Q. I have a recipe for a reduction glaze that requires a hold at the end of the firing cycle. How do I add a hold to a manual kiln when the Kiln Sitter automatically shuts it off?
A. You can add a hold at the end of the firing, even on a manual kiln. With a pyrometer (a device that reads temperature inside the kiln), it is easy to add a hold. You can add a hold even without a pyrometer, but it will require guesswork.
At the end of the firing, you will hear the Kiln Sitter weight drop, shutting off the kiln. Raise the weight and press the Kiln Sitter plunger (the button that turns on the Kiln Sitter). Then gently lower the weight. The kiln is now firing again. Please be aware that the Kiln Sitter is operating on manual and will not shut off the kiln.
With a pyrometer, you can adjust the switches to maintain the temperature of the correct pyrometric cone. When the needle on the pyrometer goes too high, lower the switch setting. If the needle goes too low, raise the switch setting.
If you don’t have a pyrometer, you can still add a temperature hold to your firing. When the kiln shuts off at maturity, observe the color of the firing chamber. (You can see the color through the peephole and around the edges of the lid.) Turn the kiln switches to a setting that maintains that same color. This method will give an approximate rather than an exact hold, but the results should be close.
You might want to experiment with a test sample before using temperature hold on a full load of ware.
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