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Kiln Pointers

How to Level Your Kiln with a Smartphone

Open the spirit level application on your smartphone, and place the phone flat on the kiln shelf.


How to Level Your Kiln with a Smartphone

Reader Response: Estimating the cost of electricity; appreciating beauty

Memorable Quote



“Here’s a handy little Kiln Pointer: Use your iPhone to level you kiln,” wrote Craig Merriman. He sent the photo above. Craig recommends removing the phone case for better accuracy.

Other brands of smartphones such as the Nokia, Android, and Blackberry can also level a kiln. These sample instructions are for the iPhone 5S:

1) Touch “Utilities” on the main screen.

2) Touch the Compass icon. Tilt the phone at different angles to calibrate the level. When this is finished, a compass will appear.

3) Slide your finger from right to left. The spirit level will appear.

4) Place the phone on a kiln shelf, and adjust the shelf until the two circles overlap. A green screen will appear, indicating that the shelf is level.

Before you trust the accuracy of your smartphone, test it with a good spirit level.



Last week’s Kiln Pointer included a discussion about the accuracy of the Sentry 12-key controller in estimating the electrical cost of a firing. (The controller figures the firing cost by adding the number of minutes that the elements are turned on during the firing.)

Sharon Moffitt of Weisser Glass Studio & Gallery in Kensington, Maryland wrote, “An addendum to your reply about the cost calculator on the Sentry: There is no place in the Sentry’s calculator to enter the electricity transport charge and taxes that electrical companies charge, which I assume vary depending on where you live, time of day, etc. So it might not be an element/wattage issue; the kiln may just not have all the info.”

Sharon is correct. In the controller’s Options, select Cost. Enter the cost of electricity that you are charged. Electricity is charged by the kilowatt-hour (KWh). A kilowatt-hour is 1,000 watts of electricity running for 1 hour.

On your electric bill, you will find the cost per kilowatt-hour along with other charges such as a delivery charge and taxes. Divide the total amount you are charged by the number of kilowatt-hours on your bill. That is the true cost of a kilowatt-hour of electricity. Electric bills can be more complicated than that, however. The rates can vary by time of day or the day of the week. On an electric bill, this is called peak and off-peak rates. You may be paying less than the above calculation if you fire your kiln during off-peak periods.

In the last newsletter I wrote that the fog hovers above the fields here in Mesquite and that we don’t have to live in an exotic place to find beauty. It is all around us.

David Kittrell of Kittrell/Riffkind Art Glass in Dallas, Texas wrote, “I want you to enjoy those fields. Lots of us have taken them for granted only to wake up to bulldozers. Watch the hawks on the high-line poles as they swoop down onto those fields, through the mist, and come up with breakfast for the family. Enjoy the way the sun favors the highest plant tops as the breeze teaches them to dance in waves. Breathe in the air, freshened from its pass through the trees and grasses and listen for the slight whooshing, the chirping and the cooing. Take this in, not only for you and yours, but for all of us who have missed our chance. And, when you're done, go out and do good, be good and live both rich and well.”

Cindy Durant in faraway Penong, Australia wrote, “I agree completely with what you said in your last newsletter. I live in a very harsh yet beautiful environment and every day I try to make sure I realise the beauty….be it the clouds, leaves, dirt, rocks.”



“Thanks to the human heart by which we live, Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears, To me the meanest flower that blows can give Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.” William Wordsworth (Submitted by Maureen James)


Last week our daughter-in-law, Leni, was hired at her first job as a nurse. She came home a couple of evenings ago in her bright blue nursing scrubs and said, “I bawled today. Something terrible happened.”

My wife and I assumed Leni was talking about a suffering patient. “Something terrible happened in ‘Downton Abbey’!” she added. We are devoted viewers of the British TV show.

I hope you have a great weekend and enjoy firing your kiln.

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 2015, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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