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How to Store Kiln Furniture

Shelves and posts are called kiln furniture.


How to Store Kiln Furniture

Reader Response: A secondary use for a kiln’s heat; an overfired kiln

The Kiln Sitter Firing Gauge

The NCECA show in Pittsburgh



There is less danger of cracking if you store shelves vertically in a shelf rack or even leaning against a wall rather than flat. If a piece of clay or other material is lodged between horizontally stacked shelves, weight pressing down can crack a shelf. However, as long as the stack is no higher than three or four shelves and the shelves are clean, you can store them flat.

Store kiln furniture in a dry area. Moisture can cause shelves to crack or even to explode inside the kiln. A freshly kiln-washed shelf should be allowed to dry thoroughly, then fired slowly to allow any moisture in the shelf to evaporate.

Store posts of the same length together. This will save you time when you load the kiln.

Store shelves so that the sides with kiln wash face each other. This prevents flakes of kiln wash from transferring to the underside of other shelves.

You may find it helpful to draw a shelf pattern on a table and plan the load for each shelf before you begin loading the kiln.



Pat March of United Kingdom wrote, “When a stoneware firing has finished, we place an enamel casserole pot full of steak and vegetables on top of the kiln and leave it for hours. It is beautifully tender every time, enough for two meals cooked for free!”

Last week’s Kiln Pointer was “Monitoring the Kiln.” Tony Rodriguez of San Antonio, Texas wrote, “I just went to Austin to check a kiln that had a meltdown. When I opened the lid, the first thing I noticed was that the Kiln Sitter sensing rod was as thin as a sewing needle. I had serviced that kiln 2 1/2 years ago and provided the owner with a Kiln Sitter gauge and explained its use and the reason for it, along with the need for a firing log. During this time she had never checked the Kiln Sitter. The sensing rod was bent inside the tube assembly rendering it inoperative, and her Kiln Sitter does not have a safety Limit Timer. She fires at night in her studio and goes home - no monitoring whatsoever, and she fired to cone 10.

“I suggest you write or repeat a Kiln Sitter calibration Kiln Pointer and the reason why is needed.”


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 kiln has a Dawson Kiln Sitter, you should order the firing gauge. The cost is only $6.25 plus shipping. Your ceramic supplier may have them in stock.

A firing gauge comes with every new kiln equipped with a Kiln Sitter. Do not fire the kiln with the gauge on the cone supports. The gauge would prevent the Kiln Sitter from shutting off.

Use the gauge to adjust the actuating rod after every dozen or so firings. This is like giving a Kiln Sitter a "tune up." Place the gauge on the cone supports, sliding the actuating rod through the hole in the gauge. If the actuating rod is not centered in the porcelain tube, loosen the two screws on the guide plate and move the guide plate from side to side.

Lift the Kiln Sitter weight to the raised position. With the firing gauge in place, the trigger should just barely clear the release claw, coming as close as possible without touching. If the gap is wrong, loosen the set screw in the center of the weight, move the trigger, and retighten the set screw.



My NCECA adventure began Tuesday last week at 5 a.m. when a shuttle stopped by my house. It was misty and dark as I rolled my suitcase out to the curb and left for Dallas-Ft Worth Airport with John Hohenshelt (president of Paragon).

A mechanical problem delayed our flight. When we finally boarded a plane, the rain was beginning to pelt the terminal windows.

We waited on the tarmac, all seats filled in the cramped plane. The wind picked up until it howled above the whine of the idling engines. In a bright flash, lightning hit just 200 yards away. Rain streamed in rivulets over the portholes. Though we were still on the ground, the plane swayed gently as if we were in turbulent flight. Someone in the seat behind me said, "This is a nightmare. This is so scary."

After we idled several hours on the tarmac, the pilot said over the PA that we had used up 10,000 pounds of fuel and no longer had enough to reach Pittsburgh, so we had to return to the gate. No one was allowed to stand up unless it was a "bathroom emergency" because the plane inched forward every few minutes. We finally reached the gates, but they were all occupied with other aircraft, so we waited . . . and waited. Four hours after we boarded the plane, we reached the gate and went to retrieve our bags.

John and I almost called off NCECA this year because we couldn’t get a flight out until Thursday. Then over my cell phone in the baggage area, a ticket agent told me a flight had just opened for Wednesday. I arrived late afternoon the next day.

At the Paragon booth we held a drawing for a Caldera digital glaze-test kiln. One of my favorite moments at NCECA was pouring the entry forms onto the floor Friday afternoon, closing my eyes, and picking the winner. It was Susan Powell, an excited teacher who brought her students with her to carry the kiln.

On late Friday I met my son, Patrick, and his wife, Leni, outside the exhibitors’ hall. They had just driven five hours from their home in Delaware and helped me crate kilns and pack the booth. Then we went to the Clayart room where I enjoyed seeing many friends.

At NCECA I acquired Bonnie Hellman dichroic glass earrings, a Veena Raghavan vase, and a Mel Jacobson pot. Bonnie’s earrings sparkle in even the dimmest light; Veena’s blue vase has a beautiful ethereal quality; and Mel’s pot has a long and colorful story behind it: a design feature from ancient China, the chattering tool that he made from scrap steel found in an alley, and the black specks from the shores of Lake Michigan.

To all of you who stopped by the booth to say hello, thank you! You helped make this year’s NCECA a special adventure.

Thank you,

With best wishes,

Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. – Better Designed Kilns 2011 South Town East Blvd. Mesquite, TX 75149-1122 Voice: 972-288-7557 & 800-876-4328 / Fax: 972-222-0646 /

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

Copyright 2008, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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