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"hybrid kiln" project: an update

updated wed 19 jul 06


Ken Nowicki on tue 18 jul 06

Hello fellow clay-addicts,

A few people have asked recently... so thought I'd post a quick update on my=
L&L "hybrid" kiln project for those that are interested... (you can check my=
posts in the archives if you want to know more details about this gas/electr=
^10 kiln)

After returning from NCECA in Portland, it took nearly 3 months to finally=20
get my electrician back out here to finish the remaining work which I'd=20
originally contracted him out to do over a year ago. All the pre-wiring had=20=
been done,=20
but now that the kiln was physically here and not at L&L's factory anymore..=
it needed it to be final-hard-wired to my electrical panel. In addition, he=20
needed to finish the 220 V wiring for my pugmill, install some overhead=20
lighting, core the holes in my concrete basement wall for the kiln vent and=20=
vent, and install the heat exchanger/ventilation unit (room vent) as well.

I'm happy to report that about 3 weeks ago... all of the above was=20
completed. Had he not been so good at what he does, I probably would've fire=
d him and=20
hired another contractor. Seems like all the good ones are hard to get to th=
job site for some reason. Anyway, it's done now... and it's a=20
"monkey-off-my-back". Whew!

So, other than running the telephone wire from the computer controller in my=
kiln room (aka- "boiler room") to my basement office computer for the K.I.S.=
software program on my kiln... and connecting the flexible gas line to the=20
burner (and doing a soap test)... everything is done and ready to begin test=
firing this baby.

Last night I stayed up late putting in some final touches... installing my C=
detector, fire extinguisher, oxyprobe, and loading the kiln for its "maiden=20
firing". Actually, the kiln was tested several times at the factory and=20
everything was A-okay, but this test firing is the first here at home. Again=
, this=20
will be "electric only" this first time.

Since my studio is not quite up and running yet, and I don't have any=20
greenware to load, I'm using all my kiln furniture and shelves that I coated=
ITC100 as a "mock load", none of which have been fired yet. I was planning t=
o run=20
a "slow bisque" program this morning, but it's too damn hot here today. I=20
would have had to open both windows in the kiln room, and let all the heat i=
from outside. (They say our heat index is 105=B0 F today! - blech!!!)=20
Fuggetaboutit! (see... I'm becoming a New Yorker already! lol ) I'm h=
oping that=20
later in the week it will cool down enough to run the test firing.

So... now the pressure is on... time to work on getting my basement turned=20
into my working studio and get some pots made so I can start testing this th=
and see if it is going to do everything I built it to do.

Originally, when I first began thinking about this kiln project... I knew it=
was sort of like putting the "cart before the horse" as far as getting my=20
studio built... but thought that maybe if I got the kiln done... it'd force=20=
me to=20
get the studio finished. Well... life happens... and it didn't exactly work=20
out that way... yet... but I'll get there... eventually. I'll keep you poste=
d on=20
any further developments.

All the best,

- Ken

Ken Nowicki
Port Washington, New York
Charter Member Potters Council