ZeeknZana on mon 16 mar 98
Hi. This is a brief overview of the responses and progress of my
basement studio set up for those of you who asked me to foward my information.
Right now I'm setting up a studio in a very old bleak basement, but I
have hopes that with some paint and lights that it can be transformed. It has
to because it is my only affordable option right now and I really have to get
muddy again. So far through the clayart group and various readings, I've
decided on purchasing an Orton stand ventilation system that uses regular
household current and dryer hose and outlet. Perfect set up because my kiln,
a Skutt electric is hooked up to the dryer electrical outlet, so that works
out. That's about as far as I've gotten. I'm still trying to finish painting
the basement, which has turned out to be quite the project. Ive also decided
to rig up a sink, a somewhat altered laundry sink, to the water outlets and
drainage that go with the washer.
Other helpful advice I have gotten is to work wet, install shoplites with
daylite bulbs, install a fan in the window above work space, invest in a
good shop vac with goretex filter, use a computer controller on kiln (too
expensive for me, I'm going to put a timer on my kiln and I already have a
kiln sitter installed), clean studio wet and I think that's it.
If anybody out there still has more to add to this list please feel
free, there seems to be at least a half-dozen of us trying to rig up working
spaces that are safe and useful so we can once again join the muddy forces at
a more regular basis!
Thanks for all the great responses,
Dwiggins, Sandra on tue 17 mar 98
I worked for many years in a basement with the set-up you are making for
yourself. My basement was all large foundation stones(the house was built in
1890) and to start, I painted the entire space white using a waterproofing paint
that kept out leaks in the stones and mortar. It kept the space relatively
cheerful and dry, when it rained and no mold grew. It also allowed the pieces
to dry in a relatively short time for a basement. I built wooden shelves
around my wheel space with ware boards for shelves so that I could easily
transfer ware from one place to another. I used a series of rubber hoses for
getting water to where I needed it, i.e. the glaze area. The hoses were hung
from the ceiling with nozzles at the areas where I needed running water.
Lighting was, as you describe, a series of shoplights (very inexpensive
actually) all over the ceiling. I had one very large table for hand-building
and working space and an old non-working refrigerator(actually 2) for holding
clay and one for slowly drying pieces I was working on. I used the stuff that
keeps dust down in studios on the floor in the glaze area all the time and used
the shop vac. I never used a sink because I found that I could just wash
things off in buckets, and dispose of the water when it got too messy. The
hoses worked extremely well for supplying fresh water.
Lots of good luck with your venture. When my daughter starts college this fall,
I'll be transforming my unheated porch into a studio, too. I'm interested in
how your kiln does attached to the dryer outlet. I remember someone on clayart
saying that attaching to a dryer outlet might not be a good idea because of
something to do with phase.
Liisa/Fern Reid on wed 18 mar 98
your studio progress sounds great. Just one thought: Consider using =
dryer venting instead of hose with your Orton vent system. More efficient
(no ridges to impede air flow) and much more durable (resistant to attack =
fumes as well as heat). It's almost as easy to use as plastic hose.
Happy potting, Liisa
Connie Christensen on wed 18 mar 98
Does anyone have experience with plugging an electric kiln into a dryer
outlet? I'm also thinking about setting up studio space in a basement,
but it will be in a rented house and I would like to avoid any rewiring
if possible. I have a medium sized Skutt kiln, I think the model number
is 1027, it has three rings and there are elements in all the rings.
Thanks to anyone who can answer this - I don't want to do anything that
will burn the house down.
Sandra K. Tesar on thu 19 mar 98
When I set up my first studio in 84, I had my stove receptacle face plate
changed and the circuit checked by an electrician. ( I was in a huge old
house and used the dining room - the receptacle was in the floor of a
cabinet room divider) . I fired this way with a big old window fan
directly (two feet) behind for a year and a half. No electrical problems
- but I did use a licenses electrician to ease my mind. My next
generation studio experience late in 85 was in a garage, near the fuse
box and using cartridge fuses that were for a dryer no longer being used.
