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About JeanWW

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  1. Oh dear, I hope it doesn't take as long as I took learning to drive!
  2. Hi Min I've done that (with help from this site). Next step is bisque. When I've done that, I may be back for more advice!
  3. Hi Chilly & Babs Thanks for all the advice. Chilly - I've read up on using cones to measure heatwork rather than just relying on temperature and it definitely seems a good idea. I even asked the manufacturer if the kiln could be used without the controller. The answer was No. And the controller has no set programmes. So I have to put some numbers in. As I make big pots which take a lot of time and effort to build, I don't want to lose them! Perhaps I will go for a slow ramp to be on the safe side. (Although the other side of the argument is that I want to be as economical as possible.) Distilling all the advice: 1. Very slow to dry out pots (if necessary) - 20-25C/hr to 100C 2. Slow to 600C - no more than 100C/hr (+ possibly hold) 3. 150C/hr to 1000C (+ possibly hold) Presumably I leave the bungs out for ramps 1 & 2? And also for cooling? (I have one in the lid and two in the sides) I have not yet finished building the pots for the first firing, and then they will have to dry, and at some point a decision will have to be made! By the way, out of interest, if you teach a class, do you teach your students how to fire a kiln?
  4. I'm still trying to get to grips with my new electric kiln. I've been reading up about bisque firing and trying to decide what to program into the controller. I know a lot of you use cones, but I basically want to put some programs into the controller and this means deciding on ramps and temperatures. (I'm in the UK.) I'm getting quite a range of advice and would like your ideas please! What is the top temperature you use for bisque? And what ramps do you use? How do you decide? I'm mostly making handmade stoneware with additions on the surface, such as seeds, that burn away in the firing. Some of my larger pots have varying thicknesses. Later they are very lightly glazed, or sometimes not glazed at all. In the past I have had pots fired when attending classes and they have just gone into the kiln with all the others, so I had no idea that there were so many decisions to be made. I thought there was such a thing as a standard bisque firing schedule and actually I thought the kiln + controller came with some standard programmes in it already, but it seems the manufacturers have changed this. They have suggested as a typical bisque firing: Ramp 1: 80C (176F) per hour up to 600C (1112F) Ramp 2: 120C (280F) per hour up to 1020-1040C (1868-1904F) However, elsewhere I have seen Ramp 1 at 60C (140F) or 100C (212F) per hour, and Ramp 2 at 200C (414F) per hour or FULL. And I think this top temperature is too high for stoneware, but what should it be? Temperatures suggested have ranged from 870C (1598F) to 1000C (1832F). Any advice, please?
  5. Hi Min Yes they are the instructions. Thanks for your advice. I managed to get a sensible - and immediate - reply to this and some other queries by contacting Potclays through facebook messenger (I was using email and getting no response). They do say: " With most modern controllers the cone test is largely redundant". So it seems I have been worrying about nothing. I have suggested that they rewrite the instructions.
  6. I've found a lot of detailed advice on this at https://www.ortonceramic.com/files/2676/File/cones-and-firing-booklet.pdf Still feeling a bit puzzled that the manufacturer of my new kiln said to fire up to 750C and use cone 06, but your advice makes more sense. Not quite ready to go, as I've ordered some goggles for looking at the cone, but hopefully very soon!
  7. Thanks to both. I think I'm good to go now.
  8. My instructions say to stick the small cone in a bit of clay.
  9. Hi Neil Thanks for replying. The cones are small. The kiln has a digital controller. The instructions say I should do the first test firing empty and the second test should be a bisque firing. So I guess the second firing is more like a regular firing. As I thought, the cone will do nothing at 750C, so I guess I would be checking to see that it is doing nothing. So you advise me to do the first firing at 1000C instead of 750C? This seems to make sense if I am using cone 06. Should I put all the kiln furniture in, and put batt wash on the shelves beforehand? I'm getting excited now and want to get going tomorrow!
  10. Just setting up a little pottery studio at home and have bought a brand new kiln from Potclays. (I'm in UK.) The instructions are sadly inadequate and Potclays have not been very helpful so far. I wondered if someone here could help me more quickly as I'm keen to do my first test firing. They have sent me some 06 test cones. For the first test, they tell me to fire the kiln to take 5 hours to reach 750 degrees C. Once it reaches 700 (after 4 3/4 hours), they say I should check the cone at 15 minute intervals. They do not say what I am checking for. I have asked them but they have not given me a clear answer. For the second test, they say I should repeat the procedure but firing to 1000 degrees C. For this firing they say the cone should bend tip to base. What I don't understand is: if the cone bends right over at 1000 degrees C, what will the same cone do at 750 degrees C? I need to know what I'm checking for; otherwise there's no point in checking. Please help!
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