Sunday, August 10
Ready for the firing
Here's my little test kiln with seven cups. I purchased the test kiln at the same time I bought my larger kiln. It has been a great investment allowing me to learn a lot quickly when I need to and since I so frequently change the direction I am working that seems to be much of the time. I have probably done more firings in it than I have in my larger kiln. I could have gone really tiny, like maybe 4 or 6 inches square or so like some Paragons I was looking at, but my thinking was that by going a little larger it could function as a real useable kiln for instance if I want to use it for lustres on a few pieces or some overglaze work or whatever. It is .8 cubic feet, about 11" wide by 13'" deep. The nice thing also is that I can program it to fire exactly the same pretty much as the larger kiln. And to boot, it's kind of cute.
I have my vent set up so I switch back and forth between the two kilns. The part of the hose where it attaches to the kiln is a more heavy duty, solid type metal which swivels at the joints making it easy to move to the other kiln, which is right next to it. I had to put in a few extra washers for air spacing when I mounted a coupling onto the test kiln because I think the vent draws a little too powerfully for this smaller kiln. I also keep a roll of heat tape nearby for patching holes in the hose. If you use a kiln vent I strongly suggest, if you do not already do so on a regular basis, that when you finish reading this that you go inspect your hose really well if it's been on for a while. I am on my second hose in two years and frequently find new holes where the heat and whatever have corroded the flexible hose. I just wrap a little heat tape around and good as new. Especially check near the kiln of course, but surprisingly I find them often up close to the blower motor where the hose connects there. I first discovered this after I had been smelling fumes really strongly for several firings and was kind of pissed about the blower not working well and then when I finally checked the hose there was probably a hole at least three inches wide. So, learn from my ignorance.