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neilestrick

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Status Replies posted by neilestrick

  1. Work bench surface:  Hi Neil!  You've written on other posts that your excellent work bench surface is 3/4" MDF with 5-6 coats of Linseed Oil.  I'd like to copy your method, and am currently planning a to build a workbench.  Quick question, does the MDF need to be on top of a sheet of plywood so that it won't sag or warp, or is that not necessary?  My workbench will be 3' x 8' with 4x4" legs and  2x4" braces.   Thank you! ---Nan

    1. neilestrick

      neilestrick

      If you use 3/4" MDF it will be just fine without plywood under it.

    2. (See 2 other replies to this status update)

  2. I saw a post from you in 2018 that said you fire many different types of pottery together. I did that and now I am completely unsure of what is my low fire and what is my stoneware. Some of it I can tell apart bc I can see the grog but some of the stoneware doesn’t have grog! I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know what I was thinking. I could tell them apart by the color when they were wet. Most of my pieces are utilitarian. Thank you so much. 

    1. neilestrick

      neilestrick

      You'll definitely need to figure out which is which, because if you fire a low fire white clay to stoneware temps you'll have a big mess of melted pots. The best you can do is take a sample of each that is known and start comparing. When in doubt, only fire it to low fire temps.

      I always recommend to my customers that they use clay bodies that are easily identifiable if they're working at two different glaze temps, like a low fire white and a stoneware brown.

    2. (See 3 other replies to this status update)

  3.  

    I have now been asked to design a mobile gas kiln to be carried about in a 20' container that would fire eight 50+ gallon qvevri or 4 larger ones at least to bisque.  Of course I have never built a kiln before.  I imagine the greatest problem is to keep the kiln from grinding itself to death on the road, and of course keeping it down to a doable weight.  I was thinking about building walls that could be assembled on site, then I saw  John Britt's kiln made from refractory cement and I wondered if it might be the solution.  He gave me some suggestions, but I would really love to hear from you guys

    The person requesting the kiln design is looking for someone who wants to move to his place outside of Austin, TX, to run a studio and a really, really big kiln he plans to build.  See The Qvevri Project.  Is there a more appropriate place to post this information?

    Thanks again,

    You guys make my day.

    1. neilestrick

      neilestrick

      Go ahead and post this in the Equipment section and you'll get lots of great ideas.

  4. No.1 Pottery Plaster vs Plaster of Paris for wedging boards

    1. neilestrick

      neilestrick

      Yes, status updates are just for letting people know what you're doing. If you want answers to questions you should post them in the discussion topics.

    2. (See 3 other replies to this status update)

  5. I've been doing fused glass for the past 30 years and have an old front loading Paragon kiln with elements in the door.  The past year or so I've gotten hooked on pottery, and am ready to purchase a pottery kiln (the Paragon I have can handle low fire clay and glazes, but not anything above that).

    I really like the quality of L and L kilns, and am thinking about buying one of their front loaders (I'm only 5'3" tall and don't think I could reach the bottom of their traditional round kilns).  I'm concerned that their front loader doors (except for the industrial versions) don't have elements in them.  They say the extra insulation in the door eliminates the need for door elements.  Have you found this to be true?

    1. neilestrick

      neilestrick

      Yes, the EFL series work very well, even though they don't have elements in the doors. They use a microporous insulation in the doors that prevents that area from running cold. I've seen the results of all their testing and there are no cold spots due to the lack of door elements. None of my customers have ever said they had any problems.

    2. (See 1 other reply to this status update)

  6. New kiln user here. ...I’m trying to figure out if one of my relays are bad or if it’s my elements.  I can    Bisque To a 04 just fine. I did have a lose  connection to the relay. I fired again and it’s taking a long time. Any  suggestions?  It’s a  manual cress kiln. 

    1. neilestrick

      neilestrick

      Your best bet is to check the element resistance with a meter. If they're more than 10% off from new then they should be replaced. 

  7. I am setting up a new kiln.  Is there any change in the advice given in 2014 to use two layers of hardy board underneath the kiln?

    1. neilestrick

      neilestrick

      No, it will work just fine. Put it on top of whatever your normal flooring is (wood?), and have it extend at least 12 inches beyond the kiln.

  8. Help, my shrimpo to whisper is really noisy. I mean the motor. It runs fine otherwise, but honestly I may need to wear earplugs to use it. It's been sitting idle for a couple of years and I'd really love to start my studio back up

    1. neilestrick

      neilestrick

      It could be the motor or it could be the bearings. Your best bet is to make a video with your phone and send it off the Shimpo. Chances are they'll be able to identify the sound. It wouldn't hurt to post the video here on the forum, too, as someone may have had the same experience as you.

  9. Hi Neil,

    I just finished a glaze firing to Cone 6 in my small manual electric kiln. I used Coyote Cone 6 glazes in a SNO Industries kiln. The kiln sitter tripped after firing 4 on low with lid slightly open, 4 hours medium, and roughly 4 hours on High. The small mug seemed to be leaking water, once I washed it it is holding my cup of coffee and not leaking at all. A larger vase I made is holding some water now but leaking and water is seeping out. 

