Linda Mosley on sun 23 sep 01
It seems a waste to work hard to make something and
then either blow it up or stress it in a fast firing.
It took millenia to make the clay, so a few hours of
firing seems a minimal expenditure on my part. I like
to imagine that the kiln is a mysterious box where
magic happens, but I also like to think that I've done
my best to contribute to the clay's life as a pot.
I recommend 2 things:
1) use a digital pyrometer to monitor your manually
2) keep a log of what you do (time, current
temperature, and which switches are on). As you fire
you can subtract the previous temperature from the
current one to determine the rate of firing. It's the
heatwork, not how many switches, that is important.
Comparing firings in the log also helps you know when
an element is beginning to fail.
Firing tip: if you're kiln has on-off switches and
fires too fast, start with the lid propped about 1
inch, and turn the top switch on first, instead of the
usual bottom switch first.
The general firing schedule for bisque that I use is:
50-100 degrees (F) per hour up to 350
150 up to 1200
200-300 up to 1650-1850
100 for the last 100-200 rise
ceramic instructor, St. Louis Community College - FV
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