Kiln Repairs

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.

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Anon 85

Anon 85
Creature Spoonrests


Paths in Clay cover

Paths in Clay, a novel

Paths in Clay is a coming-of-age story about Jack, Allan, and Miller; three friends who return to the “palace”, a place where they studied Koh Loh ceramics, an ancient clay tradition passed on from an extinct culture.

When finished with studies, one must depart from the palace and venture out, not returning until they have established a direction or "path" as a clay artist.

Ten years have passed since they left their great Koh Loh Master Potter. Reminiscing about their days as students, Jack, Allan, and Miller embark on their anticipated return to the palace, during a ceremonial kiln firing and celebration - a time when the Master Potter’s former students, their students, friends, and friends of friends all come together to fire their pottery in several wood-fire kilns.

The journey takes them far from their humid tropical region home of the lower peninsula and delivers them to the bitter season of the snowy highlands. When the three men arrive, Jack is face-to-face with his palace-time girlfriend, Kirsten. She informs the three men that their master has grown ill. Amidst a celebration, among old friends, Jack, Allan, and Miller will discover the true nature of their friendships and complete one cycle of their lives and enter the passageway to another. The choices they make will forge ahead a renewed purpose as their roles in clay traditions confirm their paths; passing on Koh Loh clay to the next generations of potters.

family reunion







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