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Refurbishing Skutt KS-1027 240V single phase 48A, LT-3K with 2.5 inch thick bricks.
 
Newbie kiln owner. I took a deep dive into buying my first used kiln. I have a lot of questions, and google isn’t popping up with the answers I’m looking for.
 
1. Can I replace my damaged kiln bricks with Lynn Manufacturing Insulating Fire Brick IFB rated at 2300F or other non-Skutt brand?
 
2. Can I cut the channels out with a Dremel tool? If so, what kind of bit would I need?
 
3. What gauge are the elements? May I replace my elements with kanthal 16 AWG wires. I saw a DIY video where the dude coiled his own elements.
 
4. What cement would be best to patch up superficial cracks on lid and bottom plate? Or glue for cracked seams/bricks?
 
5. How can I tell if lid and bottom plate cracks are cracked through and are structural issues?
 
6. I noticed that my metal stand, draw pull clasp and a few other exterior hardware pieces of rusted. I found some replacements on McMaster-Carr’s website. Does anyone have the stainless steel part numbers for the replacements? Don’t think I want to replace it with Skutt parts that will rust again.
 
thoughts?
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1. Yes, but I would replace with Skutt bricks that match exactly

2. yes, but difficult, dusty, I would not unless absolutely essential.

3. you may be able to but winding etc... difficult. I would order from Skutt or Euclids probably can supply Kanthal elements to fit.

4. several videos on rebuilding lids which use adhesive grout, minor repairs I have used greenpatch. On any lid repair lay it down on a flat surface before releasing the tension. It likely will easily fall apart, especially if old. If just repairs, generally some routing is necessary.

5. Does the crack appear on both sides? If you release the tension on the band the lid will likely  easily separate  along some joints If old enough.

6. McMaster should have full stainless as an option, but Skutt likely has the exact replacement that will last for many years without excessive rust and fits nicely.  They did have some defective products many years back but under normal use their stuff lasts similar to others IMO.

So as a newbie and for first kiln restoration,  my opinion is get parts that fit easily which in my experience are generally from the manufacture.

Edited by Bill Kielb
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1. Cutting your own brick grooves isn't worth the time, hassle, and mess. Bricks from other kiln manufacturers probably won't work well because the groove won't line up.

2. It would be difficult or impossible to do with a Dremel. Skutt most likely uses a custom bit.  For best results just buy bricks from Skutt.

3. You can roll your own elements, but it's not likely to save you much money. If you buy the wire in bulk then you've got to buy a bunch more than you need, and if you buy just what you need it's expensive. Plus you'll probably mess up a couple while figuring out how to do it. As to what gauge wire you need, that will depend on the kiln. You'll also need to figure out what size mandrel to use. And Skutt kilns have graded elements- the top and bottom elements are different than the 4 middle elements. It will be easiest to just buy them from Skutt. It will also be easier to diagnose problems in the future if you know you have everything done correctly in the first place.

4. Hairline cracks in lids and floors are normal, and don't need to be mortared. Breaks in the face/groove of wall bricks don't need to be repaired, either, and the mortar won't usually hold anyway. Small cracks, like under 1.5" won't affect performance, just put a pin there to make sure the element won't flop out. For larger breaks in the element grooves- if you have the broken piece just pin it in place. If not, then replace the brick. Once the element flops out of a broken groove, it's very difficult to get it back in, often impossible.

5. If the lid or floor slab flexes a lot along the crack, then it likely goes all the way through. If it's in the floor, don't worry about it. Just tighten up the body band and put a piece of sheet metal under the floor to support it. If it's in the lid, either swap it with the floor slab or replace it. Mortaring a lid slab crack won't hold very well. The strength of a slab comes from the staggered brick layout. A long crack all the way across lacks that strength. Plus mortar doesn't hold old bricks nearly as well as new bricks. Either get a new slab, or buy another cheap old kiln for parts.

6. The rust on the stand is normal, and won't hurt anything as long as it is structurally sound. All stands rust eventually. If the clasps still work smoothly, just keep using them. Even with rust, they should work for many, many years. Better to put the money where it matters, like bricks and elements.

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5 hours ago, neilestrick said:

1. Cutting your own brick grooves isn't worth the time, hassle, and mess. Bricks from other kiln manufacturers probably won't work well because the groove won't line up.

2. It would be difficult or impossible to do with a Dremel. Skutt most likely uses a custom bit.  For best results just buy bricks from Skutt.

3. You can roll your own elements, but it's not likely to save you much money. If you buy the wire in bulk then you've got to buy a bunch more than you need, and if you buy just what you need it's expensive. Plus you'll probably mess up a couple while figuring out how to do it. As to what gauge wire you need, that will depend on the kiln. You'll also need to figure out what size mandrel to use. And Skutt kilns have graded elements- the top and bottom elements are different than the 4 middle elements. It will be easiest to just buy them from Skutt. It will also be easier to diagnose problems in the future if you know you have everything done correctly in the first place.

4. Hairline cracks in lids and floors are normal, and don't need to be mortared. Breaks in the face/groove of wall bricks don't need to be repaired, either, and the mortar won't usually hold anyway. Small cracks, like under 1.5" won't affect performance, just put a pin there to make sure the element won't flop out. For larger breaks in the element grooves- if you have the broken piece just pin it in place. If not, then replace the brick. Once the element flops out of a broken groove, it's very difficult to get it back in, often impossible.

5. If the lid or floor slab flexes a lot along the crack, then it likely goes all the way through. If it's in the floor, don't worry about it. Just tighten up the body band and put a piece of sheet metal under the floor to support it. If it's in the lid, either swap it with the floor slab or replace it. Mortaring a lid slab crack won't hold very well. The strength of a slab comes from the staggered brick layout. A long crack all the way across lacks that strength. Plus mortar doesn't hold old bricks nearly as well as new bricks. Either get a new slab, or buy another cheap old kiln for parts.

6. The rust on the stand is normal, and won't hurt anything as long as it is structurally sound. All stands rust eventually. If the clasps still work smoothly, just keep using them. Even with rust, they should work for many, many years. Better to put the money where it matters, like bricks and elements.

 

10 hours ago, Bill Kielb said:

1. Yes, but I would replace with Skutt bricks that match exactly

2. yes, but difficult, dusty, I would not unless absolutely essential.

3. you may be able to but winding etc... difficult. I would order from Skutt or Euclids probably can supply Kanthal elements to fit.

4. several videos on rebuilding lids which use adhesive grout, minor repairs I have used greenpatch. On any lid repair lay it down on a flat surface before releasing the tension. It likely will easily fall apart, especially if old. If just repairs, generally some routing is necessary.

5. Does the crack appear on both sides? If you release the tension on the band the lid will likely  easily separate  along some joints If old enough.

6. McMaster should have full stainless as an option, but Skutt likely has the exact replacement that will last for many years without excessive rust and fits nicely.  They did have some defective products many years back but under normal use their stuff lasts similar to others IMO.

So as a newbie and for first kiln restoration,  my opinion is get parts that fit easily which in my experience are generally from the manufacture.

Thank you for the advice.

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  • 1 month later...
On 10/17/2020 at 8:11 PM, H20 said:

#5 The cracks on the lid are definitely across the whole kiln. I am so bummed.

Even if the cracks on the lid are all the way across, if the band is in good shape, the lid will still be functionable.  Be sure to look at the lid band under the handle.  If it's anything more than surface corrosion, it should be replaced.  When you replace the band, you want to heat it with a torch (expand it) to get it tighter than it would be able to do cold.

Second hand lids are available.

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