search  current discussion  categories  kilns & firing - salt & soda 

buying a kiln/and salt soda dilemma

updated tue 1 feb 05


mel jacobson on mon 31 jan 05

the first kiln should be a purchased electric.
(in my opinion) it does not have be huge.
just get one and get going.

if you build a kiln later, you will still have your
electric to bisque fire and do simple commission work.
it will pay for itself in no time.
i would not build an electric kiln. i have two old
ones and they work like a charm. both are 1966 vintage.
still fire just fine. one i got in the dump/free.
itc, new coils, repaired one switch.

itc will work in a soda kiln if you make sure the seams
are filled.

nils is just finishing a small salt kiln that he has dipped the soft bricks
in itc 100, and has actually used the itc as mortar.
just spraying the itc on the face of the soft bricks will work,
but in time it will just fail anyway. the salt and soda
creep in behind and peel away the face. we have strong
evidence of this at our salt kiln at the farm.

the best in my opinion, is still an all fibre kiln, sprayed with
multi coats of itc 100. our modules at the farm salt kiln
are as good as new after about 60 firings.

we are not going to do anymore heavy salt in that kiln.
just use it as a stoneware kiln, and let the salt be residual.
we will see.

i have reported this in cm/letters to the editor twice.
soft brick kilns with itc coatings, used as salt kilns
will fail in time. the salt goes behind, eats away and
destroys the facing. then it will fail all the way.
itc has some great, very specific uses. it is not a
cure all, always works sort of thing...none of us that use
it have ever said that. others voice opinions as if we did..not
true. lots of b.s. surrounding itc. it has to be sorted out.

we have never had an electric kiln fail that has been sprayed
properly with itc. some love it, some hate it.
so be it.

mel jacobson/minnetonka/minnesota/usa