nice to assemble a larger functioning kiln out of the two for maybe 50% of that cost, but with all the unknowns like @Bill Kielb & @neilestrick pointed out Id probably spend more than it worth trying to fit parts together that werent designed to go together. Now instead of turning the amaco into a raku kiln, Ill turn the evenheat into one and have a much larger raku than I need! Only thing lost in this impulse venture is a little time and effort. I appreciate the advice!
  2. The new circuit which I had run for the Amaco kiln (proposing to use for Evenheat conversion) is a copper #6 nmb which is rated for 55 amps.
  3. Hey gang, long time no talk; been working on the new shop and finally got it "done" in January. Will post some pics in the near future of the finished shop. Anyways, reason for my post today. During the move from old shop to new, the old Amaco EX270SF kiln had its floor and lid die. The kiln was practically free about 15-18 years ago, and has seen many a miles of good bisque temp service (original elements if you can believe that!). Anywho, looked at a replacement lid/floor for it and I was looking at a few hundred $. Talking with a friend who is moving her community studio to a new building and she offered up parts from her kiln/bone yard. Wouldnt you know it there was a in pretty dang good condition Evenheat RM2-2929D shell free(nothing is ever free, I know!) for the taking. The Evenheat kiln looks like it got rammed by something and dented the stainless jacket pretty good, and whomever originally owned it, robbed all the control components (including feeder wires....only element pigtail ends sticking out), and likely just bought a new shell. The damage to the jacket bulges the interior brick slightly, but nothing I cant fix, or just live with. It needs a few odds and ends; lid support arm, lid hinge pin.......simple stuff I can fabricate or buy for very few $. Heres the thing; Evenheat was originally a 208/3phase kiln, and the Amaco is a 240/1 phase. Im wanting to take the control box from the Amaco and pop it onto the Evenheat....I know, I know. The 208/3 phase elements which are in the Evenheat still (need to check continuity first, but at a glance they look in good shape) will burn out relatively quickly, which Im okay with. This kiln conversion would be used just for bisques at ^06, as I have another electric which I can use for any electric glaze firing I might ever do (normally fire gas for glaze), so I may get more life out of them with the lighter load at bisque only temps, but when they die, I replace them with 240/1 phase elements and all will be right in that department. Heres my questions; will the Amaco Select Fire controller monitor and operate normally, even though it would now be on a larger kiln? It is a single zone kiln currently, and would stay that way, so I assume (because I dont know THAT much about controllers) that it would just be sensing temperatures, and applying load as it needs, based on the program selected. Secondly, I have not counted the number of elements between the two kilns, so am not sure if I would have to add another relay to the kiln or not; essentially this is a 1027-1227 conversion so I could follow wiring diagrams for a 1227 and just plug and play in this regard. Right? Regarding increased load/circuitry on the Amaco Control box/controller/wiring; The line circuit I have run already was designed around max temp for the Amaco (50 Amp, 240/1phase), and Evenheat specs 56 Amps at 240/1phase, so technically my circuit is undersized, however this kiln would on be seeing bisque temps, so Im assuming the line circuit is adequately sized. I have never come across a chart which shows the amperage load for a given temperature range, which would clarify this better. However, I know I had a situation with my big oval at my previous setup which was similar; had an excessively long run(~90') from main panel to kiln location; based on that distance and max load for the Olympic oval I was looking at a #4 or larger wire, which $$ and difficulty prompted me to call Olympic and inquire. Spoke with techs there, and they confirmed that since I was only firing bisque temps that I could stick with the cheaper and more manageable #8 wire, which worked flawlessly for years. So Im making the assumption based on that experience that my current 50 Amp circuit is good. Similarly, the plug from the Amaco Control box should manage the load since it wont be seeing any more amperage than my circuit, and the cord, is designed for. Lastly, the control box/enclosure from the Amaco is too small to encase all the wiring for the Evenheat, so I know Id be looking at either fabricating a new one, or buying a new enclosure. With all that in mind, does it make sense $$ wise to try and reuse all the components from the Amaco as much as possible, or just buy a new control box from Evenheat and reuse controller if it would operate normally. I know Im looking at buying new feeder wires, crimps, and thermocouple regardless. Maybe buying new relays entirely, or just adding in a new 1, and will have to fabricate some metal components. All in all, it seems a pretty straightforward swap unless Im overlooking something major (which is highly possible). I figured I can also contact evenheat to see if they'd put me in touch with their techs, but since I havent technically spent any money with them, or be willing to provide assistance on building a kiln that would potentially open them up to liability issues, they may be reluctant to provide insights. What do you think? Thanks in advance! P.S.- Since I have to buy new feeder wires/crimps; has anyone found a source for buying these components at a cheaper price than the retailers? i.e. buying in bulk? I know Ill be replacing components on other kilns through the years to come and might as well buy it now and maybe save $$.
  4. Congrats on the new studio build--looks so exciting..and BIG!!!  Looks like Dog approves, as well. 

    1. hitchmss


      Oh mosa has found herself numerous spots which she calls her own. Really if I could just take all my noisy, dusty work outside that would be much better for her! 

