Dip the firebrick piece into the kiln cement. This is faster and easier than applying the cement with a tool.
How to Apply Kiln Cement to Firebricks
Recent Q&As: Dealing with 214 volts on a 240 volt line
A Kiln Story: The Misplaced Fire Extinguishers
HOW TO APPLY KILN CEMENT TO FIREBRICKS
Recently someone wrote, “My kiln is less than a year old, and in taking out a shelf, I turned too quickly and punched a hole in the lid. It is about the size of a quarter and is on the edge that fits over the kiln wall when closed. I’m just sick. Is there anything I can use to repair it?”
Handle your kiln carefully to avoid damaging the firebricks. But when a firebrick edge breaks off, don’t worry. The damage is usually slight and does not affect the firings. The damage described above is minor.
You can repair broken firebrick pieces yourself with kiln cement. Before applying the cement, vacuum the firebrick surfaces.
As you will find, once the cement is applied to a firebrick piece, the cement quickly loses its peanut butter consistency, because moisture from the cement absorbs into the firebrick. This is why the cement must be applied quickly to the firebrick piece.
If possible, do not apply the cement to the firebrick with a putty knife or other tool. Instead, dip the firebrick piece into the cement. This is much faster. Apply the cement to only one surface. Then work rapidly. (You may find it helpful to moisten the firebrick pieces with water before you apply the cement.)
As you press the firebrick piece against the broken edge you are repairing, wiggle or twist the piece into place. This squeezes out the excess cement from the seam, which should be as thin as possible. Twisting the firebrick piece into position also presses the cement into the firebrick pores. This is necessary for a good bond.
Hold the pieces together for one minute. Then wipe off the excess cement being careful not to disturb the firebricks you have just cemented together.
If you are not sure about your firebrick repair skills, then practice cementing small scrap firebricks. Fire your practice pieces in your kiln, and test the bond by trying to break the firebricks apart after they cool.
Q. I'm installing a 240 volt, 30 amp line for my Ovation kiln. However, there are only 214 volts available in the panel. Will this be a problem? I will cast and slump glass in the kiln at 1000Fº - 1400Fº. The electrician said he can install a transformer booster to add the additional volts. Please let me know if I need to add the booster, or if the existing 214 volts will give me the power I need.
A. Since you are firing to such low temperatures, it would probably be okay to fire your kiln on only 214 volts. Try to fire the kiln as is. If the kiln cannot reach the temperatures you need, you could change the 240 elements to 208 volts. If you install 208 volt elements, obtain a new electrical data plate for you kiln that shows 208 volts.
A KILN STORY: THE MISPLACED FIRE EXTINGUISHERS
John Post of Sterling Heights, Michigan wrote, “The maintenance department in my school district installed fire extinguishers in all of the kiln rooms. When the fire marshal walked through, I showed him my small, 8’ x 8’ kiln room and told him if there was a fire, there was no way I was going to open the door and then go inside to get the extinguisher.
“I suggested we install them outside the kiln room next to the door,” John continued. “He thought that was a great idea, so the maintenance guys had to come back and reinstall them at 40 or so buildings. Of course, when I suggested this to the maintenance guys when they first installed them, they told me they couldn't because those weren't their orders.
“The administration, electricians, and maintenance workers have no concrete idea how hot kilns get. One time when a faulty heat detector went off in my kiln room at 3 a.m., they called my principal and told him that the kiln room felt really hot. Let's see, an 8' x 8' cinder block room with two kilns cooling in it . . . I wonder why it's hot?”
“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!" Goethe
Do you have a kiln story to share? Just send to my email address below. I always enjoy hearing from readers.
The first signs of fall are the scent of wood smoke wafting from fireplaces and bright leaves scattered over the roads. Red, yellow, and golden leaves bring back childhood memories of the trees at my grandparents’ house. How colorful is the fall season where you live?
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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