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Showing FAQs 36of 36    


[From someone who owns a Duncan kiln] Are Kiln Sitter firing gauges of different dimensions for different kilns, or are they of a standard shape for all Duncans?

You can buy a Kiln Sitter firing gauge from ceramic suppliers. It is a small steel disk with a hole and two slots. The Duncan Kiln Sitter firing gauge is the same size as the one for the Dawson Kiln Sitter and the Orton Auto-Cone. New kilns come with ... [More]

A question on the Dawson Kiln Sitter and Orton Auto-Cone: Is it okay to use a silicone-based spray lube on the pivot point where the weight attaches to the front of the Auto-Cone?

Yes. It is okay to use a silicon spray lubricant on the pivot point.

... [More]

Are parts for the Dawson Kiln Sitter and the Duncan ASD interchangeable?

The Duncan ASD and Dawson Kiln Sitter switch blocks are not interchangeable, because Dawson uses bolts, spacers and nuts for assembly. Duncan, instead, uses bolts that fasten into threaded holes.

The Dawson Kiln Sitter sensing rod, claw, and ... [More]

Can I take a Kiln Sitter off my small kiln and install it on my large Paragon kiln?

The Kiln Sitter has a ceramic block that contains the electrical contacts. The Kiln Sitter contact block comes in two ratings: 50 amps or 75 amps. Most Kiln Sitters have the 50 amp contact block. Before transferring your Kiln Sitter to another kiln, ... [More]

How does the Kiln Sitter operate?

The Dawson Kiln Sitter is simple: A piece of clay bends when exposed to heat, which releases a trigger that turns off the kiln. Once you know how the Kiln Sitter works, you will find it easier to adjust.

Inside the kiln, a small clay pyrometr ... [More]

How important is it to apply kiln wash to the Kiln Sitter actuating rod and cone supports?

The kiln wash prevents the cone from sticking to the rod and cone supports. It is possible that a cone stuck to the support holders will not bend as far as normal. This could cause the kiln to overfire.

... [More]

How much time should I set on the Kiln Sitter Limit Timer?

The Limit Timer should be set to about 30 minutes longer than the expected firing time.

... [More]

I am adding a digital controller to my manual-fire kiln. How do I adjust the kiln Sitter?

When you add a digital controller to a switch-operated kiln, use the Kiln Sitter as an additional safety shutoff. Load a cone in the Kiln Sitter that is hotter than the actual firing so that the controller shuts off the kiln instead of the Kiln Sitte ... [More]

I am firing my kiln using the portable TnF 2 controller. Why is my Kiln Sitter’s Limit Timer no longer accurate?

Since your kiln is plugged into the TnF 2 portable controller, the kiln no longer receives power continuously. It receives power only when the digital controller turns on a relay. The relay turns on intermittently, so the actual firing time will alwa ... [More]

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?

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 t ... [More]

I have connected my manual kiln to a portable digital temperature controller. Should I continue to use the Kiln Sitter?

Even though you now have a digital controller, the Kiln Sitter is still useful as a safety backup. Load the Kiln Sitter 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 Si ... [More]

I have never used a Kiln Sitter. Is it necessary to read instructions before firing the kiln?

You should not fire your kiln until you have read instructions on the Dawson Kiln Sitter. You need to know how to calibrate it with a firing gauge, how to load it with the small cone, and how to adjust it. It is a very simple, reliable device that sh ... [More]

I recently saw sparks coming out of the Kiln Sitter. What causes that?

A foreign material may have dropped down through the top louvers of the kiln's switch box and fallen into the Kiln Sitter contact block. This would prevent the contacts from closing all the way, resulting in sparks and arcing.

... [More]

I was told that the number stamped on the small Orton cone in the Kiln Sitter should face toward the interior of the kiln. Is this true?

Orton recommends that the side of the cone with the stamped number should be down. That side is the strongest and resists breakage as the cone bends on the Kiln Sitter cone supports.

... [More]

If a small pyrometric cone sticks to the prongs in the Kiln Sitter, should the prongs be replaced?

Ordinarily you can remove the stuck cone from the Kiln Sitter cone supports (i.e. prongs) without having to replace the supports. Pull the supports from the porcelain tube. You will find that they slide right out of the slots. You may have to sand th ... [More]

If I turn the Limit Time dial to 5, the Kiln Sitter always shuts off at around 4. What Limit Timer settings should I use for greenware, underglaze, and glaze?

If the Kiln Sitter shuts off at around 4, then turning the dial to 5 gives you a one-hour margin of safety. This means that after the cone bends and shuts the kiln off, there is still one hour of time left on the Limit Timer. If the cone failed to be ... [More]

Is it okay to apply kiln wash to the Kiln Sitter small cone?

Apply the kiln wash to the cone supports; do not apply it to the cone. You can slide the cone supports out of the porcelain tube to examine them more closely. Keep a nail polish bottle of kiln wash nearby and recoat the supports with every firing. Al ... [More]

Is it okay to leave the kiln switches turned on and use the Kiln Sitter to turn on and shut off the kiln?

Before pressing the plunger to activate the Kiln Sitter, the kiln switches must be turned off. If the switches are turned on when you press the Kiln Sitter plunger, electric arcing will eventually degrade the Kiln Sitter contacts. If you listen caref ... [More]

Is it okay to use a large Orton cone in the Kiln Sitter?