I had professional wiring to the panel and fired this way until 89. THere
was a problem here. The fuses went bad about every six months, one or the
other. We kept a close eye on all firings and replaced fuses without
hesitation. THe overall age of the wiring may effect it. I have always
relied on qualified electricians who have had some contact with kilns or
who are endowed with common sense (not always a factor in anyone's
makeup). When I built my own studio in 89 I had the panel box within 30
inches of my two kilns. In 91 I was just starting one load with the lid
propped and the other kiln was in high during its last 2 hours when I ran
a teenager home that was doing some yard work for me, then stopped at a
restaurant a mile from my house to chat with the owner over a coke. As we
chatted we counted fire trucks going by...the volunteers normally ate at
this restaurant...we idly counted three, I said goodnight and drove the
mile home (overall I was not gone one hour) to find all three fire
trucks plus the country neighbors in my yard and the studio building 3/4
gone. THe firemen were yelling at me to get into the house and turn off
the main fuse box...I waded through three inches of water (my kilns were
up on cinder blocks so I would not have to bend so far...it turned out to
be a good idea) and opened the box next to the kilns and turned it off -
giving them "one of those" looks. THe open kiln they had filled with
water, the kiln in high fired beautifully and was undamaged, the third
kiln I had recently acquired used was sitting under the adjascent carport
and was crushed to its bottom by that same carport.
The cause of the fire had nothing to do with the kilns, the wiring,
or leaving the kiln unattended for under an hour.
I am relatively new to Clay art and have not said overly much. I
have made my living with clay for 15 years and although I am no expert, I
thought perhaps this illustration might ease your mind to the randomness
of experience and wiring. Check with an electrician by phone to answer
your "cycling" questions - it will cost you nothing. Have an electrician
come to you if you are uncomfortable at all - the cost in my current
state of residence is about $50 per hour and it is an under an hour
proposition in most cases to match the receptacle plate to the kiln plug
and check the wiring.
Since I seem to be rambling, let me address the clay art er who
expressed fear of raku firing. THis will bring us full circle on my story
for those who are annoyed as to why I have not told WHAT started the
At this time I was experimenting with raku in a raku kiln and burner
I had built with help at a workshop. I usually fired about ten feet in
back of my building. When done (and in those days discouraged) I would
quench the site, the barrel of combustibles and soak the landscape bucket
full of charred debris since I was assisted by an old girl scout...
That day I had smelled propane coming from a tiny 20 pound tank I
had a Mr. Heater ( a device for heating outdoor areas or very ventilated
enclosures...such as a garage with door open). I pulled the tank away
from the building, sprayed all seams with soapy water to look for air
bubbles denoting a leak; I fund none and since it was a windy day I left
the tank thirty feet from the carport but still on the open air cement
pad , until my partner returned to check it out further.
We had plans to fire that late afternoon, and the afore mentioned
teenager asked to remain and watch. We fired for about two hours,
quenched, cleared the area and sat the oven tray bearing about 10 pieces
on some bricks on a work table under the carport (next to the used kiln
The fire marshall later found the flash point of the fire at the
outer wall of the building at the corner nearest the little propane tank,
which, though charred, did not explode. Our only plausible explanation
was that the propane leaking out, heavier than air, had followed the
slight incline of the cement and had gathered at the base of the building
as water would run across the carport from the adjacent cement pad
during a heavy rain. What sparked this pooled propane? Perhaps an ember
from the raku fired pieces on the tray nearby? I doubt it as they had
been dunked in buckets of water and sloshed out. There is no conclusive
explanation for the sparking of the propane...but it was NOT the propane
tank used for firing...that 100 pound tank was sitting against the wall
of the building that burned, at the far end of the same wall where the
fire flashed. Flames did not reach the tank, the carport collapsed over
it but did not damage it in any way. THe four pvc tubes freshly poured
with cement for weights for my new canopy were charred beyond use,( my
new canopy was sitting in the van as I had a show in 2 days and had set
it in there after rehearsing putting it up in the yard). The raku pieces
I unearthed two weeks later under the rubble and had gone through yet a
second reduction and oxidation process, two pieces were intact, all had
been transformed from their first fire bath and I have kept the two
pieces....this reduction/oxidation/reduction/oxidation process is too
expensive to repeat but they are lovely.
