A couple months back I realized that the elements in my kiln were probably going bad as a cone six glaze firing was sluggishly taking 15 plus hours. It was inevitable that the wear and tear of firing this kiln as THE workhorse for glazed pots had taken its toll... inevitable that the elements would need replaced... I bought the kiln, a Jen-Kin D118 from 1960 something along with a smaller Skutt kiln for $400 including shelves and stilts and wired them up, running, and firing the D118 without any repairs. Not knowing the previous history of the kiln's workload and repairs, it was all bonus time. For the switches to be good, wiring intact, brick in decent shape and the elements worthy of 2186 degrees F, I was in luck. So I got many firings out of her from cone 018 decal, 08 bisque, to 6 glaze. I began investigating what would need to be done to get the kiln to fire to a reasonable time on high for a glaze load. I noticed the elements were dull and figured they were just shot but also considered the switches being bad. After the last firing was a struggle I turned on the kiln empty to watch the elements glow. Two were not warming up at all. That explained why some decal firings towards the bottom of the kiln were experiencing cool spots. The next to the last two elements had had enough. I called up Jen-kin and Mike helped me troubleshoot. I purchased two elements and replaced the fried pair. Pulling apart the kiln controls was nerve-racking because I didn't know exactly what I was looking at. I messed up the kiln sitter taking it all apart. Please don't ever do that, please promise me you won't. it is a mistake. Luckily I got it all back together, but when fired again, the glaze was 14 or 15 hours. So I knew the kiln had to be out of commission for a while until I replaced the six remaining elements.
I installed them painstakingly, bending down into the kiln lower and lower. Initially I was going to fire a bisque just to make sure I could get it hot but then I thought man why waste time doing that. Let's not be conservative, let's load her up and fire to cone six. The kiln fired in about 6 hours as I predicted. So when I unloaded what was the most exciting firing since I first got things running here. The results were great and the kiln is up and running again. Without this puppy I wouldn't be able to produce the volume of work I make to sell. Good to be up and running again.