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Everything posted by neilestrick

  1. That ring adds a certain amount of stability to the floor slab. You can probably get away with not using it, but if there are existing cracks in the floor they could open up. If the clamps fell off due to the welds rusting out, and the band itself isn't rusted through, you can reattach the clamps with sheet metal screws, 2 screws on each side of the clamp. Pre-drill with a 3/32" bit, and use #6 x 1/2 pan head screws. The clamps are just pieces of hose clamps, so if they're worn out you can buy replacements at any hardware store, you just have to cut them in half. If the band is rusted through, order a new one.
  2. I've thought about the testing route, but I don't know how soon after exposure the testing actually works. I'll have to look into that. Like if I'm exposed, get a test and it's negative, but it's just not prevalent enough in my system to show up in the test, and 3 days later it blossoms and I'm totally contagious? I also don't know if I can even get a test without having symptoms. And a nurse I know said they're getting about 30% false negatives at the hospital where she works. So many questions....
  3. I think we're going to see a lot of spikes in infection rates in about 3 weeks. The one show I had hopes of happening this year, a studio tour in northern Wisconsin in October, is strongly considering cancelling. They're going to wait a couple of week and see how things go with everything starting to open back up, but it doesn't look promising. I won't have any hard feelings if they do cancel, though. My shop reopens on Tuesday, and I'm freaking out a bit. I'm working on getting my classes sorted out and down to 7 wheels per class, which will give us good spacing in the studio and room to move without being on top of each other. Masks will be required, of course. The difficult part will be limiting my contact with the students, as I often need to jump in and get my hands on their clay to fix problems, especially with the beginners. They're going to have to suffer through the learning process more than in the past. My biggest worry is if a students tests positive for Covid, because then I have to close again for two weeks since I will have been exposed. Some friends of mine own an organic farm, and they are not setting up at the big farmers market they usually do. Instead they're taking orders and having people pick up from their truck outside the market. Their CSA is going strong, so I think they're doing okay over all.
  4. With gas kilns (and probably with electric kilns, too, although it's not as evident since you're not running them manually), there's a point at which the bricks have absorbed enough heat that you start to get some noticeable return on your investment as they become saturated with heat. In grad school we had a slow cooling gas kiln, made for firing shino glazes, that was great for doing this. The walls were built with 9" of hard brick interior, and 9" of soft brick exterior. The kiln was fired quite slowly so that the hard brick absorbed as much heat as possible, so when the kiln reached temp and you turned it off, it would take days to cool. There was a point where the bricks became saturated and started to return heat, and it would rocket up in temp. A friend of mine accidentally hit cone 14+ because it spiked while it was soaking at a high temp. Most kilns will throw themselves into reduction around 1800F with a slight adjustment to the damper, and without any adjustments to the burners, especially when using venturi burners. The fact that you're experiencing both of these phenomena shows that your kiln is behaving like a real kiln! Congrats! It's nice that we have a repeatable design for these little kilns that actually works. People have struggled with these conversions for years.
  5. Mullite shelves can handle the heat differential from the flue. Every gas kiln I've ever fired used a mullite/cordierite shelf for the damper, and it always hung out so it was cool enough to touch at that end. Even in a wood kiln, they can handle the heat. In a typical damper location, about halfway up the height of the kiln, the temperature drops quite a bit from the inside of the kiln.
  6. If the elements are still working, then there's no need to replace the bulb. If you want to replace it, it would be an easy fix.
  7. So learning how to trim without a Giffin Grip is no longer a useful skill? I should require every student to buy a Giffin Grip if they want to learn how to trim in my classes?
  8. That was probably from me! I'm not a big fan of tools like the Giffin Grip if they're being used in place of learning a skill. I don't allow them in my studio because it causes too many problems between the advanced students and the beginners, and my studio is supposed to be a place for learning, not just doing. I really push mastering the foundation skills, including centering for trimming. But if you've learned how to center and trim well without one, and it makes your life easier, then go for it. Personally, I've found that there are too many limitations with the Giffin Grip to make me feel like I need one.
