The kiln shelf can be put to close to the cone sitter and jam the cone
sitter so that it won't shut off. It is important to leave space around the
cone sitter for that reason. The kiln will just continue to fire and this
can burn out the elements or dramatically shorten their life span.
(Elements are the metal wires that are inside the walls of the electric kiln.)
Warped shelves means that the kiln was fired REALLY hot. Posts hold up the
kiln shelves. Bent or melted posts are not a good sign. It takes a lot of
heat to wreck a post.
Stilts are the little metal or porcelain holders used to place your
student's clay pieces on if you are glazing the entire piece so they don't
stick to the shelf.
Turning on the fan or not turning on the fan doesn't really affect the
pieces too much.
Overfiring in the kiln can be quite disasterous if you are using low fire
clay. The clay will melt like lava all over the kiln shelves and kiln.
Using an envirovent (fan) makes for a more even firing and healtier
kilnroom working enviroment.
Heat rises, so it makes sense to turn on the switches to the kiln from the
bottom and work your way up to the top. (for clay)
To check the kiln you can turn it on to high when it is empty and see if
the elements get glowing red hot. They are probably "ok" if they glow.
Hope this helps. Hope your little people have fun with clay. It's a great
Studio One Art Center