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opening a hot kiln

updated sat 3 dec 05 on sat 3 dec 05

i run a little jenkins electric kiln. pretty much a test kiln for mother=
other potters so i really dont worry about efficiency and there really =
isnt enough room for kiln shleves. so for me opening the kiln is not abo=
ut stress at all but more about the look youre going for. if i want a fl=
awless glaze coat sure i open it in the morning when its about 200 degre=
es. but i have also opened the kiln at somewhere around the 1000-1400 de=
gree range and walked away from it to let cool air in. the pinging is am=
azing and the crackle paters you can get in the glaze are absolutely gor=
geous. most of the time i do this i let them cool to about 300-400 and t=
hen place them in a small barrel with pine needles or sawdust or somethi=
ng like that and give them a slight smoking. the smoke dosent penetrate =
the glaze but does find its way through the cracks and accents them all =
beautifuly. ive done this for a few years now and have never noticed any=
ill effects to the kiln and have never had a pot explode or crack or wa=
rp or anything. all i get is some of the most amazing crackle patterns e=
ver. so to me its all in what you are looking for. maybe it is stressful=
on the kiln shelves...which are rather expensive and no fun to replace.=
so maybe you should be careful with that. but if you dont use/need them=
...why not??
its alot of fun too. especially at night. makes about a 10 foot radius o=
f orangish red light. very cool. =