Gently lift an element out of the firebrick groove with an allen wrench.
Lifting an Element Out of a Sidewall Groove
Reader Response: A bald eagle named Teddy; a kiln maintenance idea from Gare
Recent Q&As: Using a Kiln Sitter with a controller; venting a laundry room
A Kiln Story: What I’ve Learned About Kilns
News: Two Customer Service Employees Just Hired
LIFTING AN ELEMENT OUT OF A SIDEWALL GROOVE
With a little practice and a few simple techniques, changing the heating elements of a firebrick kiln is not difficult. One of the techniques is to use a common allen wrench or sharpened pencil to lift the element out of the groove. (An allen wrench is L-shaped and fits into the recessed head of allen bolts.)
The trickiest part of the element removal is where the element ends enter the firing chamber. First, unplug the kiln and remove the control panel or element cover. Remove the porcelain insulators and element connectors. Then begin to push one end of the element into the firing chamber.
Before the element touches the groove, lift the element up and guide it out of the groove using the short section of the allen wrench. After that, the rest of the element usually comes out of the groove effortlessly.
(This idea came from William Hutchison of Hutchison Studio. He is a glass artist and kiln technician in Genoa, Nevada. Thanks, William.)
The last Kiln Pointer included a Teddy Roosevelt quote. Lisa Westheimer of West Orange, New Jersey wrote, “Loved your Teddy Roosevelt quote. I volunteered to clean the stuffed bald eagle in Thomas Edison's library, which is now part of the National Park Service. We nicknamed the bald eagle ‘Teddy’ after Roosevelt, who founded the National Park Service.”
Robert Sharpe, a sculptor at Gare Inc. wrote, “We have been losing kiln relays and infinite switches here at Gare. We finally realized how important it is that the push-on female blade connectors fit tight. Over time the connectors would heat up and eventually weaken and become loose. Just squeezing the connector with pliers to tighten was not enough, as the connectors would loosen up again after a couple of firings.
“We ended up replacing the female push-on terminals with new ones,” Robert continued, “and all our problems went away. It would be good if you could share this and save others from burning out new relays.”
Q. I have connected a manual kiln to a portable digital controller. Should I continue to use the Kiln Sitter?
A. You can use the Kiln Sitter as a safety backup. Load it with a cone rated one or two numbers higher than the firing. That way the controller with shut off the kiln instead of the Kiln Sitter, yet you will still have a safety backup.
Q. I have a 16.5” diameter x 22.25” deep ceramic kiln. I am planning on firing in a laundry room with a window fan. Is a downdraft vent necessary?
A. I recommend a downdraft vent such as the Orton Vent Master for a medium-size kiln such as yours located in a laundry room. The vent removes fumes produced by firing ceramic bisque and glazes. The downdraft vent pulls a small amount of air from the kiln, which creates a negative pressure. This will prevent the fumes from entering your laundry room.
A KILN STORY: WHAT I’VE LEARNED ABOUT KILNS
By Deborah Thurman
1) I learned to use a Kiln Sitter--right after I realized I forgot to put a cone in the Sitter and I had already fully loaded the kiln.
2) I learned the hard way the difference between cone 6 and 06. I tried to glaze fire cone 6 and fortunately programmed 06, so I didn't have a disaster.
3) I learned the hard way not to refer to the one person each semester who put terra cotta on the cone 10 glaze shelf as an &%$&. I learned that right about the time I turned into an &%$& and put the low-fire white clay on the cone 10 glaze shelf. I got lucky that I only melted my piece into another student's test tiles and got even luckier when the student thought the test tiles now joined with white clay were the cutest thing and wanted to hang it on her wall.
4) I learned that there's a BIG difference between how I program a 30 minute hold for the electric kiln and how I program a 30 hour hold. Fortunately, nothing melted and Jim (my husband) actually liked the effect it had on his pieces. Jim shut the kiln off after I realized my mistake, so it was only a 15 hour hold.
You can't learn all that from a book, and knowing all that is a huge help.
“Even the most tedious chore will become endurable as you parade through each day convinced that every task, no matter how menial or boring, brings you closer to fulfilling your dreams.” --Og Mandino
NEWS: TWO CUSTOMER SERVICE EMPLOYEES JUST HIRED
Donna Butts and Ashley Hall are the newest members of Paragon’s customer service team. We enjoy having them. They are hard workers and add to the positive atmosphere in the office. Welcome to Paragon, Donna and Ashley!
Last week my wife’s grandfather, Casey, turned 98. He celebrated his birthday by riding his bike several blocks to a retirement center. People there were amused to see a 98-year-old riding a bike. Sandi said, "That's why he's 98!" Occasionally I hear from customers who are just a few years younger than Casey and still firing their Paragon kilns. Those may be the most creative years of all.
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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