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how i really do it (hot kiln)

updated sun 23 dec 01


mel jacobson on sat 22 dec 01

open a hot kiln.

at 450=B0F i take out two bricks from the door.
open the flu a bit.

at 400=B0F i take out two layers of brick from the door.
at 300=B0F i take out half of the door. open flu all the way.
about two hours later i take out the entire door.
put on gloves, slowly take out pots.
they are warm, not hot.
this entire process takes about 5 hours.
i unload about 11 a.m.
i always turn my kilns on about 5 a.m., then slow firing
til 8 a.m. then hit the pipes, when i get the first hint of reduction.
011. one has to build energy into the kiln before you get full
reduction. that is why i use wood and scrap for early reduction
with shino. i have a single small burner with safety shut off
that i run all night. warm kiln shelves and posts...get wax out
of kiln. simple moisture removal.

i actually worry more about taking out hot kiln shelves than
pots. at one hundred and twenty bucks each..well, i take
good care of them.

i open all bisque firings when cold....i use the kiln for storage.
i hate touching bisque anyway. might as well leave it alone.
no dust in the kiln.

so, do as i do, not as i joke about.
but, really, we fire a hell of a lot of pots
at hay creek..and unload hot.
it seems ok.
each clay, each potter, each firing has a system.
be aware of your system. make sure it is correct.
take care of your kiln, shelves, posts.
it is important.
Minnetonka, Minnesota, U.S.A.
web site:

Mike Gordon on sat 22 dec 01

In the last few days before X-Mas vacation ( I teach high school ) I had
my first kiln disaster, - firing a Scutt 1227, the top shelf in a glaze
firing cracked in half.Everything glazed together.( You should of heard
the bitching and moaning!) This is low fire C/06 glaze.I fire this daily
and unload it HOT with gloves. Could the heat shock cause the crack? I
start it at 4pm and it fires overnite in a cement block kiln room, metal
roof. I use cone setter and a timer. The timer is set for 1 hr. beyond
cone melt, which is 8hrs. so it cools about 6hrs before I open the lid
for cooling.Mike Gordon, Walnut Creek, Ca.