What is my point. The point is this. You can choose to be cautious,
careful and take precautions but if you do not risk attempting things
that have your curiosity and interest then you won't have any good
stories to tell. What is the moral? When you find yourself counting fire
trucks it is time to go home.
Sandra on Keel Mountain where moist mistings gray the day.
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The Kiln Guy on thu 19 mar 98
> Does anyone have experience with plugging an electric kiln into a dryer
> outlet?I think the model number is 1027, it has three rings and there are
elements in all the rings.
The Skutt 1027 is a 48 amp kiln(on 240 volts). The dryer outlet is usually
rated at 30 amps.
The rule of thumb is that you should not use more than 80-85% of the rating
of the fuses, breaker or outlet.
Your 1027 will need to be fused at 60 amps.
Your dryer outlet can be used to a maximum, theoretical, amperage of 25.5.
most 3 cubic foot kilns draw 24-27 amps.
Hope this helps,
Chris @ Euclid's Kilns and Elements
Web Site: http://www.euclids.com
amy parker on thu 19 mar 98
Get the specs on the kiln's electrical requirements from the manufacturer.
Have a qualified ELECTRICIAN (not a buddy - pay for this it could be your
life) compare your existing wiring to that required for your kiln. The
size of the wire itself and the size of the breakers are both important.
If the kiln needs larger wires than the dryer (which it well might), you
need to see about getting the right size, so that the circuit will not
overheat and melt. This can happen even if the breakers are the right
I just went thru this exercise with my electrician. I now have heavier
wiring for the kiln on a separate circuit. It might be possible to replace
the dryer wiring with thicker wire and use the same circuit. Mine both
draw the same amps, but the guage is 2 sizes larger for the kiln.
At 08:56 AM 3/18/98 EST, you wrote:
>Does anyone have experience with plugging an electric kiln into a dryer
>outlet? I'm also thinking about setting up studio space in a basement,
>but it will be in a rented house and I would like to avoid any rewiring
>if possible. I have a medium sized Skutt kiln, I think the model number
>is 1027, it has three rings and there are elements in all the rings.
>Thanks to anyone who can answer this - I don't want to do anything that
>will burn the house down.
amy parker Lithonia, GA
David B.Buck on fri 20 mar 98
Connie Christensen wrote:
> ----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> Does anyone have experience with plugging an electric kiln into a dryer
> outlet? I'm also thinking about setting up studio space in a basement,
> but it will be in a rented house and I would like to avoid any rewiring
> if possible. I have a medium sized Skutt kiln, I think the model number
> is 1027, it has three rings and there are elements in all the rings.
> Thanks to anyone who can answer this - I don't want to do anything that
> will burn the house down.
> Denver, Colorado
I am a carpenter & physics technologist, not an
electrician. When I wired up my kiln to plug into the dryer I had to
replace the number 10 gauge wire with number 8 gauge wire( dryer wire with
stove wire). [This was suggested by the electrician at the hardware
store(Do-it-yourself-electric-mart on Carling Avenue)]. This wire has a
diameter twice the sise as the number 10 wire. My kiln is an Alouette
17-18A and is rated at 25.4 Amps. Ratings are almost allwise high. Dryer
cable handles 30 Amps and stove cable handles 50 Amps. If the kiln was on
for only a short period the dryer cable would be fine but over long periods
the wire can heat up to higher then safe levels. Electric heaters seem to
have the same problem.
My other problem was to find a plug without a tail(6 foot
cable). It took 8 electric stores and $44.00 Canadian to find one.
First you have to find the current rating(how many Amps) of
your kiln. Then ask an electrican, the electrical inspector or people at an
electric store for the right sise wire. Mention that you are using the
rated amperage for a long time( many hours). If you have to go into the
fuse box or circuit breaker turn off building power and have someone else
hold a flashlight. I would also suggest talking to the building electric
inspector before and being inspected after any work. Finnaly feel the plug
or plugs, every few firings, for heat. If a plug or outlet is hot there is
a poor connection and danger of fire. Get it fixed(tightened). Also when
feeling for heat use the back of your hand. If somethink is electrified
your hand will close and move away from the plug instead of hanging on to
Have fun and enjoy your kiln.
David B. Buck
Nepean, Ont. Canada