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Refurbishing Vintage 2327 Olympic Kiln - Fire Bricks Question


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Hey! Some friends and I are in process of setting up a vintage 2327 Olympic kiln, if I'm reading the serial number correctly it was manufactured in the mid 1970's. We're all a bit new to the process and have never fired it before, and as we're in a very remote part of central Oregon, local resources & advice is many hours' drive away. I know it's not the ideal for a starter kiln but sometimes you do your best with what's available. 

The kiln has been in dry storage for fifteen years; prior to that, I don't know its history. The inside of the kiln appears free from mold or corrosion, the elements look good, the wiring appears in good condition and undamaged, but a few fire bricks are chipped around one of the rings. Is this a very serious problem or for a likely couple-times-a-year hobby use this machine will (hopefully) get, alright to leave as-is? 

Thanks very much! 

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6 minutes ago, Andere said:

Thanks, I appreciate that feedback! 

Just looking at the picture, the elements look fairly worn so you may need to change them for new sooner than later to make top temp especially if you fire to cone 6. This is a cone 8 kiln so you have some margin but not as much as a cone 10 kiln would.  Pinning should be fine and it looks like the damaged bricks are at the top and bottom of rings so likely easier to replace when and if you do so.

Edited by Bill Kielb
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1 hour ago, Bill Kielb said:

Just looking at the picture, the elements look fairly worn so you may need to change them for new sooner than later to make top temp especially if you fire to cone 6. This is a cone 8 kiln so you have some margin but not as much as a cone 10 kiln would.  Pinning should be fine and it looks like the damaged bricks are at the top and bottom of rings so likely easier to replace when and if you do so.

Good to know, cone 6 is our planned upper limit. Will be doing a test firing cycle to see if temperature is good here in the next few weeks. 

 

1 hour ago, neilestrick said:

Breaks above the coils don't matter. Breaks below the coils will allow the coil to sag out of the grooves when hot. Best to put some element pins in there to support them so they don't sag. When it's time to replace the elements, also replace the broken bricks.

 

Thanks for this, I'll pick up some element pins with the rest of the hardware (it lost its hinge pin and lid brace arm somewhere along the way!) Olympic is still manufacturing much the same kiln, so should be fairly easy to find the right bricks when the time comes. 

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38 minutes ago, Andere said:

Good to know, cone 6 is our planned upper limit.

You can check these element in advance using an ohm meter. If the elements have increased in resistance by 10% or more than factory new then they need replacement. The problem arises because almost all kilns are designed with about 110% capacity new for various legitimate reasons. The real limiting issue is a clay and glaze thing. It turns out that in about the last two hours of the firing (top temp) you need to fire at about 100 degrees per hour to get accurate cone and acceptable glaze results. When the rate decreases to about 50 degrees per hour at top temp,  most folks do not like their results and firing takes a ridiculous amount of time. Many glazes begin to overfire as they sit at very high temps for what ends up as too long.

Anyway, you can check your elements in advance with a meter (several you tube vids out there) . The resistance of new elements is on the wiring diagram which should be on the website. Looking at the elements in the picture it appears they have enlarged significantly and I am guessing need replacement now. Just an educated guess though, I hope I am wrong.

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