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making kiln shelves and repairing my kiln after a meltdown

updated fri 26 jan 07

 

Craig Fulladosa on tue 23 jan 07


I have not been active for quite awhile but have been lurking. I (embarrassed to admit) had a kiln mishap. My kiln setter had a mishap and did not shut off at the proper time along with no timer as a backup and I stupidly did not monitor the firing. Hence a meltdown of ridiculous proportions. All shelves lost and bottom of kiln and bottom elements destroyed. The kiln is a Cress octagonal B-18-H. My question is, does anyone know the procedure to dismantle the bottom part of the kiln so I can cut new bricks to replace the floor and bottom row of bricks?
The bottom element is encased in thick glaze as is the entire floor.
Also, has anyone ever made home-m\de kiln shelves? Is that a ridiculous idea? The only reason I am considering all this is because I am very limited with financial resources.
Right now my only chance of making a living is through making pots or tiles. I have a family to support and need to get something going. As you all can see I am beyond worrying about how stupid I a look amongst so many fellow potters, because I have been potting a long time myself, but have little kiln repair experience. I have learned my lesson about staying with the kiln. I knew better from the start.
If anyone knows please let me know about the kiln and also theshelves. I figure a new set of shelves will cost about 300 bucks that I don't have and also the kiln at least 500 to have repaired and maybe 200 or so if I can do it myself.

I believe this dilemna will challenge the list other than say change professions or buy a new kiln and shelves you idiot.

Respectfully yours,

Craig
the Clayman

ps I am prepared for ridicule on this one, but at my station in life right now, I don't care other than being able to work my way back to respectability and paying my bills.




---------------------------------
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Edouard Bastarache Inc. on tue 23 jan 07


"Also, has anyone ever made home-m\de kiln
shelves? Is that a ridiculous idea?"


Hello Clayman,

many years go I checked with Bill Hunt, then
editor for Ceramics Monthly,
he told me it was a waste of time and money; he
gave me the reasons but I
have forgotten them.
I had some made by bricklayers working for a local
stainless steelmill by
casting liquid alumina. The first attempt was not
very good; then we had to had
stainless steel filaments to make the alumina stay
together.
They are very heavy, 16"x16"x2". I have never used
them but bisque-fired them
a few times to see what would happen. They changed
colour a little bit, and
I do not know why.
They have a tendancy to chip.
I keep them in my shop in case i would need some
refractory material for a
kiln bottom.


Later,




Edouard Bastarache
Le Franšais Volant
The Flying Frenchman

Sorel-Tracy
Quebec
http://perso.wanadoo.fr/smart2000/index.htm
http://www.pshcanada.com/Toxicology.htm
www.thepottersshop.blogspot.com
http://www.ceramique.com/cerambooks/rayons/technologie.php
http://www.flickr.com/photos/30058682@N00/

Snail Scott on wed 24 jan 07


At 09:55 AM 1/23/2007 -0800, you wrote:
>...meltdown of ridiculous proportions. All shelves lost and bottom of kiln
and bottom elements destroyed. The kiln is a Cress octagonal B-18-H...

Ask around in your area (on-line and
on bulletin boards, schools, etc) for
an octagonal 'beater', any brand. Instead
of rebricking the bottom, just swap it
for another. Many people abandon kilns
which are too expensive to repair, but
still work 'sort of'. A kiln with a bad
control box, lots of cracked bricks and
half the elements shot might be obtained
for free, and still have everything you
need for an adequate bottom replacement.

The more people know about your needs,
the more likely it is that word will
reach someone who has what you need.

Shelves will be tougher to replace. I've
got no cheap ideas there. (If I did, I'd
be using them!) Does your work lend itself
to being stacked rim-to-rim, base-to-base,
perhaps? If not, maybe making such work
for a while will let you get some things
fired and generate some income while you
save for shelves. Even tiles might be fired
this way, with small glaze-free areas as
part of the design, which might also allow
for wadding.

-Snail


>

Maurice Weitman on wed 24 jan 07


From: "Craig Fulladosa"
>The kiln is a Cress octagonal B-18-H. My question is, does
>anyone know the procedure to dismantle the bottom part of
>the kiln so I can cut new bricks to replace the floor and
>bottom row of bricks?
> The bottom element is encased in thick glaze as is the
>entire floor.

Hello, Craig,

Sorry about your loss. Stiff upper lip and all that. No sense
beating yourself up beyond a resolution to pay more attention as
might be appropriate in the future.

About the repairs needed... if it were my kiln and the rest of it
were in decent shape (please understand that I can't see yours to
know how much of this makes sense), I'd replace all the elements for
about $120 for the set of four, scrounge for another floor or lid to
replace your glazed floor, and the same for the glazed wall bricks.
I'd also consider using the lid to replace the floor and make a new
(feather-light) lid from fiber under expanded metal.

OR... look for a used kiln in decent shape. In searching the web for
the B-18-H specs, I came across this Craig's List ad:

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
http://santafe.craigslist.org/for/257613976.html
Cress Electric Kiln - $495

Date: 2007-01-04, 1:40PM MST

Model# B18H. Inside dimensions: width: 17 1/2 in., depth: 18 in. Wall
insulation brick thickness is
2 1/2 in. Max temp cone = 6, voltage =240, amps = 23, KW = 5.5.
Includes kiln shelves and posts, cones, kiln wash plus a few minerals
for glazing.
Excellent condition.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
(you can find contact info in the link above)

This ad is three weeks old, and is in Santa Fe, but no doubt there
are others near(er) to you.

I've bought a few used kilns for less money; one may find bargains out there!

Good luck and hang in there.

