Thursday, 29 April 2010

Calling all clay people!

Well, I'm back on my feet and raring to go (time permitting) but I have a couple of questions for you clay people...

What is kiln/bat wash? And do I need it? The bloke who sold me the kiln said I do, but my tutor said not to use it. So I'm confused.

Also, the shelf on the bottom of my kiln (oh that sounds so good... let me say it again) yes, my kiln, is broken, is that ok since it's just there to protect the bottom of the kiln, or do you think I should replace it? look:

(click for a closer look, and ignore Polo, he was just trying the kiln out for size)

And while I'm asking I might as well add a couple more questions...

Can you see that broken brick on the bottom right of the photo? That's on the top rim of the kiln and exposes some of the element. Do I need to get that repaired before I fire the kiln? Will it affect the firing?

And there are a couple of loose bricks. They don't come out, but they don't stay flush with the rest of the kiln wall either. Is that a problem? (you can see one about four bricks up from the bottom, just left of the middle)

Thank you in advance for your help!

The kiln gets wired up a week on Saturday! Yay! I hope it works! The electrician has been round to measure up and noticed a blown fuse in the kiln - so now I'm wondering if the bloke sold it because it wasn't working!!


DirtKicker Pottery said...

Yes you do need kiln wash!! Kiln wash protects your kiln shelves in case of a glaze run.
Yes you do need to replace that broken shelf. It should not sit directly on the kiln floor. You need to carfully vacuum out your kiln and your new bottom shelf should sit on 2" posts.
The chipped brick shouldn't be a problem.
If you have loose bricks (depending on your kiln) you should be able to tighten the metal outter area.
Don't forget to get witness cones to make sure your kiln is firing at the correct temp.
Also if you could download the owners manual for your kiln it will really help you a lot.
Congrats on your kiln :)

Undaunted said...

Thank you so much Cindy!
Ooh I didn't know that about the bottom shelf - why is that? It looks like the previous owner had the shelves just sitting on the kiln floor. And I wonder why my tutor says not to use the kiln wash? Strange people!
Thank you for your help :)

Monique said...

I agree with cindy, she said it al.
you can make your own kiln wash, that way it's much cheaper than buying it!
I know there are some recipes floating around in blogland...... it's supposed to be very simple!!
I bought commercial kilnwash before i knew you could make your own....)

good luck with the firing!

Undaunted said...

Thank you Monique and Cindy for all your help!

I'm getting excited now! I can't wait to fire it!

leanne pizio said...

Hey Linda! I agree that kiln wash is most important! If you have a glaze run...which really is can chip the glaze right off your shelf. It is much harder to chip glaze of an untreated shelf.
Basic kiln wash is 50% kaolin (china clay) and 50% silica (flint). Just mix powder well add little bits of water at a time until mixture resembles thickened cream. Paint only on the top side of your shelves only. The kiln wash will have cracks after it is fired. This is what makes the wash so easy to chip off. But....just a warning....never fire with the kiln wash facing down over your pots. The kiln wash can come off and stick to glazed pieces...

There are other recipes out on the net for kiln wash...but I have always used this one and it seems to work fine for me.....

I would definitely stilt the shelves on the bottom after a good kiln washing. And a new shelf would probably make things easier.

Dirt Kicker gave good advice about witness cones. that way you will know if your kiln is firing right. I use them every 4 or 5 firings just to make sure Beulah is on target.

Congrats Linda!!!
What is your new girls name?

Undaunted said...

Hi Leanne! Thank you so much for explaining that all to me! You make it sound so easy, so I will definitely have a go at making my own kiln wash! I think I understand why my tutor was against it as well, after you explained about what happens if it's on the underside. And thank you for all the other advice too!

Anonymous said...

Cindy has it down.
But we only use a 1/2 inch post under the bottom shelf. Need all the space we can get. You shouldn't use kiln wash on the bottoms or the sides of the shelves just the tops as it can flake off.

Undaunted said...

Thank you Angie and Scott! I really appreciate all the advice I am getting from you pottery bloggers!