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kiln sitters

updated wed 7 mar 01


mel jacobson on tue 6 mar 01

the first, and most important aspect of kiln sitters is:
they are not fail safe.
often folks just start the kiln, walk away and next day
have a disaster.

have someone check your sitter each day. make sure it is off.
i had a 220V light bulb installed in the art office. big bulb. bright.
it was on when the kiln was on. worlds largest pilot light.
each night when the janitor came in at 8 p.m. he checked
for that light, if it was on, he hit the main switch to the kiln.
saved my bacon several times.
if he did not check, the repair of the kiln came from the custodian budget.
it happened once...not twice.

(i have a nine foot lead to my pilot light in my studio...the kiln
is in one room (away from my lungs) and the pilot is near me.
i can see the minute it shuts down. am thinking of putting in a
second one...outside the studio, under the eave, i can see that
from my bedroom window. nice, won't have to walk out to the
kiln at 11 p.m. to make sure it is off.

anyone can adjust the little screw that holds the small
plate that controls the dropping of the weight. that shuts off
the kiln. it can be adjusted so the cone will bend a small amount,
or a great deal. you have to test your sitter so it is perfect for
you. i like my weight to drop as soon as the cone melts a bit.
when you set the cone in place, check to see how much of the
tab on top of the weight is holding the weight in place...understand?
that tab can be moved up and takes a small screw driver
to open the screw a bit. the deeper the tab goes into the holder
the more pressure it takes to release it. (cone bend)

often goober gets in the hole for the rod. if goober holds the
rod up, the cone can melt to cone 14. the rod will not fall.

a kiln should be level, if not, the weight can sit vertical and not
drop when the cone has happened.
i put a piece of cardboard under the back leg of the kiln stand to
tip the kiln just a tiny bit forward. helps the weight drop fast.

when you call skutt, please be nice to perry. he is the best tech
around. and a hell of a nice guy. (former student.)
the skutt folks are super about getting things right. i have had
superior service from them for years. outstanding.

it is important to learn how your tools work. they are NOT FAILSAFE.
skutt and paragon, L&L, and all of them will remind you over and over.
but, few listen. then yell like a bansheeeee, `you buggers, my
kiln is ruined and it is your fault`....whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
all of my kilns are mine, the become mine when i pay for them.
it is up to me to maintain them in perfect order. or, i have to
pay someone to do that. just a fact. 50 different things can go wrong,
at anytime with a kiln sitter.

Minnetonka, Minnesota, U.S.A.
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