Gloves protect the hands while unloading a kiln.
How to Unload a Kiln Safely
Recent Q&As: Firing bronze clay; the rate shown in Present Status
News: Knifemaker Wins Award With Handmade Knife
HOW TO UNLOAD A KILN SAFELY
1) Be careful not to bump the lid with a shelf as you unload the kiln. The lid could fall.
2) No matter how excited you are about seeing your freshly fired ware, wait until the kiln has cooled to room temperature before unloading. It is possible for hot ceramics or glass to break from thermal shock when removed from the kiln. I know of someone who cut herself on pottery that broke in her hands.
3) Wear gloves while unloading glazed ceramic ware. The gloves can protect you from glaze shards and bits of pyrometric cones that have stuck to shelves, sharp edges of broken ware, and sharp stilt marks on the bottom of glazed ware.
4) As you remove shelves from the kiln, be careful about tilting them and allowing kiln wash or sand to fall into an element groove or a switch box louver. Those powders can burn out an element.
5) After firing glazed ware in your kiln, examine the shelves for glaze particles. Slivers of glaze stuck to the shelf can be razor sharp. Before rubbing a hand over a shelf, be sure the shelf is free of glaze shards.
6) After unloading the kiln, close the lid and disconnect the power.
Q. Is it true that because of oxidation during firing you should not fire bronze clay in a kiln that has exposed elements?
A. Firing an electric kiln in a reduction atmosphere shortens the life of the elements. A reduction atmosphere is created by burning materials in the kiln that use up the oxygen.
As long as the charcoal used in firing bronze clay is held in a container such as stainless steel that includes a good lid, your kiln should be okay. The reduction atmosphere will mostly be confined to the inside of the container.
Knifemakers use a similar technique. They wrap steel knife blades in a high-nickel, stainless steel foil packet. Inside the packet they place chips of wood or wads of paper. As the kiln heats, the paper or wood burns, using up the oxygen inside the packet. The edges of the foil are folded over tightly two or three times, so only small amounts of oxygen enter the packet. The reduction atmosphere inside the packet prevents the formation of heavy carbon scale on the blades.
Q. Why does the Sentry controller Present Status show an incorrect firing rate?
A. Present Status shows the actual firing rate of the current segment rather than the rate that you programmed. This lets you know how fast the kiln can fire at a particular temperature. Sometimes a kiln cannot keep up a fast programmed rate.
"Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment." --Benjamin Franklin
NEWS: KNIFEMAKER WINS AWARD WITH HANDMADE KNIFE
Robb Gray of Custom Hunting Knives in Seattle, Washington won "Best New Knife Maker" at the 2010 Oregon Knife Collector's Association. He heat treated the knife in a Paragon KM-24D furnace. You can see Robb’s beautifully engraved knife on Paragon’s Facebook page:
Knifemakers are a breed apart from the artists who make pottery, glass, and silver. The knifemakers I know are outdoorsmen who would be comfortable in the Old West. In one respect, though, knifemakers are like the other artists--they share the excitement of creating beautiful objects with a kiln.
I love handmade knives. My son and I will always treasure the knives the retired Paragon plant manager, Bob Smith, made for me. They feel alive to the touch.
With best wishes,
Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. – Better Designed Kilns 2011 South Town East Blvd., Mesquite, Texas 75149-1122 Voice: 972-288-7557 & 800-876-4328 / Fax: 972-222-0646 / firstname.lastname@example.org / www.paragonweb.com / www.facebook.com/paragonkilns
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