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Checking a Kiln Load with a Flashlight

Before closing the lid, look down into the kiln one last time with a flashlight.


Checking a Kiln Load with a Flashlight

Recent Q&As: Kilns in unheated garages; a digital controller's true “as fast as possible” temperature

A Kiln Story: Kiln Cooking

Memorable Quote



Before closing the lid of a top-loading kiln, shine a flashlight down into the kiln to check the cone and actuating rod of the Kiln Sitter or the thermocouple of a digital kiln. Position the shelves so they do not block the view of the Kiln Sitter cone or thermocouple from above. (The thermocouple is the rod that measures the temperature of a digital kiln.)

Do not allow a piece of glazed ware to extend past a shelf and over the Kiln Sitter cone or the thermocouple. If the glaze drips from the ware onto the cone and actuating rod, the cone could harden, fail to bend, and overfire the kiln. Dripping glaze could also reduce the life of the thermocouple.

Ware and shelves should be at least 1/2” away from a thermocouple. Position shelves either above or below the Kiln Sitter tube. Never position a shelf directly in line with the tube. This is because jarring the kiln could push the shelf against the Kiln Sitter and prevent the rod from dropping.



Q. Thanks, Arnold, for your reminders about starting the kiln after a long absence. Are there other things that should be done if the kiln is in an unheated garage?

A. I would dust off the kiln and the surrounding area. You might also fire the kiln to about 1000 F / 537 C to dry out the firing chamber. Only the kiln shelves and posts should be in the kiln during this firing.

Q. My controller doesn't let me type in numbers, so to set it to 9999 for “as fast as possible” with arrow keys takes a LONG time. With that in mind, I started programming a cooling rate of AFAP (as fast as possible) as 2000 degrees per hour. So, why 9999?

A. Your AFAP temperature of 2000 is a good idea to save time in scrolling through the numbers. You are right--as long as the programmed cooling rate is faster than the kiln's actual ability to cool, the rate that you enter is AFAP.

The AFAP cooling rate of 9999 originated with the early Bartlett controllers, which have 12 keys. Since you can enter the numbers without scrolling, 9999 is a convenient number for a cooling rate that shuts off the elements during a segment.



Rosemary Partridge of Salt Spring Island, Canada wrote, “Years ago my elderly aunt, visiting from England, used my enameling kiln to make meringues. She said it was perfect for that, and I should make some. She wasn't much interested in enameling, and I wasn't much interested in meringues.”



“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” –Steve Jobs


Quiet yet significant dramas happen all around us. I hadn’t seen Mark, a salesman who calls on Paragon, in months. Then one day recently he stopped by to visit. He was thinner than I had ever seen him, and he leaned against a cane. He told me he had just recovered from a stroke.

“I lay in a hospital bed for weeks staring at the ceiling,” he said. “I asked my doctor, ‘What do I have to do to get out of here?’ My doctor said, ‘Walk 220 steps, and you can leave.’”

So Mark began to teach himself to walk again by exercising his legs in bed. He struggled for weeks to achieve that magic number, 220 steps. Just standing before me was a great achievement.

Before Mark left, he said he was grateful to walk again and to do the simple things he had always taken for granted.

I hope you are enjoying your weekend.

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 / / /

To respond to this Kiln Pointer, press Reply. Your email will go directly to Arnold Howard.

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

Copyright 2011, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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