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Author Topic: Kiln Fun  (Read 366 times)

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Kaljaia

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Kiln Fun
« on: January 24, 2021, 01:53:20 PM »

So I got two new housemates in 2020, both of whom have backgrounds in ceramics. We have pulled out my pottery wheel (I do not know how to throw, I just inherited someone else's impulse buy) and kiln (50 years old, bought used at a garage sale for less than $200, fifteen years ago; I do not know how to fire) and are getting things set up next-door to my abandoned-building-bathroom lapidary studio.

The kiln is an Olympic 2327 commercial-size electric kiln with some fairly complicated electrical demands and a lot of internal corrosion, so getting it into working order is an ongoing process. I figure if it costs 1/4th the price of a comparable machine to get this one up to standard, it's worth the time and effort and, so far, we're within budget. Hopefully. (Hopefully it doesn't catch fire on the first test firing in a few weeks...) we think the last parts needed are now on order.

At any rate, it's been keeping us busy together over the cold, dark winter! We have storebought clay and glazes to start with but I'm pretty excited to see if any of our local clays and volcanic ashes will fire or glaze well. The kiln is a cone 8, our use target is cone 6, but I am thinking we are going to need new elements to reach that temp.

Someone on a natural glaze group on Facebook who also does lapidary did use their cabbing rock dust to make a very nice glaze!
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- Erika

I rock hunt in the Antelope/Ashwood area of the John Day river basin in Oregon.

lithicbeads

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Re: Kiln Fun
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2021, 10:29:09 AM »

Use the exact plug with appropriate receptacle, do not change the plug or risk a fire. Sounds like you need to change elements as well. A good electrician can get you set up so you don't risk the structure . You need a fire resistant floor beneath it and keep it 18 inches away from flammable surfaces. If you don't have the instruction book try the net to get a copy.
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Kaljaia

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Re: Kiln Fun
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2021, 06:46:59 PM »

Use the exact plug with appropriate receptacle, do not change the plug or risk a fire. Sounds like you need to change elements as well. A good electrician can get you set up so you don't risk the structure . You need a fire resistant floor beneath it and keep it 18 inches away from flammable surfaces. If you don't have the instruction book try the net to get a copy.

Yes to everything. An electrician and a local building manager are working with us to make sure it's installed in a safe place and plugged into a circuit that can support the draw. We're also working with insurance to make sure it's properly insured and will be, if they'll let us, bundling the ceramics and lapidary studios together into a small-business/makerspace shared by several sole proprietors. It is not going to live in my abandoned building, but the rest of the ceramics operation will probably end up there in the summer. The corrosion is on the crimp connectors between external wiring and internal elements, and since the elements are probably original and are showing swelling, stretching and slumping in places, I'm biting the wallet-bullet and buying a new set along with new connectors. That's the last big piece, waiting on order info from the supply company. We do have the original firing manual, which is great, and all parts are still manufactured by the same company. We also replaced the kiln sitter as it had been damaged at some point in the past. Seems outside of fancy electronics, kilns haven't changed much in the last few decades!
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- Erika

I rock hunt in the Antelope/Ashwood area of the John Day river basin in Oregon.

Kaljaia

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Re: Kiln Fun
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2021, 12:44:11 PM »

A small number of the clays and soils we're hoping to test...


Purple tuff-derived clay


Fine-grain volcanic ash from an ancient riverbed deposit


Red clay, either paleosol or volcanic, not entirely sure; the gravely-looking bits are clay chunks that haven't slaked yet


probably celadonite, from tuff and lahar deposits under the basalt cap


Black phyllite dust from a deposit of black Muddy Ranch phyllite (cretaceous or pre-cretaceous altered seafloor) (comes in many colors, but the black is dramatic)


Grey-white bentonite, of the "will swallow you whole" pit-trap variety
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- Erika

I rock hunt in the Antelope/Ashwood area of the John Day river basin in Oregon.

Felicia

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Re: Kiln Fun
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2021, 06:27:43 PM »

Looking forward to seeing the results!
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