Monday, May 16, 2011

What happens when an electric kiln does not shut off

Lets just go ahead and file this past week under the folder titled “Week from Hell”, because it was. Besides a lot of personal conflicts going on with cars, houses, repairs, and finances, I walked in on Saturday opened the kiln, which hadn’t been unloaded all week, and saw that my pieces had completely melted down into stone pancakes.

So after some chiseling, slicing my finger, and a mental breakdown, it was labeled a loss, and the kiln shelf was placed in the basement until I can configure a better way to pry my pieces off without breaking the shelf. I was successful on one of the smaller half shelves in getting it cleared, but the plates are proving tricky, and time consuming.

Yes, I am greatly disappointed, for the financial fact that I am out two gallons of slip. However, I am thank-ful that these were not hand built pieces, which took a lot of time for me to construct. These were just some cast molded pieces, but either way it’s sad to see your work go to the garbage.

Not everything melted down. One of my wheel thrown creamers made it, Paul’s sculpted head bust made it, and another stoneware piece survived. I did however, have two pieces that exploded on the bottom level. This kiln firing could be seen as absolutely disastrous.

What caused this mess?

The small electric box on the side of the kiln, which holds the mechanisms for the kiln sitter had fallen out of place after the screws rusted off the side of the kiln, which caused the lever that sits on top of the pyrometric cone to not fall, thus it had no way of cutting off the electric to the kiln.
I am only thankful that there was a class the next day, and they turned off the kiln after complaining about the heat… otherwise, this could have turned into something much more than just some melted pottery.

Another day, another lesson and -$20 in the bank.

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