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beginner's questions

updated wed 11 sep 02


Lily Krakowski on tue 10 sep 02

Dear Matthew Bullis

You have the basic info, but some points might be added.

Even if you have a line that was used to be used for an appliance such as a
washer, dryer, or stove, you must make sure that you have enough electricity
COMING INTO YOUR HOUSE NOW to allow you to fire that kiln. You do not want
to need to take cold showers and eat cold food and wear dirty clothes with
Madam fires.

All kilns not only become hot on the outside but they radiate a lot of heat.
You ask about small spaces, which is what makes me write this. A kiln
should have plenty of room around it. My Skutt 181 measures roughly 18"x18"
by 20" inside, but closer to 26 diameter on the outside and an extra five or
so where the switch box is. Newer kilns--mine is about 30 years old-- if
not more-- have more insulation I think, so they are fatter.

The person from whom you buy the kiln will tell you how much space it needs
around it.

If you ask about the heat because you are worried about running into it,
many schools and such put a wire screen around the kiln space to prevent
people from wandering into a hot kiln.

Kiln sitters are great, but they can do dumb things, like not work right. A
timer is good , too, because once you have a rough idea how long it takes
your kiln on your kiln cycle to reach the cone you want you set the timer
for a little longer, and it will turn the kiln off at the proper time more
or less if the kiln sitter does not.

It seems to me that a friendly electrician can install a buzzer for you,
that would make a loud noise as soon as the kiln sitter drops. That way you
can learn how long it takes, etc.

The real problem I fear is stacking the kiln. Most kilns are top
loaders--which means they open like trunks--and as far as I know only very
expensive ones are front-loaders--they open like cabinets.

To stack a top loader one must lean into it, and lower shelves into it. It
is very easy to bang into the kiln walls and chip the brick which is very
soft. I expect you have worked out harder problems, but I just wanted to
make sure you were giving this thought.

The best of luck

Lili Krakowski
P.O. Box #1
Constableville, N.Y.
(315) 942-5916/ 397-2389

Be of good courage....