I can imagine your feelings of intimidation!
A couple of suggestions:
Perhaps you could fire on a day that the kids are not in school (Do you ever
have teacher days?)?
Another suggestion is to ask a local potter or clay sculptor to come in to
lend some advice (maybe you would be able to write a grant for a future
collaborative venture with the artist?). Potters are often happy to lend
advice and get more people excited about clay.
I feel that it is unwise to rely solely on auto-shutoffs on kilns. All of
those various parts and mechanisms can wear out or malfunction and an
overfired kiln generally means an expensive mess (ruined artwork, sad
artists, warped shelves, melted stilts, element problems, etc.)
You will need to have cones that match your firing temperature so if it is
cone 04, you need 04 cones.
I have found that I often need to fire more slowly than kiln manuals suggest
with my students' fragile and somewhat thick artworks. Hope that you live in
a town with a ceramic supply! I do not:(
Mary in Northern MN
----- Original Message -----
From: "tara franzese" >
> Hello all,
> I am new to the world of kilns and I have a brand new Skutt electric
> (km 1027) kiln in my classroom just waiting to be used. However, I'm
> really nervous about using it. I have a hood vent and when I called
> tech support the operator said I should run the kiln with the lid
> propped open and with one of the peep holes out. He also said I
> should run the kiln during school when I am there just in case it
> doesn't auto shut, I've seen kilns used before and I've never seen a
> teacher run one while the students were in school. Plus...I'm nervous
> about running the kiln when the students are there, and he said when
> the kiln reaches 1000 degrees I should shut the lid. AND, if figuring
> out all this weren't intimidating enough, I want to run a test fire
> (the manual says run to cone 04) and I only have pyrometric cones that
> are o6. AND I have clay from last year that's Sheffield brand (its
> dark gray) and I have no idea what cone I should fire it to. If you
> know anything about this, please help!
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