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old electric kiln for raku

updated sat 31 may 97


Sylvia See on tue 29 apr 97

Hi Kathy;
I have been using an old electric kiln for Raku for the past 6 years. I
made the mistake of taking out the wires which broke some of the kiln
bricks on the walls and I don't think it was neccessary, since I am firing
with propane anyway. Could have done less damage to the walls.
I had a welder make a base on wheels for it, and I attached a metal fence
post to the back of the kiln behind the lid hinge. We attached a pulley
with wire and fastened it to the handle on the lid. Then we drilled a hole
in the post and screwed a long screw into it and put a ring on the wire so
that when I pull the ring, the wire lifts the lid and I put the ring over
the screw to hold it open when removing pots. Do not trust your lid latch
when removing pots. Very shaky business and so is reaching across the hot
kiln with mitts to open the lid. I used my tongs to try to lift the lid
back and nearly wrecked the handle. I had a 4 inch hole drilled into the
center of the lid and just above the floor on the side. It works like a
charm and you can also use it for reduction firing, by placing a piece of
old brick, kiln shelf, or fiber partly over the hole on the lid until the
flame turns orange and starts to back out of the burner port. I can only
fire what it will hold on one shelf, as reaching into the hot kiln to
remove shelves to get at a second layer, is very risky. Tried that just
once. I have small stools to stand on while removing pots and usually fire
6 in a load. I have a 7 cubic foot, so 6 fairly decent sized pots can be
fired without any problems. Because your pots are fairly deep into the
kiln, you can unload before they cool very much, but I do start taking them
out just as soon as I can get close enough to it with a heavy sweater on.
You can get two tiers of shelves into it to do a regular firing or
reduction and use fiber to block both holes when finished for slower
cooling. This kiln has really served me well and I am using it to fire
bricks at the present time. I have used it with saggars and large pieces to
heavy for me to lift out, I have thrown the reduction right into the kiln
and reduced in the kiln. Also tried soda ash and it nearly ate it to
Having it on the wheels base is really handy and worth the expense. I
wheel it into the garage out of the weather, and cart it to friends for
weekend Raku/Primitive workshops etc. Of course, I have the advantage of a
wheelchair lift in the van to roll it on and so loading and unloading it is
a breeze.
I also invested in a pyrometer, and depend upon it for turnups and
different glaze temps. A scribbler is your second best investment, and I
keep pretty accurate records of temps relating to my particular glazes and
the finish I want to get. By doing this you can remove pots needing lower
temps and carry on with the firing for pieces glazed to higher temps.
Hope you pick up one really cheap, and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. I bought mine
from Bargain Finder Press, by phone, sight unseen. Came home with the kiln
for $300.00,and they through in the weding table (plaster), glazes,
glazing materials, kiln furniture, tools, etc. This is not uncommon in our
parts, our guild has done the same with 3 wheels and 2 kilns. Got a ton of
extras with every one.
Sylvia See Claresholm, Alberta
The golden years have come at last, I cannot see, I cannot pee,
I cannot chew, I cannot screw. My memory shrinks, my hearing stinks.
No sense of smell, I look like hell. My body drooping, got trouble pooping.
The golden years have come at last, The golden years can kiss my Ass.

Carolyn Boeri on thu 22 may 97

At 07:12 AM 4/29/97 EDT, you wrote:
>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>Hi Kathy;
> I have been using an old electric kiln for Raku for the past 6 years.

i have an old electric kiln that someone gave me that I plan on
inverting and attaching a counter weight to so that when i pull down the
counterweight the kiln rises and the pieces are in full view on all four
sides. The ware sits on two or three shelves on top of a insulating brick
base with the gas burner positioned under in a channel made by putting the
bricks just so to allow for a flame hole in the floor This type of set up
works well if you already have an outbuilding for a gas or wood kiln and can
attach the counter weight (can be a pile of hard bricks wrapped in chain) to
a pully overhead. This eliminates the danger of burning yourself reaching
down into a kiln an allows for fast removal and restacking of the kiln for
additional firings without cooling down the bricks too much. I saw this and
used it successfully at Robert Comptons in Bristol Vermont at one of his
firing workshops. You may want to try this.
Happy firing, in any event \ Potters of the World Ignite!
Carolyn in Vermont, herself where it is not warm enough yet,