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Everything posted by neilestrick

  1. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Owens-Corning-FOAMULAR-150-1-in-x-4-ft-x-8-ft-R-5-Scored-Square-Edge-Rigid-Foam-Board-Insulation-Sheathing-20WE/207179253 Comes in several thicknesses.
  2. Put in a new thermocouple, and double check that all the connections are tight. I often see the wires get broken in side the porcelain block if they get wiggled around too much, or the screws are over tightened.
  3. Glue up sheets of house foam- the pink or blue stuff they put on the outside of houses under the siding- then carve them down to the shape you want using a rasp or sander.
  4. Just dip the rims in water and wrap the pots in plastic for half an hour. Repeat as needed.
  5. Explosions happen from water in the pots turning to steam. Even bone dry pots still have some moisture in them, so if you're firing too quickly for the thickness of your pots, the water doesn't have a chance to evaporate out before it gets hot enough to turn to steam. A few hours preheat will dry things out. Also stack your pots in the kiln upside down whenever possible, as that will get more heat to the foot, which is where most explosions happen.
  6. The Rodhe is 60 liters, the Nabertherm is 80 liters. @OlgaBiff According to their web site, the Rodhe is only rate to cone 7, which would explain the problems with firing to cone 6 regularly. you'd basically be maxing out the kiln every time you fire, which means that when the elements wear even a little bit it won't hit temperature. You'll be replacing elements a lot more often than with a cone 10 kiln. The Nabertherm looks to be rated to cone 10. It appears that both have solid state relays, which means long relay life and longer element life than what I just said. I know that Nabertherm kilns are not easy to work on, because all the electronics are buried inside a shallow box under the hinge and it's a very complicated wiring system compared to most kilns. You probably won't need to do much with that, though, and their customer support seems to be pretty good. I've never worked on a Rodhe, so I can't help there. Just based on max firing temp I'd go with the Nabertherm. You'll get used to the controller once you use it a few times.
  7. Handiness is a secondary benefit to having gone through college ceramics programs. We never had much of a budget, so if we needed something like table or shelving, we built our own. When things needed fixing, we did it ourselves. In grad school we even ran our own plumbing for the gas kilns to save money. It drove the facilities guys nuts, but we always passed inspection.
  8. Can you post pictures of the pieces? It could be slumping from getting too hot, or movement from the slab construction.
  9. Sitter tube length also depends on the depth of the box that it's mounted in. So a model LT-3K sitter could use tubes of varying lengths depending on how the kiln is constructed.
  10. I rarely ever pay someone to fix things, especially in the studio. At home I will hire someone only if it's an extreme situation that's beyond my ability as an accomplished DIY'er, like if I need a new roof. I enjoy fixing things, though, so it's not a problem. You either need to be handy or need to be able to write a check.
  11. The only way to guarantee that a kiln has shut off when it was supposed to is to check it. That's true for any kiln, digital, manual, etc. So you're doing it right!
  12. You'll need access to a kiln. There's nothing you can just paint on and not fire that would be food safe and durable. Your best bet is to take some pottery classes so you can learn about kilns, glazes, firings, etc.
  13. I think she's planning on keeping the outlet as is so that the dryer can still be used with it.
  14. Are you talking about a plate that has already been glazed and fired?
  15. If you have the recommended clearances, you don't really need to worry about the walls, but for peace of mind cement board can be used to create a non-flammable layer on the wall. If you put an air gap between the cement board and the wall board that would be best. The floor is the main issue, and 2 layers of cement board extending 12" beyond the kiln works well and doesn't raise the kiln height much.
  16. It's not just about life span, it's about how well it can handle the heat near the kiln. The last thing you want is the wiring getting hot, as that does cause a dangerous situation. A lot will depend on the design of the kiln as to how well the cord is insulated from the heat of the kiln. I have seen many kilns where people have put 90C cords on them, but 105C is recommended. If you use the 4 wire cord, you can just cut the white wire short and tape it off so the end can't make contact with anything.
  17. Call the Potter's Shop in Waukesha and they'll set you up with what you need. Your choices with low fire clay are pretty limited. You're generally looking at white clay or red clay (terra cotta), both of which are available in smooth or groggy versions.
  18. Kiln power cords should be rated to 105C. Most power cord you can buy at home centers and hardware stores are only rated to 90C. If your kiln uses ring terminals to connect the cord to the kiln system, they should be high temp connectors. You can get 105C power cord online at McMaster Carr- just search for SEOOW Cord. You'll need 3 wire cord rate for 30 amps. Keep the cord as short as possible. You can probably get the plug at Home Depot or such. When you hook it up, you'll be hooking up the 2 hots and 1 ground, and leaving the 1 neutral blank. Make sure you're hooking in to the correct connections on the plug for those wires. Or you can buy this.
  19. Cones will be far more accurate than a pyrometer unless you can track your rate of climb during the last 200 degrees and compare that to a cone chart to see what temp you need to hit. Cutting a hole is not difficult- a basic bi-metal hole saw bit will do the trick. The bit will not be long enough to go through all the way in one pass, so you'll have to go through as far as you can with the bit, break out the bricks (a flat screwdriver will do it), then go back in with the hole saw. You'll probably need to do half from the outside, half from the inside, so first drill a small pilot hole (3/16" or so) that goes all the way through. Most peeps in electric kilns are about 1" diameter, but I'd go with 1.5" to make it a bit easier to see the cones. You can then make a plug for it out of a chunk of soft brick, or buy a tapered peep hole plug from Skutt.
  20. @Bill Kielb can you explain this? Why would the breaker cause this when it wasn't actually flipping? Can it partially flip, just enough for the controller to notice? I've seen dozens of kilns on the wrong breaker but never this.
  21. Alpine used a kiln shelf as a bag wall. It allowed them to make the footprint of the kiln narrower because a shelf is a lot thinner than a brick. Resting on top of the shelf and crossing over to the wall were a set of perforated refractory panels, sort of like a grates, that were supposed to break up the flame and help fire more evenly. When I was the manager in the early 2000's I made the call to stop making them becauseI found that they made no difference in how the kiln fired, and the cost of making them was too high. Plus they were a pain to make. It was one of those holdovers from the old days, primarily a marketing gimmick. I also stopped them from using a kiln shelf as a bag wall because it had to be notched into the door jamb and when it warped it cracked out the bricks in the jamb. We instead started using bricks, cut down narrow, instead. Some people found that the kiln fired fine without any bag wall, others needed it. A lot depends on how the kiln is fired, and the size of the kiln. Another benefit of the bag wall, in addition to forcing the flame upward more, is that it can keep the flame from hitting the ware on the bottom shelf along the fireboxes.
  22. @CactusPots From body reduction on, you should have back pressure out both the top and bottom spy holes. You'll have a lot out of one, but should still have a little out the other. That means that you have pressure throughout the kiln, and it will fire more evenly. A bag wall is simply a row of bricks on edge between the burners/firebox and the shelves. It forces the flame/heat to go up over the bricks before it can be drawn down towards the flue opening. It typically only needs to be 6-9" tall, although that will vary depending on the kiln. A target brick is used for burners that are going in horizontally, whether venturi or power, and break up the flame so it doesn't just blast against the opposite wall of the kiln.
  23. The new plaster is not going to adhere well to the old plaster. A 1/2 inch layer will probably end up cracking. Your best bet is to remove all the old plaster and start fresh. Like Liam said, Hydrocal or Hydrostone will be much more durable than #1 Pottery Plaster.
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