      The studio is good sized! 3456 total square feet including a covered parking space for big sprinter van, dedicated packing/receiving/finished goods room, kitchen, bath, woodshop, kiln room, glazing room, spray booth room, main working area, and an office. 

    2. DirtRoads


      Dream building! Beautiful views.  And that dog looks to be one of life's greatest treasures.

  5. I have numerous gel/rubber mats. Definitely decreases the fatigue and strain on legs/neck/back. What health hazards are you referring to regarding "damp" concrete? Excessively damp concrete could lead to mold/mildew growth and lead to respiratory issues but not sure what else you might mean. Floors to have drains in them so I can hose them down regularly to clean so moisture will be added, but not so much that I have concerns about issues relating to.
  6. Ok new album created. Captions to come.
  7. Sorry everyone that I've been MIA recently. Been working on the new studio like mad. Hoping to be finished and up and running by Oct 1. Sitting at a show in MN right now and thought I'd try to upload some photos of the progress. Will keep you posted! Ok will have to try another method to upload images; too much data.
  8. Oooof! During college I tried to rush a bunch of work through for a upcoming show. My slightly damp cone pack blew up, and by the time I reached enough color to notice it, it was long gone. Turned kiln off and unloaded it to get all the shards out; somehow shrapnel from than cone pack made it inside of tight fitting galley style lids. I wish someone could slow motion video record some pots during explosion because it is a force to be reckoned with. I see you've got 3 pyrometers sticking in the side of your kiln which means you more than likely have a "PRHT" function on your kiln.....next time, PReHeaT for a few hours!
  9. Nope. https://cmtcomponents.com/metal-panels/ Scroll down on the page, right hand side there are some pdf's which have profiles of the panels. I like the idea of using the "V" in front of the chimney to divert the water. We dont get HUGE snow loads here in Ohio, but on occasion we do have a couple of feet. Keeping that snow from "ice damming" up due to the heat escaping from the kiln room, around the chimney, and then consequently ripping my chimney off is a slight concern. More probable is that it would melt slowly enough to eventually work its way into any little crack it can find, and then onto my kiln. Ive seen some people who have some seemingly simple solutions to issues like this; no reason you couldnt leave the space around the brick chimney open, install gutter (under the roof) around the perimeter of the hole, and catch and evacuate all the water that comes in. I however like the idea of never allowing it a place to get in at all; sometimes the best solutions are ones that use a combination of "overkill" and "barely any effort".
  10. gold lustre also cant go in microwave or dishwasher, so while it may be "food safe" it may not be easy to use. Also, very stinky when applied; lots of ventilation and breathing protection. Also very expensive too.
  11. Your clay and glazes dictate what temp you should be firing to, not what was immediately on hand. Read the labels on your clay boxes and glazes; fire to the recommended cones. Also, if you bisqued to cone 4-5 then your pots likely wont hold the glaze at all; Bisque is usually at the 06-04 range.
  12. Top of arch is approx 5'; damper is located about middle of the chamber, or about 2.5' from the floor. Bottom of my truss is at 10', however, the roof line will be about another 6-7' from the bottom of the truss. I say "about" because while I know where the kiln is going to be sitting, and how much pitch there is in my roof (4/12), without some graph paper and some time, Im spitballing. Also, Im going to try and dodge the roof purlins with my chimeny; until the kiln is in place, not sure how far off my exterior wall the chimney stack will be, which can dictate the height to roof line. The bottom cord of my truss is lower to accommodate a 10' finished ceiling height, but my eave height is 13'....hence why there is another 6-7' above bottom cord before the roof metal. Best estimate there is 13-15' of chimney ABOVE the damper, before the roof. If I went with the offset chimney pipe design, my first 45* elbow would be 6-8' above the damper. Was planning about a 4-6' straight piece between the two elbows, which would shoot me out past the overhang (1') and gutter (5"), then allow me to continue vertical. @Bill Kielb I will work on getting some temperatures pulled together from my next few firings with the kiln at its current location. Ill have to dig around and find the old pyrometer, or pick up a new one and/or IR thermometer. Not sure if the IR could read a temp through a 1/2" hole drilled into my chimney or not.... Both your concern and @Mark C. 's concern about the reduced draft in my chimney due to the offsets, and angles, has me concerned as well. Last thing Id want to do is spend $2k on expensive chimney parts to find out that it doesnt work like I planned, and is also very difficult to resell. So, because of this, you've got me rethinking, and pretty much decided on going back to a straight stack, and exit through the roof, not the siding. Not only will this most readily assimilate my current chimney setup, but it requires less chimney pipe, thus, it is a little cheaper. I figure Ill use my IFB's to continue the chimney all the way up until about 1-2' below the metal roof, and then make my transition to 10-12" double/triple wall insulated or non chimney pipe, which will require only about 8' total of pipe and no elbows. Ive used the cones to make transitions through roofs for wood stoves in the past, but its always been on a shingled roof with sheathing. The metal roof I have is not corrugated, and not a standing seam in the sense of a raised square seam lap. Metal is a "C-Loc" raised rib panel; ribs are 3/4" high, 9" OC. I think the cone inserted through the roof from underneath will stabilize my chimney pipe, and provide that air movement (capped by a trad storm collar), but I may try a combination of pure silicone caulk, and one of those rubber "boots" like you showed to provide my water tightness. Use the silicone between the flashing of the through the metal cone, and along the seam, and the boot over top.
