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Firing a Kiln in Cold Weather


All of us at Paragon wish you a glowing holiday season!

CONTENTS

Firing a Kiln in Cold Weather

Recent Q&As: Cracks in ceramic fiber; the kiln with a missing cord set

An Art Story: Discovering Van Gogh

Memorable Quote

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FIRING A KILN IN COLD WEATHER

Snow storms are sweeping across North America and Europe. With snow swirling outside and the wind howling, can you fire a kiln in an unheated garage?

Recently a customer tried to fire a digital kiln in a garage where the temperature was 30F / -1.1C. The digital controller display locked at 32 degrees, and she could not clear it. After the weather warmed up, the kiln started working again.

Paragon’s Sentry and Sentry Xpress digital controllers can register temperatures of –300F; however, the circuit boards are designed to operate in temperatures no colder than 32F / 0C. Temperatures lower than that can cause the controllers to malfunction. For example, the TCR message ordinarily means the thermocouple leads are reversed, but it can also appear when the thermocouple inside the kiln is much colder than the controller circuit board.

In spite of this, you can store a kiln in an unheated building in cold weather. Keep moisture, such as the air from a dryer vent, away from the kiln to avoid the formation of frost on the metal jacket.

You can also fire a kiln in freezing weather. Switch-operated kilns should be fine. For digital kilns, first raise the room temperature to 32F / 0C with a space heater before turning on the kiln. Place the space heater within a couple of feet of the control panel and let it run for an hour or so. Or hang a shop light near the kiln to raise the temperature. After you turn on the kiln and it begins to heat, you can turn off the space heater.

Moisture that the firebricks have absorbed from humidity will burn off harmlessly so long as the kiln is vented. Keep the lid in the vented position until steam no longer fogs a mirror, or run a motorized downdraft vent.

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READER RESPONSE

Cherry Knobloch of Chesapeake, Virginia wrote, “The kiln is a great place to hide Christmas presents.”

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RECENT Q&As

Q. I have an SC-2 kiln that I have owned for five years. Just this morning I noticed a thin crack inside the kiln on both sides on the white walls. How can I fix this, or must I get a new kiln?

A. I wouldn't worry about those cracks. They are normal and will not affect the firings. The cracks close as the ceramic fiber expands during firing. There is no need to repair the cracks.

Q. Why does my new kiln not have a cord set?

A. Most 10 and 12 sided kilns rated 208 volt are shipped without cord sets and must be direct-wired by an electrician.

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AN ART STORY: DISCOVERING VAN GOGH

James Freeman of Manitou Beach, Michigan wrote, “A number of years ago, I visited the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. I wandered around and found myself alone in a room with Starry Night. The painting was just hanging on the wall with nothing else around it--no glass, no velvet ropes, nothing.

“I was utterly transfixed. I understood instantly that Van Gogh's work cannot be reproduced, in the same way that a photograph of a steak cannot provide nourishment. The painting sucks you right in, and you find yourself tracing every whorl, feeling every stab of the brush. You become part of the story, party to Van Gogh's mental state. It became clear that these paintings were not impressionism, not abstractions in any way, but accurate depictions of the world as it is, experienced by a struggling soul.

“I left with a new found understanding and appreciation of the raw, the elemental, the genuine work of a human being struggling to make a mark, which appreciation spilled over into music, design, craft, food and drink, and a million other things.”

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MEMORABLE QUOTE

“When I am focused on me, me, me, me and more of me—as hard as it is to believe—it can be discouraging. I think the same can be said for anyone. Self-absorption is a poison for the mind, spirit, and overall well-being. On the other hand, focusing on what you can give and focusing on others is a natural source of happiness.” –Ron White

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Last week Sandi and I returned from a visit to Dover, Delaware to see our son and his wife. The icy Atlantic wind, which went right through my thin jacket, added to the holiday spirit. One evening we watched the 1946 classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Every time I see that movie, I feel just as touched as the first time I saw it 20 years ago.

Paragon Industries will be closed for Christmas December 23 - 26 and open December 27 – 29. All of us at Paragon wish you a joyous, glowing holiday season filled with gifts fired in your kiln.

Thank you,

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 / ahoward@paragonweb.com / www.paragonweb.com / www.facebook.com/paragonkilns

PRIVACY NOTICE: Under no circumstance do we share or sell your email address.

Copyright 2010, by Paragon Industries, L.P.



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