Flying Blind

in art •  2 years ago

This is a small gas kiln I use for testing glazes, and sometimes firing work when I just absolutely positively have to ship it the next day.

This kiln is unique in that it is made from refractory fiber and is extremely efficient. I can fire to 1300C in about 4 hours, using one small burner. Very little fuel is spent per firing.

There are some drawbacks though, unfortunately. One is the quick cool down time. For very vitrified clay bodies, there is a tendency to crack if the cooling cycle is too fast. For me this is not a problem, but I do have one other big complaint with the kiln: no peepholes. There is a small hole to insert a thermocouple to measure temperature, but pyrometers are a poor indication of the actual heat work happening in the kiln. I don't like to use pyrometers for this reason.

I much prefer using pyrometric cones , but with this kiln there is no way to actually see a cone without opening the kiln during firing. Which is what I have to do. Here is the kiln opened up:

Now imagine opening that baby when it's 1300C ! You'll lose your eyelashes in the blink of an eye, or worse if you're not careful. You get a better idea of the heat from the video:

Mike @ Karatsupots
Making attractive, cool, useful stuff out of dirt since 2006.

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i love ceramics but I suppose I'm unconsciously afraid of kilns.

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If you don't like fire that much, probably an electric kiln is the way to go. Not so much contact with the actual fire. My favorite kiln is my wood kiln. I think most wood kiln firers have at least a little bit of pyromaniac in them!