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Electric Kiln Firing Challenges

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So, my 40 cu litre (1.4 cu ft) electric kiln was not getting to 1250C very easily.  It took ages (and ages), and when it eventually hit the right temperature, glazes were overfired. Over the next three firings I reduced the final temperature to 1160C with a 15 minute soak, and hey, magic, ^6 was down and glazes were pretty much as wanted/expected.


Then disaster.  I couldn't unplug it.  Ooops, plug/socket melted together.  Consulted with people who know more about electrics than I do, and they recommended removing some of the plug/socket connections between the fuse board and the kiln. 


Did that, and fired the kiln last night.  It reached 1160C one hour qucker than previous, (and it was 15C lower outside), but ^5 was just bent and ^6 was solidy upright.  Now what?  Reset kiln for another 10C, but by then temperature had already dropped by 40C.  45 minutes later and it was at 1170 and ^6 was almost down.  Left it to soak for another 15 minutes, then off.


Now I'm wondering what to do next time I fire ???? 


Having asked that question, I'm not really expecting an answer, just thinking out loud and sharing my experience as it may help others. 


I'm so pleased I keep a detailed record of every firing, last ^6 was in August and there is no way I would have remembered what happened then.  Having a programmer does not make up for writing it down, along with observations.


Can't wait to open it.  It's going to cool naturally (quickly), next time I might try a slow cool as so many seem to recommend in other threads.

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