No, use only the small cone. The large cone will overfire the kiln.

... [More]

My kiln has a Dawson Kiln Sitter. When the weight drops at the end of a firing, a faint flash appears. Is that normal?

Yes. The flash is from the electrical contacts separating, which turns off the power to the elements. You will see the flash coming from behind the Kiln Sitter button.

If you see a flash when you press in the Kiln Sitter button, it is because ... [More]

My Kiln Sitter doesn’t seem to operate properly ever since clay exploded inside the kiln.

Debris from exploding ware inside the kiln sometimes lodges in the Kiln Sitter refractory tube. These fragments can interfere with the travel of the actuating rod, resulting in an over-fire. After you have removed exploded clay fragments from the fir ... [More]

Should I use the same cone number on the shelf as I use in the Kiln Sitter?

With most kilns, the small cone in the Kiln Sitter should be one cone hotter than the witness cone on the shelf. This is because the weight of the sensing rod makes the Kiln Sitter cone bend a little sooner. The witness cone on the shelf is a more ac ... [More]

The Kiln Sitter plunger doesn’t stay in when I press it. What is the problem?

The plunger will not stay in unless you have time on the Limit Timer clock. If you have time on the clock, the Limit Timer may be burned up.

If you look at the back of the Kiln Sitter faceplate, you will see a small spring attached to a locki ... [More]

The Kiln Sitter rod feels sluggish when I lay it on the cone.

The actuating rod in the Kiln Sitter rests on top of the cone. As the cone bends, the rod moves downward and releases a trigger that shuts off the kiln.

As the rod corrodes, it no longer moves freely inside the porcelain tube. The rod’s pivot ... [More]

What are the basic Kiln Sitter adjustments?

1) Adjust the actuating rod so that it is centered in the porcelain tube.

2) Adjust the trigger at the end of the weight. (You will need a firing gauge.)

... [More]

What causes the Kiln Sitter to overfire?

The most common causes:

The trigger is out of adjustment

The porcelain tube is corroded.

The actuating rod is bent.

An obstruction outside the kiln is preventing the weight from dropping. For instance, leaning an objec ... [More]

What is the easiest way to apply kiln wash to the Kiln Sitter cone supports?

The metal parts of the Kiln Sitter that touch the small pyrometric cone should be coated with kiln wash. These parts are the two cone supports and the underside of the actuating rod.

Please do not apply kiln wash directly to the pyrometric co ... [More]

What is the small metal disk that comes with the Kiln Sitter? How important is the disk?

The Dawson Kiln Sitter firing gauge is a small metal disk used to adjust the Kiln Sitter actuating rod.

Many people have never seen a firing gauge, because it is often thrown away. But the gauge is important. If you don’t have one and your ki ... [More]

What Kiln Sitter pointers do you have for avoiding an over-fire?

These Kiln Sitter pointers will help prevent melt downs. These are very basic, but sometimes it is easy to forget the basics:

1) Warn others not to touch your kiln while it is firing. Bumping the Kiln Sitter release claw can move the guide pl ... [More]

What monthly maintenance do you recommend for the Kiln Sitter?

1) Before loading a cone onto the cone supports, check that the actuating rod can lift up and down freely. If the rod movement feels sluggish, corrosion may have built up inside the tube. Sometimes you can clean out the tube using long cotton-tipped ... [More]

What should I do if the Kiln Sitter shuts off before the witness cones have bent?

If the Kiln Sitter shuts off too early, you can put it on manual over-ride. Lift the weight, press in the Kiln Sitter plunger, and gently lower the weight. Note, however, that when on manual over-ride, the Kiln Sitter will not shut off the kiln.

... [More]

Why are the cones breaking in my Kiln Sitter?

1) The cones might have been roughly handled, resulting in fine hairline cracks. These can break during firing.

2) If the Kiln Sitter sensing rod is binding at the pivot point, it can exert too much pressure against the cone. Binding of the ... [More]

Why does the white plastic plunger on my Kiln Sitter get too hot?

If the Dawson Kiln Sitter overheats, the white plastic plunger can get so hot that it melts. The easiest way to prevent this problem is to make sure the high temperature washer on the porcelain tube is pressed against the firebrick kiln wall. A sprin ... [More]

Why is it recommended that the kiln switches should be turned off before pressing in the Kiln Sitter plunger?

If you press in the plunger with switches still on, the power will arc between the Kiln Sitter contacts. (A switch is designed to open and close an electrical circuit so rapidly that there is no time for the power to arc at the contacts. Pressing in ... [More]

Why should the cone supports be coated with kiln wash?

Some of the cones form a glassy surface that sticks to new Kiln Sitter cone supports. Once this happens, the Kiln Sitter will not shut off until either the cone gets so hot that it drips out of the cone supports, or the Limit Timer trips.

... [More]

Why won’t the cone in the Kiln Sitter bend?

The most common reason for this is that the wrong cone was used. The cone number stamped on the side of the cone is small. It is easy to load the wrong cone.

If the Kiln Sitter does not trip, even though the cone bends, check the rod for free ... [More]

Showing FAQs 36of 36    

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