  9. Cones chase each other- a perfect cone 4 will often also have cone 5 starting to move too, so you didn't necessarily over fire.
  10. It wouldn't hurt to try a firing to cone 6 and see how long it takes. If it's slow, change out the elements for the 208V version.
  11. You might need to calibrate your thermocouple.
  12. A 10 minute soak can get you 1/2 a cone. And if you slow cooled from the peak temp that can get you another 1/2 cone or more.
  13. The concern with a kiln sitting on a wood floor is not that the floor will immediately catch fire during the first firing, or that something hot will fall out of the kiln. And the electrical system will fry out before the brick melt down. The issue is that over time the heat of the kiln will dry out the wood floor more and more, lowering its ignition point, and at some point it will begin to smolder and burn.
  14. What's the temp rating of the clay body you're using? You're probably just reaching the max point fo the clay body. Try going a cone lower. Amaco Celadons are made to fire to cone 5/6, so they're going to be a bit under fired at cone 4. It's worth trying them, though. Why cone 4? If you want to use commercial products or tried-and-true glaze recipes, you'd be better off using a cone 5 body. Cone 4 just isn't a temp that people usually work it, so you're going to have to adjust any recipes you find.
  15. I shipped a bunch of stuff last week, and noticed that the 14x14x14 were kinda pricey with USPS. UPS had cheaper rate for that size and larger. I get business rates with UPS though, so they may not be better for everyone.
  16. I once converted an old square top-loading Amaco electric kiln to a downdraft gas for a friend of mine- welded on a chimney, had two small power burners, one on each side of the chimney, and lined the walls with 1" of the rigid board for extra insulation. Sweet little kiln, and the appropriate use of those boards- insulation that would not be touched.
  17. UPS will generally only reimburse for damage if the packaging meets their requirements, which are quite extensive, and quite frankly ridiculous and expensive- double boxes, craploads of padding, etc. I know that I don't pack to their standards, but I also have never had anything break in shipping. The only way I would try to pack to their standards is if I were to ship something very custom and very difficult to repeat. It's possible to pack well without huge boxes and tons of padding. If something ever does break, my policy is to make another one and not even try to deal with the shipper.
  18. Fiber boards, while called 'rigid', are only rigid compared to fiber blanket. They are light and stiff, but not at all hard or durable. It's just a stiff form of fiber blanket, made of spun silica fiber. Moving the shelf in and out of the damp slot would quickly degrade it, as well as release silica fibers into the air.
  19. It's all about the size of the plaster pieces. If the pieces of plaster are small enough, or dust, you're not going to get pops.
  20. Yeah that's the wrong wiring diagram. Call them and ask to speak with a kiln tech and have him/her tell you which terminals which wires go to on the switches.
  21. @Cameo Does your kiln have a controller, or is it just hi-med-low switches? Wrong wiring diagram?
  22. Most are the same thing as kiln shelves. Some are listed as not useable under a broiler or direct flame, though, but most can go right onto a grill. If he can find one at a decent price it would be worth a try.
  23. That's a great idea! Many pizza stones are thinner than kiln shelves. The hard part will be finding one big enough. @CactusPots what size shelf do you need?
  24. I've always made damper slots a half brick in height (1.5"), then blocked the opening gap with a piece of angle iron or flat steel. If the shelf warps, it's only the entry point that's narrow so it can still go in and out. And if it does happen to bind, you can just grind the welds and move the steel. I've also used kilns that have a big gap at the damper shelf entry point, and you just sit a piece of brick on top of the shelf to block the gap. It doesn't have to be perfectly sealed, just not a big hole that would act as a passive damper and spoil draft.
  25. You really don't need to test the bricks for asbestos. Is it a typical round kiln with the outer metal jacket? If so, the issue is silica, so you should wear a mask when working with the bricks, like if you're replacing a brick and creating dust, but for normal operation of the kiln- loading, unloading, firing, etc.- it's not an issue. Even if it's a kiln with backup fiber insulation that is for some odd reason asbestos, you're not going to be releasing any fibers during normal kiln operation, as the fiber will be behind the bricks and not exposed.
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