     

    Can you tell me why some pieces seep water or don't hold water after being glaze fired?

     

    Thanks,

    Eleanor

  10. Hi Neil,

    I just finished a glaze firing to Cone 6 in my small manual electric kiln. I used Coyote Cone 6 glazes in a SNO Industries kiln. The kiln sitter tripped after firing 4 on low with lid slightly open, 4 hours medium, and roughly 4 hours on High. The small mug seemed to be leaking water, once I washed it it is holding my cup of coffee and not leaking at all. A larger vase I made is holding some water now but leaking and water is seeping out. 

     

    Can you tell me why some pieces seep water or don't hold water after being glaze fired?

     

    Thanks,

    Eleanor

    1. neilestrick

      neilestrick

      If you're using a clay body that isn't fully matured at cone 6, the absorption rate will be too high and it will weep moisture through the crazed glaze. Make sure your clay body has less than 2% absorption at cone 6. If you're using a body that's listed as cone 6-10, it will be under fired at 6.

      Also, no need to go that slow on a glaze firing when making pots. One hour on low, one hour on medium, then high till done will work just fine.

    2. (See 3 other replies to this status update)

  11. how do I search the forum for my topic?

    1. neilestrick

      neilestrick

      There's a search box in the upper right hand corner of the main page.

    2. (See 1 other reply to this status update)

  12. my olympic kiln with bartlett controller was doing a slow bisque fire and seemed to have stopped heating at 1636.   18 hours after starting it, it is still at 1636 and has been for several hours now.  i have rather new elements in it. it is not  clicking like it is trying to heat to a higher temp as it does when it is heating.  any ideas i am not getting any error codes.

    1. neilestrick

      neilestrick

      It's odd that it hasn't given an error code yet, but sometimes they just don't. Go ahead and shut it off, though. if it hasn't gotten to temp yet, it's not going to. Here's what to check:

      1. Elements. They can just randomly fry out, so check for breaks, or better yet use a multi-meter to check for continuity.

      2. Connections. Check all wire connections in the control box to see if anything fried out.

      3. Thermocouple. If it's really worn and nasty looking it should be replaced. If everything else checks out, replace the thermocouple even if it looks good. Sometimes they can crack but it's not visible.

      4. Unload the kiln once it's cool, then do a custom program- 1 segment, rate of 9999, temp of 1000. Turn it on and it'll run full on. Let it go a few minutes then carefully crack the lid and see if any elements aren't glowing. If a single element is out, then there's probably a break in that element. If both elements in one section of the kiln aren't glowing, then the relay for that section is probably dead. In that case replace all the relays if they haven't been replaced recently. If you're handy with a multi-meter, you can check the power system that way and it's a little faster.

    2. (See 1 other reply to this status update)

  13. Packing up for Cherokee Triangle art fair! First big show of the season, and first big show with the new work. Super nervous!

  14. Gas prices are crazy here, $1.57 / litre, works out to $5.97 a US gallon. Expected to go up again later in the week. Glad I don't have to drive to work!!!

    1. neilestrick

      neilestrick

      Ours has been creeping up. Got over $3 a gallon this week. Hasn't been that high in a long time.

    2. (See 4 other replies to this status update)

  15. Staring at a jug for a week, wondering how the hell to glaze it to set off the form just right.

  16. Ack! My kiln with brand new elements just misfired. Now I have to wait until it cools down before I can start to investigate. Aggravation. 

    1. neilestrick

      neilestrick

      Do a Vary-Fire with one segment, rate of 9999, to any temp a couple hundred degrees above where it is now. Turn it on, and check (with your meter) the outputs on the relays, or check the pairs (1 & 2, 3 & 4, 5 & 6) at the terminal strip where the relay wires and the element feeder wires connect.

    2. (See 14 other replies to this status update)

  17. Ack! My kiln with brand new elements just misfired. Now I have to wait until it cools down before I can start to investigate. Aggravation. 

    1. neilestrick

      neilestrick

      Go ahead and open the control box and start inspecting. No need to wait for cooling. Make sure everything is tight, TC connections, too.

    2. (See 14 other replies to this status update)

  18. Hi! Quick question for you. I noticed on a post that you mentioned having worked with Standard 365 porcelain, and I'm wondering if you have any experience with 551? Also, how foolhardy would I be to go from stoneware to porcelain? ;) Thanks for your thoughts! (I can give you my email address if that's easier for you.)

    1. neilestrick

      neilestrick

      I have not used 551. I have tried a couple of their other porcelain like bodies, though, and was not impressed. Their 365 throws beautifully, so I don't feel like theirs any reason to go to a white body that is supposedly more plastic. I do 45 pound planters with it with the 365 with no cracking or warping problems. The transition from stoneware to porcelain can be awkward, but you'll get used to it. Any particular reason you want to switch?

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