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A New Tool for Cutting Element “Pigtails”

We learned at last year’s kiln seminar that the Crescent Pivot-Pro cutters require less exertion to cut element pigtails.


A New Tool for Cutting Element “Pigtails”

Reader Response: Electrical provider’s responsibility in raising voltage

Recent Q&As: Controller display inaccurate at room temperature

Memorable Quote

News: Kiln Maintenance Seminar November 4 - 5, 2016



After kiln elements are installed, the element ends, called “pigtails” because they are made from twisted wire, must be cut off so they are even with the element connectors. This is an important step, because it prevents electrical shorts inside the switch box.

Last year our friend Tony Rodriguez recommended the Crescent Pivot-Pro CCA5428 diagonal cutters. Tony had seen an upholsterer use the pliers to cut furniture springs, which are made from hardened steel and difficult to cut. As you can see from the photo, the cutters use a pivoting fulcrum that reduces the force needed to cut wire. According to Crescent, the Pivot-Pro diagonal cutters require 40 percent less pressure than standard cutters. We used them in our 2015 Kiln Maintenance Seminar and agree with Crescent.

The cutters are also available under the GearWrench 82120 name.



The last Kiln Pointer featured a story about a potter who used a bump-up transformer to raise the voltage from 190 to 230. A reader wrote, “The proper solution would have been to contact the electrical provider and request they provide the proper voltage under load as required by the STATE electrical codes. If the power company, at their expense, could not adjust the transformer providing power to the location, the power company could simply drop a meter at the site and resolve the problem.

“Tapping the high voltage through the transformer correctly is their job. Sometimes extra voltage is the result, because they tap off in ranges/ratios, and you can end up with either too much or not enough. Then they have to install an extra transformer in the system to adjust the voltage.”



Q. The controller never seems to register a temperature lower than 94 or 95F, regardless of how long the kiln has been idle and the ambient room temperature, which averages 80F in the summer. Is this normal?

A. Thermocouple Offset raises or lowers the thermocouple reading to match the actual firing temperatures inside the kiln. The Thermocouple Offset adjustment made in a Sentry or Sentry Xpress controller will also alter the thermocouple reading at room temperature. This may explain why your room temperature reading is slightly off.



“Emily Dickinson said that ‘Hope is a thing with feathers . . . .’ I say hope is having clay on my hands and pinch pots firing in the kiln.” --Bev Keener



We are holding a Kiln Maintenance Seminar November 4 - 5, 2016 in Mesquite, Texas. There is no charge to attend. On Friday, listen to lectures on kiln maintenance. On Saturday, you will get hands-on training in the factory. For more information, please call 972-288-7557 or send an email to


I apologize for the long delay in publishing the Kiln Pointer. We are resuming regular publication with this issue.

Our friend Tony Rodriguez passed away January 31, 2016. He taught the Paragon maintenance seminars during much of the 1990s. The last time I saw him, he took my family and me to dinner and told us stories about his life. At our future seminars, I will think of Tony.

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 / / /

Feel free to email this Kiln Pointer to friends. To read back issues Click here or go to, select “Support,” and then “Kiln Pointers” from the drop menu.

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 2016, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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