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Kiln In The Garage?


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So...lameness happened and Guinea received an eviction notice on the door the morning after precious Thannie passed away. Wonderful.

 

I have a place to go, and really, it's a good thing in some ways, but it means my Fred will likely be in a garage now. I'm very protective of him, and I'm worried he won't like the cold winters we get here. Will the cold damage his elements? Should I jimmyrig a fireplace for him in the winter? How about firings? Shoud I put firings on hold in the winter because he might cool too quickly?

 

I know these are probably very silly questions, but I LOVE MY KILN like a best friend and I want to keep my grumpy old man happy. I've also only worked with kilns that are indoors with controlled temps, so this is new. Also, my frail mom (whose house I'm moving into) lives near a field. That means her garage has lots of mice. Should I be worried they'll bother his wires or anything?

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I had my old kiln in my garage for the past 10 or so years without any problems. My new kiln has taken it's place. Our Winters have been brutal this year (Ohio) and I still fire in it. My old kiln had a hole on top, I covered it with a brick when it shut off to have it cool down slower.  As far as mice and wires, I have no clue.

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Sorry to hear about the eviction. I can't respond directly to this since we don't get that cold in Arizona. I do have my kilns in my garage though. Another potter I know recently found an in tact mouse skeleton in the bottom of her kiln after firing it. It crawled in probably when it was being loaded. Once she touched the Skeleton it disentagrated. So I guess moral of the story, check for mice before you close the kiln.

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I'm sorry to hear about the latest series of events. I hope for a reversal in your fortunes very soon.

 

In regards to the kiln. The only issue, I've heard, is that computer controlled kilns, don't like the cold. So people, who use them, have to heat the controller before it will operate. They usually just use a small space heater, until it warms up. Once the kiln gets going, the heat from the firing, keeps it warm enough.

For kiln sitters and such, the only limit to how cold it will operate, is all dependent on how much cold the operator can take.

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I think your biggest issue would be to keep it out of the direct wind. Let's face it: Winter winds on the West Plains are BRUTAL!

 

Just a thought here.....perhaps you could stack sand bags around much of Fred to help insulate him from the worst of the cold while you're firing. Set them up about three feet back from the outside and stack them up to about even with the top, leaving a section open to the controls and such.  This would give you something along the lines of a miniature kiln room by cutting down on drafts plus reflecting the heat back at the kiln. Cool down time, I should think, would be greatly increased, thereby avoiding thermal shock.

 

Considering that this idea is coming from ME, it's probably loaded with faults and pitfalls. ;)

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In Montana, I had an oval kiln and a 1 cu ft. test kiln outside on a covered patio for years. Also the kiln room at the university was not heated for years. We have several weeks every Jan/Feb when the temperature never gets above -20.Crazy HS kids go coatless when the temp goes up to 17C. It feels like Spring then.Really.

 

Kilns are designed for really high temps. so 50 degrees here and there shouldn't make a difference. When I moved to Texas, the humidity and poor quality air rusts things over night. The support chain on the lid of my test kiln rusted inside my concrete kiln shed.

 

Just keep them dry. If you think it is cooling too quickly put a shelf over the load on the inside. That will help slow it down. 

 

Marcia

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I had a garage studio in North Idaho for two years.  I had a electronic kiln with a vent system to outside.  I had to make sure the vent was high enough so snow or ice did not get into it.  It fired fine during the winter months, but I did run a slow cooling program for the temperature range I was firing.  The main thing was protecting it from moisture and it was on a cement floor and I made sure it was away from anything flammable.  I also hired an electrician to do the electrical work for the hook up of the kiln in the garage.  I would also fill the kiln pretty tightly during winter with work so that would also slow down cooling time.  Good luck on this process.

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My kilns are in a garage.   Closed but not critter proof.   I'm surrounded by fields, woods and a swamp in the back.   First year I was here I saw 2 cotton mouths (snakes) and a few mice.   Since that time I've added 20 plus cats to the property.

 

Haven't seen snakes or mice since ...........

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post-8500-0-85852600-1425318620_thumb.jpg

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Sorry you have to move Guinnie. I am sure old Fred will be fine in a garage.  Love that you named your kiln. We have one named Betty. We also recently named all the wheels and they are named Bernard Leach and other well known potters.

GL with your move and new arrangements.   rakuku

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Thank you everybody for your kind words and advice. Amy is right when she said the wind SUCKS out here on the West Plains of Washington. The area is really flat with slight rolling hills (ripple marks from the Great Missoula Flood a few million years ago), so that wind has nothing to stop its cruel bite. We've even had a few small twisters over the years. Washington is the craziest state for weather, I swear. We have rainforests and deserts. WAT

 

I actually really like that sandbag idea, Amy! I'll get some from the local Davenport hardware store and have my fella do the gruntwork. :)

 

As for wiring, my awesome Uncle Martin is a retired contractor and was actually the one who wired my Fred to this house. My mom's dryer busted a long time ago and he can just use the 220 slot in the power box to feed my grumpy guy. Mom's actually so happy I'm moving in with her, because Davenport is such a po-dunk lonely town (ask Amy!!! It sucks!), and I recently discovered she has an incredible artistic soul that she's buried her whole life--I want to get her into clay SO BAD. I'm so excited to see what she'll make!

 

But, UGHHHH...moving is such a pain in the bum...and Davenport is just under an hour away. This stinks.

 

>.<

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Awww, come on Guinea, tell us how you really feel about Davenport! LOL. Actually, I've always rather liked Davenport. Denny and I have often said that if we hadn't found our land when we did, we would have considered one of the old Victorian homes that were for sale there at the time. There are worse places you could live dear. Trust me, I know. ;)

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I had my Skutt 1027 in a garage for 13 years never had any problems with it cooling to fast or the wind but it's not computer controlled.  Didn't have any problems with mice chewing on the wires and we did get mice in the garage.  Your area off West Plains sounds a lot like the part of Kansas I live in.  It's an area ground down by glaciers, the soil is limestone and clay, very little water so growing trees is difficult,  there is nothing to stop the wind.  The rolling barren Flinthills are beautiful but it took the toughest pioneers to homestead it.  Sometimes a move like this is just what you need sounds like your already looking forward to spending time with your mom.     Denice.

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