Loading and Stacking:
- When unloading, do not remove the very last shelf (the floor) unless there is a problem and something needs to be fixed. If they need to be kiln washed, wash the shelves in place.
- Always have softbrick “baffle bricks” in place so that the flame doesn’t char the work around the burner ports.
- Always use three posts per shelf.
- Always use posts on the bottom shelf that are slightly taller than the baffle bricks. This assures proper draw in the kiln.
- EVERY PIECE (and the cone packs) needs to have a patty underneath. Use bigger patties for those pieces that look like they are going to run! Patch the patties together if you can’t find one big enough.
- Make sure pieces are stable as there is some vibration of the kiln car when you roll it into the kiln
- ALWAYS make sure there is no kiln wash on the bottoms OR the sides of the shelves. If there is, scrape it off with a hand scraper prior to putting it into the kiln.
- Visually inspect each shelf load to make sure there aren’t any pieces that are too tall BEFORE you put the next shelf on
- NEVER use the electric kiln stilts in the gas kiln.
A proper load should look something like the image of the full stack on this page. Make sure the load of work isn’t loaded too high! When you are loading the top part of the kiln, you might have to push the car halfway into the kiln to check.
Use cones, 08, 8, 9, 10. Line them up so that the 08 is all the way to left, then the 8, 9, 10 (left to the right). If you are using the grey cone plaques, line up the widest side of each cone toward the small dot on the cone plaque. Make sure that each cone is sitting in the cone pack at a slight angle. Carefully check the cone pack placement in the kiln to make sure you will be able to clearly see the cones – including when they are bending! Never put them too close to the peephole, as this can cool them down and give you an improper reading of the temperature.
If you are wondering what the right angle a cone should sit at, take one of the cones out and stand it up on the table – the bottom of each cone is cut so that it stands at the angle it should be in the kiln.
Make sure there is a patty under each cone pack!! The 08 with melt over the cone pack and get stuck to the shelf. If you are loading the Bailey, we use two cone packs (one in the bottom and one in the top). In the Lil’ Eddie (test gas kiln) we just use one in the middle of the kiln.
When you close the kiln door, only SLIGHTLY tighten the black door hinges!! Just a loose half turn is enough to tighten the door. During firing, the bricks in the kiln will expand and if the door hinges are too tight, the bricks will be too tight inside the kiln and can crack.
Lighting the Kiln:
- Go outside of the kiln room and flip the “INSIDE” switch to the ON position. If the green light does not come on, turn the “service” key 90 degrees to the right and release it. The green light should turn on then.
- On the kiln, push the “ON” button on the Main Power control panel
- Open the damper to 4”
- Open the burner port covers
- Make sure the two small gas valves for the burners are in the OFF position (perpendicular to the gas line)
- Open the large yellow gas valve just below the power panel, so that it is parallel to the gas line.
- Push the “RESET” button right below the ON/OFF switch. You should hear a click, then hear the blower fan turn on.
- Light the LEFT SIDE pilot burner first. Do this by holding down the Baso valve (red button on the left side. Using a click start barbeque lighter, lit the pilot burner. Only the pilot burner should light. Hold the Baso valve down until pilot stays lit. If the pilot goes out when you release the Baso valve, repeat this step, but hold down the Baso valve longer. It usually takes about 30-60 seconds.
- Repeat Step #8 for the right side pilot.
- Open the air valve slightly (usually to .9 on the air gauge). The large red valve on the large green plastic pipe is the air valve control for both burners.
- Turn the main burners on with the “FIRST STAGE GAS” valve. The “Second Stage Gas” valve is only used when firing with the aid of the computer controller.
- Adjust the burners so that they are firing below the first line on the gauge. You MUST stay with the kiln for about about 5 minutes to make sure the burners aren’t burning back into the base of the burner. If the flames turns very orange and there is little or no blue color in it, it is burning back. Immediately turn the burner off and let the flame extinguish. After the flame has gone out, turn the burner back on and either turn the gas up a little, the air up a little, or both.
- Check the burners often in the beginning of the firing to make sure they are not burning back or blowing out. If you have the air turned up too high, you will hear a high speed fluttering sound and the flame will be skipping away from the end of the buner. If this is happening, just turn the air valve down a little bit.
- Don’t forget to fill out a kiln log!!
Shutting down the Kiln:
When the cones have bent to the desired point and you have decided the kiln is the proper temperature (for a cone 10 firing, this is often 2225 and 2270 on the digital readout), follow these steps to shut down the kiln.
- Turn the large yellow gas valve below the main control unit to the off position. The “off” position on gas valves is always perpendicular to the line.
- Turn the “first stage gas” valve to the off position. Both gas valves on the small yellow gas line should be off now (perpendicular to the gas line they are located on).
- Now turn the large red air valve to the off position (perpendicular to its line)
- Close the damper
- Close the covers over the burner ports – these are small rectangular pieces of kiln shelves resting on the angle iron just beneath the burner. Wear gloves when doing this as the area around the burner is very hot. You will need to rest the small kiln shelf pieces on the little spout end of the pilot burner.
- Push the “off” button on the main control unit.
- Turn off the ventilation. Flip the switch on the wall (at the bottom right corner of the large window next to the kiln) to the off position.
- If Lil’ Eddie is not also firing, go outside the kiln room to the large white safety control unit in the loading dock area and turn the “inside” switch to the off position.
- Go back in and double check that the above steps have been completely.
- Fill in the last post on the kiln log for your firing.