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Re: [teacherartexchange] kiln safety


Date: Tue Jun 05 2007 - 13:59:19 PDT

Dear Marvin,

Thank You,Thank You,Thank You a thousand times for your post. It
is perfect!


> Most electric kilns are UL Approved. Kilns will not cause a building fire
if properly
installed. The floor under the kiln should be something like concrete,
masonry, or brick.
 Kilns come with instructions about wall clearance requirements that need to
be followed.
As it overheats, the kiln elements eventually burn out. When the elements
burn out the
electrical circuit is broken and the kiln begins to cool down.
> Nothing flammable should be placed or stored, even temporarily, in the kiln
area. I have
seen frightening situations where art teachers had thoughtlessly stored
materials too casually and too close to the kiln area.
> Of course the artwork, if made from low fire clay, will melt and possibly
damage some of
the kiln bricks. If the artwork is made from high fire clay, the clay may
still deform
and glazes will likely still run off if the kiln fires too long.
> When presenting a rationale about an art facilities and equipment, I
generally point out
that our choices need to be based on what is best for the education of our
students. We do
not build a gym for the coach. We provide safe facilities and equipment
because of the
benefits to the students. Teachers, administrators, school maintenance
custodians, and outside contractors like insurance companies sometimes need to
be reminded
about the mission of a school.
> The health and safety of the children and workers is the first concern.
Education is
second. Preservation of property is very important, but would probably be
third on the
list. If we select an insurance company that puts too many limits the
education of our
children, it may be time to get three bids on insurance--not merely based on
cost, but
based on cost AND benefits.
> If a kiln is safely installed and nothing combustible is nearby, it seems
safe to fire
during the night if somebody checks it the morning after. Night firing is
commonly done
to avoid breathing the fumes when the vent system is not quite adequate.
> If finishing the firing after work is not allowed, it may be possible to set
the kiln on a
low or slow setting overnight during to pre-heat it so the firing can be
rapidly finished
during the school day.
> If this is not possible, it may work to use a two day cycle. Use the first
day to
pre-fire the kiln a low setting to dry out the artwork thoroughly. Turn it
off for night.
 On the second day, do a fast firing so it finishes off during the school day.
> If an insurance company proposes a costly fail-safe operation that takes
control away from
the teacher, perhaps they would also be willing to look at alternatives that
are less
costly to install. It may not cost as much to install a heat sensor that
would cut the
power to the kiln if the room temperature gets above a preset point. A single
head installation in the kiln area may also be a less costly alternative to
taking the
control away from the teacher.
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