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height challenged kiln loading

updated fri 9 feb 07


Snail Scott on thu 8 feb 07

At 02:24 PM 2/7/2007 -0500, you wrote:
>...What might the benefit be of leaving the extra space at the bottom?

If you have a smaller load and don't
need the full height of the kiln, it
can be good to have the work all closer
to the middle, rather than all clustered
near the bottom - more even, as well as
easier to load.

As for getting the bottom shelf onto the
bottom (if you do need it at the bottom):
If you have the type of kiln that can
unstack, take the top ring off to load
the bottom, then replace it to finish
loading. You may only have to do this
once, just to get that bottom shelf in
place. You are right to avoid leaning
in the kiln wall. I did it often, for a
while, but I also blame it for the
eventual destruction of my kiln floor.


Lee Love on thu 8 feb 07

Lucie Rie is highly respected here in Japan. We saw a wonderful show
of her work in Tochigi City, the town were our woodblock teacher is

There is a great photo of her disappearing into a top
loading kiln: An assitant is pictured holding onto her ankles as
goes head first into the kiln, loading it.

Lee in Mashiko, Japan
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA

"To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts." -
Henry David Thoreau

"Let the beauty we love be what we do." - Rumi

Anne Doyle on thu 8 feb 07

Hi Forest,

My major hesitation about leaving a shelf down there permanently is that
you will not be able to thoroughly vaccuum the kiln out after each load and
therfore will not easily be able to eliminate little bits from fusing with
the glazes. Also makes it difficult to inspect the kiln for cracks and

Perhaps along with the other suggestions for loading, like the plywood
contour for leaning on, you might consider the possibility of investing in
2 half shelves for the bottom of the kiln and load them onto 5 or 6 inch
posts each time.

Height is why i chose the kiln size i bought. Its only 18 inches deep and
with the height of the stand its on i can get to the bottom even with my
5'2". I made up for the size by getting it 28 inches wide.

Good luck with the adventure and please share what you come up with for the
benefit of others.

Anne, in Saint-Sauveur where the cold can't get us down cause the sun is a-

gsomdahl on thu 8 feb 07

Try lowering the shelf with light rope. Get about 10 feet. Fold it in
half and tie a knot there making a small loop at the half way point.
Bring the free ends through the loop and tie them off. You now have two
large loops that you can slip over the shelf crossing underneath.
Centering the knot above the shelf you should be able to lift and lower
the shelf in to the kiln keeping it level all the way. Then release the
free ends of the rope and pull them out. Practice with a piece of board
first. You can use tongs to place the posts on the kiln bottom and to
place work on the bottom shelf. Getting the bottom shelf out means just
hooking under one edge and lifting the edge until you can get a hold of it.

Forest Butera wrote:
> ...
> I also tried standing on a stool in order to put that lower shelf in, but
> that didn't help. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
> Forest
This is a post only account. Send replies to "gene" at my ".com" domain named "somdahl".

Bunny Lemak on thu 8 feb 07

This is like right up my alley............

I only stand 4'4" (yes, that is correct!) so all my life I have
been "height challenged" or without the PI: too dam short for anything!!

I have 2 cement blocks by my kiln, I step on them to get up to and in to
my kiln. I also have step-stools in each room of the house! The blocks
were a friend's idea because I don't have to move them. They stay in
place and I don't have to worry about them catching fire or whatever.

There is a standard joke between me & my clay buds - if you can't find me
in the house, go look in the kiln - there I will be, upsidedown in the

Operator: 911 What is your emergency?

Bunny: HELP! I fell in the kiln and can't get out!!