Regards,
Maurice

David Hendley on wed 24 jan 07


I've given it a lot of thought and even tried it, but I can't think of any
way for a studio potter to make his/her own kiln shelves. Posts
are a different story and are quite easy and practical to make.

I decided to make shelves for my 27" diameter electric kiln (1/2 shelves),
to be used only for bisque firing. Given the slow temperature rise and
low heat level of bisque firing, it seemed doable. I used a fireclay/ball
clay/grog claybody with no added fluxes.
Well, after spending several hours making 5/8" thick half-round slabs,
carefully drying them, and then firing them, one broke in half during
it's first use, and the rest cracked, only to break during subsequent
firings.

David Hendley
Maydelle, Texas
david(at)farmpots(dot)com
http://www.farmpots.com



----- Original Message -----

>I have not been active for quite awhile but have been lurking. I
>(embarrassed to admit) had a kiln mishap. My kiln setter had a mishap and
>did not shut off at the proper time along with no timer as a backup and I
>stupidly did not monitor the firing. Hence a meltdown of ridiculous
>proportions. All shelves lost and bottom of kiln and bottom elements
>destroyed. The kiln is a Cress octagonal B-18-H. My question is, does
>anyone know the procedure to dismantle the bottom part of the kiln so I can
>cut new bricks to replace the floor and bottom row of bricks?
> The bottom element is encased in thick glaze as is the entire floor.
> Also, has anyone ever made home-m\de kiln shelves? Is that a ridiculous
> idea? The only reason I am considering all this is because I am very
> limited with financial resources.

William & Susan Schran User on thu 25 jan 07


On 1/23/07 12:55 PM, "Craig Fulladosa" wrote:

> My question is, does anyone know the procedure to dismantle the bottom part of
> the kiln so I can cut new bricks to replace the floor and bottom row of
> bricks?
> The bottom element is encased in thick glaze as is the entire floor.
> Also, has anyone ever made home-m\de kiln shelves?

Best thing to do is contact Cress about procedures for repair/replacing
bottom. I'm sure they can provide parts & instructions on how to perform the
repairs. Can we assume the bottom is integral to the kiln and not a separate
slab of brick?

Don't bother with making your own shelves. The low cost of cordierite
shelves don't make it worth your while to attempt to create a flat ceramic
surface that will probably warp or break.

You have provided a good lesson to other folks firing their kilns.
Don't rely on any mechanical or electronic device to shut off your kiln.
Use witness cones and be there for the anticipated end of the firing.


--
William "Bill" Schran
wschran@cox.net
wschran@nvcc.edu
http://www.creativecreekartisans.com

RJ Shaw on thu 25 jan 07


Hey Craig,

You didn't mention where you live. But... If you have never been on
"FreeCycle" or "Craig's List", now is the time to sign up for both.
FreeCycle items are always free... hence the name. You can post on
there that you need a kiln, and/or shelves. There are FreeCycle
groups in every part of the country, even overseas.

You can also post "wanted" items on Craig's list, with a maximum
price you can afford. You can also post on the barter section.
Perhaps you have skills you could trade with someone who has a kiln
sitting unused in the garage, left over from a family member or a
time when they changed careers themselves.

Perhaps someone here on the list might have an extra shelf or two
they could send you from a kiln they don't use anymore? Or at least
some posts.

Just so you know, my niece, who once had her own paint-and-bake type
pottery shop, once had a melt-down with someone else's kiln. Even
worse, because she didn't own the kiln. It made quite a conversation
piece since every shelf and every piece of ware fused into one solid
piece. They were able to break it loose from the sides of the kiln
and it remained in the friend's pottery business for several years as
a warning sign. Oh, my niece? She eventually got bored making molded
greenware and firing other's pieces, sold her shop and moved away.

So you see, it can happen to anyone. I am sure any ceramic teacher
can tell you, I have heard a few stories from Joe about such
accidents in the classrooms!

Where do you live?

Just some hopeful thoughts for you...

Good Luck,
Rita


>I have not been active for quite awhile but have been lurking. I
>(embarrassed to admit) had a kiln mishap. My kiln setter had a
>mishap and did not shut off at the proper time along with no timer
>as a backup and I stupidly did not monitor the firing. Hence a
>meltdown of ridiculous proportions. All shelves lost and bottom of
>kiln and bottom elements destroyed. The kiln is a Cress octagonal
>B-18-H. My question is, does anyone know the procedure to dismantle
>the bottom part of the kiln so I can cut new bricks to replace the
>floor and bottom row of bricks?
> The bottom element is encased in thick glaze as is the entire floor.
> Also, has anyone ever made home-m\de kiln shelves? Is that a
>ridiculous idea? The only reason I am considering all this is
>because I am very limited with financial resources.
> Right now my only chance of making a living is through making pots
>or tiles. I have a family to support and need to get something
>going. As you all can see I am beyond worrying about how stupid I a
>look amongst so many fellow potters, because I have been potting a
>long time myself, but have little kiln repair experience. I have
>learned my lesson about staying with the kiln. I knew better from
>the start.
> If anyone knows please let me know about the kiln and also
>theshelves. I figure a new set of shelves will cost about 300 bucks
>that I don't have and also the kiln at least 500 to have repaired
>and maybe 200 or so if I can do it myself.
>
> I believe this dilemna will challenge the list other than say
>change professions or buy a new kiln and shelves you idiot.
>
> Respectfully yours,
>
> Craig
> the Clayman
>
> ps I am prepared for ridicule on this one, but at my station in
>life right now, I don't care other than being able to work my way
>back to respectability and paying my bills.
>

--
http://shawpottery.com/
mailto:rjshaw@shawpottery.com
805-937-7495