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PottyMcPot

Old Phoenix Kiln - help!

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Hello - I have acquired a tiny old Phoenix kiln with no manual. I'm hoping someone will have info on how to operate it. I am new to pottery, so would prefer to have some advice rather than risk it!

There is a similar, more modern version of it on www.kilns.co.uk, under their Phoenix Range listing, Phoenix 38, but that one doesn't appear to have the same controls, looking at the picture.

However, mine appears to be very similar in it's specification: a top loader with 13amp plug, but mine has a centigrade dial, one marked %, a mains light, a relay light plus a soak switch and a bung hole in the lid and one on the front. I have so many questions but here are one or two for starters:

Do I need to prop the lid open slightly in the first stage of the bisque? 

Should both bung holes be blocked during firing, and if so, can I remove so I can check the cones and then replace?

Once the final temp for the glaze firing is reached, I understand it is good to drop the temp for the soak to even things out inside the kiln. Do I use the cut off switch initially to stop the firing, wait until the desired soak temp is reached, and then switch to soak, to hold for as long as required? Or do I turn the '% dial' down for the soak and use the 'cut off' to finally finish the firing: I can only guess that the % dial relates to the temperature....?

I would be grateful for any advice as it’s all new to me, and although I have read many articles, copied out many firing schedules and taken many notes, nothing makes me feel like I know anything, as it’s all so variable, understandably! I know I just need to get that first firing over with.

I have tried to upload a picture of my control panel, but no luck.

Jemma

 

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well it looks like no one has experience with your kiln so you might need to test yourself. Do you feel comfortable it is all setup properly and safe? I have a small test kiln and I leave the top peep out until about 1200 f but never prop lid. Such a small kiln will have trouble reaching temp with lid propped. Some people will leave lid propped on kilns during early temp rise for moisture to escape if pots are not completely bone dry. This is called 'candling' but not sure how effective that would be for a little kiln. I would do these early test with bone dry and mess with that later.  The organic  burn oft is why u leave out the top peep till around 1200f.

Yes you can take out peep to check cones but I think u need to make sure you have the right safety glasses. Regular sunglasses are not the right ones. Mine has a controller so I don't use peep holes to do firing. Is there a kiln sitter or some other way to monitor temp? We use a soak to even out glaze melt but it does not drop temp. We glaze fire to cone 5 and then hold at that temp for 20 minutes. If you have a soak switch then I am guessing that holds temp. Our 20 minute hold causes our firing to be cone 6. You have to play with it but one cone is usually reached with 20-30 minutes holding the top temp, its called heat work. If your kiln is lower temp max than you want to fire u may be able to get there with the soak. I dont know anything about dropping the temp before soak so cant advise on that. Likewise the percentage is not something I use.

Ya know if you feel comfortable the kiln is setup to fire safely then just going for it will give you a lot of info. Maybe just make some quick test tiles and bisque and then glaze  fire. Log everything and put in a 3 cone pack for both firings so you know what happened. You cone pack should have the cone below and above the cone you desire. For example, cone 6 would have a 5, 6 & 7.

Good luck. Maybe someone with experience using your kiln will post tomorrow.

 

 

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Thank you for your answer. I did just go for it in the end: not very scientific, but at least the kiln got hot! I have just posted another question...I think you may be hearing from me quite a lot in the next few weeks!

 

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1 hour ago, PottyMcPot said:

Thank you for your answer. I did just go for it in the end: not very scientific, but at least the kiln got hot! I have just posted another question...I think you may be hearing from me quite a lot in the next few weeks!

 

Hey good for you. Ya know the good part of making do with an older manual kiln with no instructions is that you will learn a lot about firing. Have fun!

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YAY SOMEONE WITH THE SAME KILN!

Hi there,i have the same old pheonix kiln bought second hand for hobby use and in exactly the same situation.

I want to fire to 06 so have set the top dial to approx 1020c but im not sure what to do with the lower dial that says input. Ive set it half way.

I dont want to soak so ive set the switch to shut off. I assume it will turn its self off when it hits temp. 

Do i plug top hole after a couple of hours. 

Complete newbie so any help would be great as nervous.

Thanks Nicky 

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Yay - I found it! You are at exactly the same stage I am.

I will sort out my emails and send you PDFs via this of responses I've had.

It may take a little while, but hopefully by tomorrow....

J

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Phoenix kiln.pdf

Hi Nicky - here is the set of emails back and forth with someone from www.kilns.co.uk. They were very helpful, but I didn't want to overstay my welcome as it were.

Basically I tumble loaded the pots (though a bit too close to the elements) & fired it, without bungs as I didn't have any, I set the temp to 1010C and fired at 30% for one hour, the pots were bone dry and had been in the hot sun all morning so were warm.

Then I turned up to 100% for 5 hours. I only switched it off because I could smell the plug burning in the socket.....it's been hard wired in now!!!! I fired mostly terracotta and a few stoneware pots. They came out dusty, but that's apparently ok, and all were fired properly as far as I can tell from the 'glassy' tone when I tap them.

I have since taken delivery of cones and bungs, so will have a better idea, hopefully! On to glazing next.

Good luck & keep in touch. Are you in the UK?

Jemma

 

Screen Shot 2020-05-22 at 14.51.14.png

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1 hour ago, PottyMcPot said:

Basically I tumble loaded the pots (though a bit too close to the elements)

Hey way to go, glad you got an electrician out. Burning wires are not good!

You do know that the glazed pots can not touch each other at all right?

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1 hour ago, PottyMcPot said:

Phoenix kiln.pdf 95.14 kB · 2 downloads

Hi Nicky - here is the set of emails back and forth with someone from www.kilns.co.uk. They were very helpful, but I didn't want to overstay my welcome as it were.

Basically I tumble loaded the pots (though a bit too close to the elements) & fired it, without bungs as I didn't have any, I set the temp to 1010C and fired at 30% for one hour, the pots were bone dry and had been in the hot sun all morning so were warm.

Then I turned up to 100% for 5 hours. I only switched it off because I could smell the plug burning in the socket.....it's been hard wired in now!!!! I fired mostly terracotta and a few stoneware pots. They came out dusty, but that's apparently ok, and all were fired properly as far as I can tell from the 'glassy' tone when I tap them.

I have since taken delivery of cones and bungs, so will have a better idea, hopefully! On to glazing next.

Good luck & keep in touch. Are you in the UK?

Jemma

 

Screen Shot 2020-05-22 at 14.51.14.png

Jemma you star,thank you so much. Yes im in the UK.  Ive also had help from a couple of FB groups. (UK pottery and ceramics forum)You could join too and then you will see my post and responses.We could keep in touch via messenger maybe. :)

Will let you know how i get on.

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@PottyMcPot Hi Jemma,

I ran into the same problem as yourself after acquiring (what sounds like) the same Phoenix kiln. I have never fired a kiln before, as it is usually all done for me at my community studio.

How have you been getting on with the firing process you mentioned here? Is there a specific process you have found most efficient, and if so would you be able to share it with me please? I'm new to all this firing business and am very confused about how all this works, especially as it's all manual with no electronic dials or anything!

Kind regards, Tallulah

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