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Kiln Pointers

How to Interpret the Voltmeter

Test an element with an ohmmeter rather than a voltmeter.


How to Interpret the Voltmeter

Reader Response: 92-year-old Ed Hoy

Recent Q&As: Removing a stuck cone from a Kiln Sitter; glass bubbles caused by the shelf

Memorable Quote



Often customers who phone us for advice about their kilns tell us, “I know all the elements are okay, because I’ve checked each one with a voltmeter.” Voltage at the element connectors does not mean the element is okay, however.

Test your elements with an ohmmeter, not a voltmeter. A voltmeter will read voltage across the two connectors of an element even if the element is broken. This is because a voltmeter reads the voltage that is available at the element connectors. A break in the element does not cut off the power coming to the element from a relay or switch.

The voltmeter is useful in checking switches, relays, and wire connections. If voltage is not detected at the element connectors while the elements are receiving power, then a switch or relay has burned out or a wire is disconnected.

Please observe safety precautions when using a voltmeter. If you are not familiar with a voltmeter, then use the ohmmeter instead. The ohmmeter is used with the power disconnected from the kiln.



In the last Kiln Pointer, I wrote about meeting 92-year-old Ed Hoy, founder of Ed Hoy’s International, a glass and equipment supplier. In the newsletter, I recounted the time Mr. Hoy saw one of his neighborhood friends in far-away wartime Europe.

David Kittrell of Kittrell/Riffkind Art Glass in Dallas, Texas wrote, “I was touched by your story about Ed Hoy. My dad served on a heavy cruiser in the Pacific after graduation from SMU in 1941.

“They were docked in Australia for repairs and rearming,” David wrote. “Dad said he was watching the work from the rail and spotted one of his college buddies. He yelled out to his friend 'Herk,’ who jumped up about a foot. Dad didn't talk much about the actions, the kamikaze strikes, the deaths and damage or the infliction of war on the enemy, but he did talk about seeing his friend on a foreign dock and how, for a short time, that gave him a ‘moment of home.’”

Bev Keener of Northford, Connecticut wrote, “Thank you for telling me that your wife's grandfather at 99 would think I am young at 77! I just met a 90-year-old tap dancer last week, the aunt of one of my retired friends. The tap dancer is the most vigorous, attractive, vital, energetic person you would ever wish to meet and regularly participates in dance recitals. So between your wife's grandfather, my friend Marie's Aunt Eleanor, and a collection of magnificent people I met in “Too Busy to Count the Years,” a book I just finished, I am feeling there is still a whole lot of life before me.”

Lisa Westheimer of West Orange, New Jersey wrote, “I went to a friend's artist talk last night. It was about her latest series, which chronicles the life of her British mom. During World War II, her mom went behind enemy lines to deliver messages to the Allies and once delivered a message to Tito regarding the location of hostile troops. Truly, she and Ed Hoy are part of the greatest generation.”



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

A. Ordinarily you can remove the stuck cone from the Kiln Sitter cone supports. First, pull the supports from the porcelain tube. They should slide right out of the slots. You may have to sand the supports with emery cloth to remove all traces of the cone.

In the future, coat the cone supports with kiln wash. Keep a small bottle of kiln wash nearby, mixed and ready to use. Use a bottle with brush applicator, such as a nail polish bottle. Shake before each use.

Do not allow kiln wash to build up on the cone supports. You need only a thin coat. Apply more kiln wash whenever the coating starts flaking off. Allow the kiln wash to dry before placing a cone in the Kiln Sitter.

Q. Can an imperfection in the kiln shelf cause bubbles in glass fusing?

A. A warped shelf can cause bubbles, because the air in the low area of the shelf will expand during firing and may try to escape from under the glass. This can form a bubble. Lay a straight edge across the surface of the shelf, and look for low spots. If you find one, try firing the shelf upside down. If you still get bubbles in the glass, then the shelf is not likely the cause of the bubbles.

Also, pre-fire the shelf after applying kiln wash or glass separator. Moisture released from the coating can cause bubbles.



"It may be possible to incorporate laughter into daily activities, just as is done with other heart-healthy activities, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator. The recommendation for a healthy heart may one day be exercise, eat right and laugh a few times a day." —Michael Miller


Two weeks ago while driving from Oklahoma City to Mesquite, my wife and I passed through a thunderstorm. In long, horizontal streaks, lightning remained suspended long enough for me to study the jagged lines. Nature can be frightening at times, yet so beautiful.

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 / / /

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

Copyright 2012, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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