  13. So as many of you know I am in the process of building my new studio (which is coming along; photos and detailed post to come at the end of it). I am going to move the 65 cu ft downdraft LPG car kiln from the current studio to the new one and I'm wanting to change the way the chimney exits the building. The current chimney has a custom built roof jack which is a series of metal baffles, air space, IFB's, and kaolwool which protects the trusses it's installed in between and the roof sheathing/shingles. It does reduce the chimney from a roughly 12" square (inner dimension) chimney to an 8" round flue pipe, but we've never had any issues with reduced draft on this approx 18' tall chimney. Now, the new studio with have a metal roof, and short of making a new roof jack, which will closely follow the metal panel ridge profiles, and relying on caulk and other flashing methods to maintain watertightness, I am not coming up with a readily available, and cost effective way of make the transition through the roof. Because of this I am wanting to run my chimney through the side wall, by using an "offset" all fuel style chimney pipe kit. My plan is to carry the IFB chimney up to about 7-8' (2-3' short of the bottom of the trusses), then use a chimney pipe cap, and two elbows to shoot a 10-12" round chimney pipe through the wall, out past the soffit/gutter, and straight up about another 4-6' above the gutter, topped with a rain cap. Now I have two concerns which I'd like your advice on; chiefly, what kind of temps have you measured on your chimney flue gasses at different heights above the damper? Duravent who makes the chimney pipe, make a number of different models, some of which will handle continous temps of 1700*F, and peaks of 2,000* for 30 minutes. This assuredly would handle my temps, but I also don't want to spend more than I have to if this is overkill. I8I know I can see the inside of my chimney from my damper opening, and towards the end of my firing I definitely have red-orange heat below, and a inch or so above the damper, but not sure how hot it is from there up? I could take an IR thermometer or thermocouple up to my chimney top and measure there, but still won't know how hot it would be 4-6-8-10' above my damper. I could drill some holes in my chimney and test with a thermocouple but don't want to make holes if I don't have to. Does anyone know what kind of temps I should be expecting on a cone 10-12 Firing lets say 4' and higher above my damper?( Damper is 2' above floor of kiln.....middle of total chamber height of 48"). Second, this new chimney pipe will not reduce from 144 square inches (roughly) to 50 square inches as the current one does, instead it will go from 144 to 80-100 square inches, and the chimney will be about 6' taller than the current one. My inclination is to say that I will have adequate if not excessive draw/draft (which can be controlled with damper) with this new chimney as compared to the current, but ill also have (2) 45* elbows, and about 6-8' of 45* angled straight pipe compared to an all straight chimney, which may impact more than I predict. Should I be concerned about my natural draft /Venturi style big Bertha burners not drawing well with this new chimney setup? Thanks in advance folks! Sam
  14. The way I look at this QOTW is more about my competency in being able to produce objects on the wheel, and not about when I made "good" objects, whether those be for sale, or in comparison to my other works. I also agree that it is more a measure of intensive, focused hours of practice than it is years of dabbling/making/etc. What I tell students is that in the beginning while learning to throw they are going to be "taking" what the wheel and the process gives them; yes they have input, but once things begin to go awry, they do their best to keep it from flopping, and call it good enough. The point at which they are able to sit down, and produce any object they want, in just about any (realistic) size they want, is the point where I consider them to have mastered the throwing process. For me, this took me about my first 8-10 years, and its been another 8-10 years since that point. There are definitely objects or sizes that challenge my skills, but it has become a process like breathing in which I dont have to think about it much, if any, and I just do. While I feel that I have "mastered" the wheel, I definitely do not believe that I have nothing left to learn from the wheel; it is a process in which I will continue to grow in my technical abilities for the rest of my life......i.e for now throwing 15#, 1/4" thick bowls takes relatively little effort, and one day I will be throwing 30# bowls with the same ease. However, many have noted the other exhausting lists of skills that need to be honed to make "generally admirable" work, let alone work that is designed well for its utilitarian purposes; form, surface, glaze chemistry, eutectics, equipment handling, studio management....all these "broad" categories take years/lifetimes to hone.....it took me about 4 years, maybe 200 firings of my gas kiln to truly understand and with relative precision how to predict how each zone of the kiln will react....the next new kiln, will take me likely as long to learn its nuances too. It is these challenges which keep me excited about ceramics. In my area there were a couple of potters who would at shows share a double booth, and would hang these 10' tall banners of themselves with the words "Master Potter__________", yet they both made pots which were adolescent in their maturity at best; while yes, they may have put in the 10,000 hours, a master potter it does not make. I know Ive spent well over 10,000 hours practicing the art of walking, yet I aint bringing home the bacon with my vertical posture!
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