24 November 2016

Don't be a gambler with your kiln..

I'm declaring November "National Kiln Problem Month!" Murphy's law says that whenever you need your kiln most, and are firing the most, that's just when it's going to have a problem. So.... we all know that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of I told you so. 

This is not directed to any one of our clients who've contacted us this month with an OMG moment! This is for all of us, who are just very busy and forget to take care of the basics. And yes... this has happened to me so, you're not alone.

If you don’t already know, a relay is the part of the kiln that controls the power or current to the element, allowing the element to either receive current and get hot, or to interrupt the circuit thus not allowing the element to receive current and cool down. The mechanical relays, which come standard on all kilns, are what is responsible for the ubiquitous opening and closing clicking we hear while our kilns run. 

ALL MECHANICAL RELAYS in U.S. kilns are vitually the same... no matter the manufacturer. 

Mechanical relays have a life of up to “X” amount of clicks and then they fail. This failure can either be in the closed position (Yikes, my kiln temperature keeps rising and it won’t turn off… everything is ruined!”) or they can fail in the open position. (Yikes, my kiln won’t heat up at all!) 

If they fail, it is not the manufacturers fault, since they do not make the relays. They test them to make sure they work at the factory, but after that... it is your responsibility. We know that all failures stink and that is why we recommend changing your relays every 12-24 months. If you are a heavy kiln user, you should be smart and change your relays once a year. 

Think about it like an oil change or new tires... you wouldn't let you car drive on bald tires or your engine run on old oil. Pick a month and make it kiln maintenance month. Install new relays, paint the bottom with kiln wash, etc. and give your kiln a thorough inspection. Don't be the cautionary tale!! 

Finally, if this is something you don't want to hassle with... you can eliminate the problem by upgrading to mercury or solid state relays and almost never have to change a relay again. In our opinion, it's the best upgrade money can buy. 

12 November 2016

Ready, Set, Fire!

From initial heating to annealling, and finally to cooling... knowing the details of your firing stages is an important part of your success.

The Kiln Academy: Firing Stages

10 November 2016

Keeping a Kiln Log

There is no “one program fits all” firing schedule for kilns. Even supposedly identical kilns behave slightly differently. Keeping a kiln log can be tedious but, it will help you learn as well as help you to prevent mistakes along the way.

04 November 2016

Safety Precautions for you and your kiln

Kilns are as safe as any other electrical appliance when used under normal and proper operating conditions. All safety precautions should always be observed.

The Kiln Academy: Safety Precautions

02 November 2016

Kiln Care and Maintenance

Caring for you kiln is an easy task that, if you pay attention to the small things, can save you down time and lots of maintenance dollars. 

The Kiln Academy: Care and Maintenance