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192 Jim Boone Rd
Bakersville, NC, 28705
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The central information hub for Michael Kline Pottery, a small one man shop of pottery making in the mountains of western North Carolina.

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The Best of Sawdust and Dirt

A record of the goings on around Michael Kline Pottery!

Filtering by Tag: eKiln

Guest Blogger: Rob Haugen

Michael Kline

Installing a New Electric Kiln – Part 2

Electrical Safety and Requirements

In Part 1 of Installing a New Kiln, we discussed how to properly place the kiln and ensure that once it’s operational, it’ll be safe. Proper placement away from walls (at least 12 inches) and ventilation are crucial to safely operating a kiln. In this article, we’re going to look at power supplies, outlets, and energy to make sure that the kiln is able to function properly and at its full capacity. 

Adequate amperage and voltage must be supplied to the kiln to ensure proper function. The last thing you want is your new kiln blowing fuses and tripping the breaker so make sure that you’re equipped to handle the power the kiln needs to work. Once you receive the kiln, check the nameplate for the power specs. Depending on the type of kiln, you may be operating a 240 volt, single-phase model, a commercial grade kiln that may be wired for 240, 208, 380, or 480 volts at single or three-phase, or a 120 volt electric kiln that can be plugged into a standard outlet. No matter what you should always check the wiring and breaker to ensure that your kiln will operate fully and safely. Most commercial grade kilns require direct wiring and outlets so the assistance of an electrician may be needed.

 (Please review the wiring specifications and wiring charts for the kiln you intend to purchase.) 

 Once the proper electrical outlet has been established, plug the kiln in but make sure that there is enough space between the outlet and the kiln for you to move behind it. In the event that you need to unplug the kiln to service it, or for any other reason, you need easy access. Do not stretch the cord but make sure that there is room to plug in and unplug the kiln without touching the metal jacket.

By design, kilns generate an immense amount of heat and depending on the size and type, temperatures can range anywhere from 1600 degrees to 2300 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of the high heat factor, the best surface to place the kiln on is cement. Other surfaces, like linoleum, may be damaged so cement is the best option. Also, keep the electronic controller within easy reach for heat adjustments and proper control of the kiln.

If you’ve decided that outside the home or studio is the best place for the kiln, that’s great too. Just make sure that moisture doesn’t get into the kiln. Rust is a factor, so if your kiln is outside make sure that it’s properly covered and protected from the elements when not in use. Now the kiln is installed, plugged in, and safe to operate.

So let’s get firing!!

Rob Haugen grew up with Olympic Kilns, following in his father's footsteps by providing electric, gas, and glass kilns. He works tirelessly everyday cultivating a deeper understanding of the ceramics industry and developing the Olympic Kilns.  Come by Booth #424 at NCECA and see the complete line of Olympic Kilns. 

Random Giveaway

Michael Kline

Comment on your 5 favorites and qualify for a $20 Kline Pottery Gift Certificate that will be given away with random selector! After you leave your comment, you will be assigned a number for the drawing.

eKiln II Brief

Michael Kline

I ask for your pardon if I don't elaborate on the painting session in preparation for today's eKiln firing. There's much to do . Here, for the record, are some highlights with coded deco-descriptions. I'm plugged in and ready to dial it up. I'll be watching that pyrometer and reading that meter!

Further Examination: Mishaps

Michael Kline

Here are a few problems to be worked out. In general, I think it was a successful test load in the textbook sense, but in the creativeartisticbestquality [untranslatable German, don't bother even trying Google Translate] sense, there is a lot of work to be done.

What is going on in my potter's eye hasn't quite been realized in these pots. I guess that is to be expected. But while the deficit of what this material can do and what I really want it to do will be resolved after many many firings, I'm fairly pleased with results, thus far.

The first pot has the Double D clear glaze inside and out, with a motif painted on top with the LUG1 underglaze. (oh, it's underglaze? breaking the rules, ooops) See the bubbling on surface? Maybe it could be thinner in the future. The movement of the design is mildly interesting, mildly.

Here are two pots that were treated as I would have treated my home clay for the wood kiln and the salt glaze, except in this case we have an electric kiln and no salt! I was curious, and just wanted to see what would happen with these variables. They both were painted with my black wax resist, then dipped in the RJB crackle slip. The black wax has, [in it's propriety recipe ;-) ], a small amount of flux in addition to its other secret ingredients. ;-) What I take from these pieces is that the oxide content is not rich enough on it's own. In the salt kiln the salt "smooths out" the oxide and helps "glaze" it in place. The first cup had problems from the beginning. It is very thin and was fired to ^04 bisque, making it a bit less porous than my home clay fired to ^07 bisque. After drying it near my wood stove I brushed on the Double D/copper glaze. While, almost a complete technical disaster, I still think there's hope that this may work with some adjustments to the sequence, the fit of the slip, the richness of the oxides, and % flux in the wax.

In conclusion, I apologize for all the coded and not quite clear "tech talk". These posts are sometimes a way for me to verbalize some of my thoughts and public air my theories. Let me know what you think. Although I can't get around to responding to all of your comments, I certainly consider and appreciate them. Thanks for reading.

Pictures of Porcelain

Michael Kline

These pictures aren't the best. I hesitated to post these, but what the hell, it's been par for the course. It's no surprise that this segment of the process would be another steep learning curve. In this case the camera was having trouble focusing on the white, I think. Has anyone had trouble with auto-focus on white? I tried years ago to photograph an Alleghany Meadows bowl that had a subtle white semi matte glaze. I had to get another camera! My Nikon would NOT focus!
Looking at these pictures, though, is very revealing, showing black slip details as well as glaze details. Let me know what you think. Let's crowd source!

I'll take some more pictures after the next firing. More porcelain painting Friday as well as more plates in the home clay!

Good night to all of the night owls still up reading this and good morning to my friends in the British Isles!

unloading The eKiln

Michael Kline

Here is a video John and I made yesterday while we unloaded the eKiln. [eKiln=electric kiln] I do enough mumbling in the video so I'll reserve further comment here. But I'm happy to decode if you have questions!

Check 1 2

Michael Kline

The eKiln firing is just about finished. I reached temperature, (cone 7 down, cone 8 at a half) about 1:30. I let the kiln soak for a bit and now it's firing down. It's very windy and cold out there and I'd like the kiln to cool slower than it wants to, which is super fast! The only reason being that I'm inexperienced and want to err on the side of caution!

The kiln has about 25 pots in it and I could have put a lot more work in there but, again, wanted to minimize the risk and take a wait and see before committing more of my pots.

The following are a couple of examples of my visual "note taking". It's a real easy way to keep track of some of the deco-rotation strategies for future reference (I'm much better at visual information). I'll take pictures of the finished pots too, and keep them in a folder on the computer.

I'll unload in the morning, I guess. I have no idea how long it will take to cool. Maybe I'll do a video-unloading! But in the meantime, I'm getting out the home clay and starting a wood kiln cycle for some upcoming spring shows.

Coming soon: a new guest-blogger post by Don Pilcher!

Michael Kline

I'm glazing and loading the eKiln today. Firing tomorrow! It will be a light load, read: totally-experimental-glaze-test-slip-test kind of firing with real pots.

Call me crazy or call me over-confident! [See fingers crossed behind my back.]

But this is how I'm rolling into the fifth year of pottery bloggery.