About burnishing, the pots cannot be totally dry they must still feel cold
to the touchor 'leather hard". You can burnish with a stone or the back of a
spoon. I use a circular stroke and it looks shiney when it's done properly.
I've fired at cone 5, maybe someone else has better experience than me and can
help you with the firing. But I would not use newspaper in an electric kiln. I
was taught to use paper or combustables like leaves twigs , moss, paper
etc. only in a garbage barrel,outdoors , and in a fire pit with all brush
cleared away. That the Raku method I learned.
Patti in Fl.