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kiln lighting

updated sat 12 sep 98


Ditmar/Gayle on thu 10 sep 98

Aloha Jon,
I doubt that there's a cheap LPG sensor.
Why not go a step backwards and work on the valves. Cheap and easier to do.
Replace the round knobs with a different shape that might mimic or indicate
the direction of turning for on or off. Or even epoxy an arrow or other
indicator to make the valve direction less problematic.
I believe in low tech and cheap, when practical. Besides, even with an
expensive meter, your assistant will still be turning the valves the wrong
way. Better to try and avoid the situation to begin with.

From Alohaland, Ditmar.

mel jacobson on fri 11 sep 98

whenever i go out in the public and teach kiln building etc.
i suggest that the new owners of the kiln buy a propane torch kit.
they are very inexpensive, can be re-cycled.
they come in many brands now, but they just have a screw on top
to a small cylinder. light that, and use it as a warmer for your
stack before lighting, and then use it to light pilots or burners.
having a solid, always lit system for lighting a kiln is really safe.
i hate matches. in fact most people jump when the gas goes on
and the match goes off. and the burner does not lite.

i always warm the stack. get heat going up the stack
if you leave your pilots on all night to preheat...sometimes the stack is
down rather than up...........a quick lite and lots of gas can cause a really
big fooomp.

as long as i have been firing kilns i always go through the ritual. (pilots
stack open/preheat
pilots on
main gas burners off
set burners in position
check flame way.
make sure heat is going up stack.
light burners low..........never full
get the kiln going easy/ all systems go.
turn up kiln.
check often during early stages.
every half hour.
don't hang around kiln.
but watch it like a hawk.
listen to the sounds/gas pressure/smell the kiln.
watch the flame/what color is it.?
look in peep holes. what is the flame pattern.?
if you suspect anything wrong. turn off the main gas valve.
you can re-start very easily, just check things out and
re-do the check list.

the most important thing.
don't let dopes and dorks be around kilns.
get a new assistant if they cannot even learn what way is on.
don't even pretend to be nice.
kick their ass out the door.........have them get a job elsewhere.
kilns are far to touchy to let idiots be near them.
any student that ever took clay from me learned fast.
don't mess around a kiln/and don't play around the pug mill.
cuzz if you did, you would be in home ec the next day looking for a credit
to graduate.

one of my best safety teachers was an old shop teacher. he would tell
students `listen to the noise, it is your friend, it scares you. then talk to
your hands, hey left hand, where are you?, hey right hand, what are you
doing? hey mr. blade, where are you?` i do that when firing a kiln.