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nitrite bonded sil carbide shelves/cordierite

updated mon 12 feb 07


David Beumee on sun 11 feb 07

Maurice wrote,
> There seems to be a common thread with how Laguna treated its
> customers of Thorley's seemingly defective shelves or shipping
> methods after Laguna bought Thorley, and their complicity if not
> direct influence over how Laguna/Axner and Laguna is dealing with
> these shelves.

There's nothing "seemingly" about Thorley shelves being defective. There's a major problem with cracking. Fortunately, Laguna credited me for the last dozen 13 x 26 x 1" cordierite's I bought. I see now that my choice is to go to Advancers, but $4000 to reshelve the kiln? Yeah right.
I must say I envy Lee, having someone collecting used silicon carbide shelves and delivering them cheap to Mashiko! WOW!

David Beumee
Lafayette, CO

-------------- Original message ----------------------
From: Maurice Weitman
> Hello, Jon,
> I'll start off by saying that I've never owned or used the shelves
> under discussion.
> I'm a lightweight (heh!) Laguna customer (I own a Pacifica wheel and
> use some Laguna clay bodies from time to time, but certainly not to a
> consistent or large degree. Some well-respected potters whose work I
> admire swear by Laguna's bodies, so I know that you're doing some
> things very well.
> And my dealings with Axner, the man and his (former) company have
> been very satisfying. I've appreciated the way Howard and his
> company stood behind his/their products and seemed to take pride in
> their reputation for quality products and for satisfying their
> customers.
> Reading the horror stories of post-Laguna Axner (and Thorley)
> customer service has been dismaying; one can only imagine how painful
> this must be for Howard, his family, and their former employees.
> In my past life in/as a suit, I was involved in many mergers,
> takeovers, buyouts, etc., and I know how difficult they can be for
> all stakeholders, including customers.
> As a customer, I strive to develop and maintain good relationships
> with my vendors and suppliers. Beyond my desire to have pleasant
> interactions with people, it stands to reason that a customer can
> only benefit from cordial or better dealings with our suppliers.
> So I hesitated to write this.
> But I think Laguna has dropped the ball, and I think your note (and
> T's) smack of insulting, condescending, cover-your-ass nonsense.
> I'll bet that you have seen some vendors getting slammed here on
> clayart. As you probably know, this happens off-list, too. Potters
> dish about their experiences when they meet at conferences,
> workshops, shows, wherever. It's one thing for a vendor to sell an
> inferior product. Unfortunately, all manufacturers don't have the
> same levels of pride in their products or commitments to their
> customers. Notice how differently, say, Paragon and Olympic are
> spoken of?
> In the past, Howard Axner worked hard to engender loyalty by
> responding quickly to our problems and standing behind his products.
> He made things right when they went wrong. His name was good because
> of that.
> Notice how favorably Bailey's products and service were compared to
> yours? Go back and read, for instance, about how much more carefully
> their shelves were packed for shipment compared to your Thorleys.
> Read about how responsive their phone support is compared to yours.
> It's a pity all companies (and people) don't understand or value this.
> Your 35-year-old historical reference to why sensible people would
> never use your shelves in an electric kiln is quite fascinating.
> Have you checked out Axner's web pages lately? T wrote this:
> >For Bill and those of you interested in really learning about the different
> >kinds of SiC shelves [...]
> >
> >Manufacturers and suppliers of silicone carbide products have
> >stepped up and are providing these innovative products to the
> >marketplace. The consumer/ user needs to understand and educate
> >themselves of the choices and make intelligent decisions as to the
> >products that will best suit their individual situation & applications.
> Call me old fashioned, but I thought that a vendor should represent
> its products fairly and honestly. If there was any other
> "intelligent decision" a buyer should make, shouldn't the dealer
> provide that information? Or at least NOT provide misleading
> information?
> Instead, Axner's web page
> offers, in part, these warnings:
> *Never place hands or shelves into an operating kiln.
> *TURN OFF electric source to elements whenever you are loading and
> unloading your electric kiln.
> *Loading or unloading Nitride Bonded Silicon Carbide shelves in an
> electric kiln while power is on may result in high voltage electric
> shock.
> *DO NOT USE Nitride Bonded Silicone Carbide shelves in an electric
> kiln if elements are dislodged or hanging from element channels.
> All very sensible precautions any user of an electric kiln should
> follow, regardless of the type of shelves. But nowhere does it
> mention anything about the shelves not being suitable for use in
> electric kilns. In fact, there's a picture of (presumably those
> shelves in) an electric kiln. There is no mention of special firing
> schedules, expansion rates, problems with using vents, etc.
> And there's nothing mentioning or corroborating Jon's points:
> >35 years ago I was taught not to put silicon carbide shelves into an
> >electric kiln [...] because they
> >are more susceptible to cracking than Corderite ones. What the exact
> >scientific basis is for that I'm not clear on. But I had always taken this
> >to be good common sense.
> Then came Jon's parable about his journey to his "old potter buddies"
> >and see what they thought. The general
> >feeling was, "It's not that you can't use silicon carbide shelves in a
> >electric kiln, it's just that they conduct electricity and that they are
> >more susceptible to failure than the Corderite type shelves". The reasons
> >most common for this consensus on failure was the way an electric kiln heats
> >up, radiant heat in particular, and the high expansion rate of silicon
> >carbide shelves.
> This is great stuff... pity Axner's web pages don't say that. You,
> T, and Laguna now seem to say we used your shelves in an unsuitable
> kiln, and that we should have known better.
> >This seemed to be agreed upon amongst this group and was
> >once again considered pretty much common sense. There's that tricky phrase
> >again.
> Now here's my question to you: Where's your common sense? How can
> you give these paragraphs of unnamed old potter buddies anecdotes
> while disregarding what you advertised?
> Blaming the victim, your customer who buys your faulty and/or
> unsuitable merchandise is NOT common sense or good business sense.
> Your far-fetched justifications only serve to make you, Laguna, and
> the new Axner look worse.
> Make your customers happy. Do the right thing. It's simple. Your
> business's reputation is priceless; don't squander it to escape your
> responsibility.

> >We live in a society that has
> >come to blame everything on someone else and takes no responsibility for
> >it's own actions or lack of knoweldge.
> Very true, Jon. I wonder whether the irony of your words escapes you.
> >But before you take those shots, at least make an effort to be knowledgeable
> >about the subject of your complaints and be sure the reasons you have for
> >those complaints are valid ones.
> You betcha.
> See you in Louisville!
> Regards,
> Maurice
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