First Firing!

Well the first firing of the electric kiln went without a hitch. After a couple of years in storage the Skutt 1227-PK (bought for next to nothing as “used” though I don’t think it had ever been fired) it fired up right away. Since I was unsure if the kiln had ever been fired and the manufacturer recommends a initial “break in” firing to cone 04, I fired it up empty for this quick run. Here you can see the burning off of the water still in the firebrick. The only physical issue seemed to be some small areas of the firebrick that had been¬†gnawed by some mice that used it as a temporary home. Why they gnawed on the brick is a mystery but it is a bit funny to see the teeth marks. Shouldn’t affect the performance of the kiln one bit. I’ve seen old studio kilns all but falling apart and still functioning.

As soon as the kiln had cooled down from it’s “break in” firing I loaded it with greenware for a bisque firing. I used the automatic function of the controller and set it to a slow firing to cone 06. This firing would take about 12 hours plus additional preheat time. As this was the first firing with the electric kiln I may make some changes based on future bisque results – potentially decreasing the firing time to 7 or 8 hours and some possible adjustment in the firing temperature (maybe increase it to cone 04). Only two casualties from the firing – one small pot I chipped loading the kiln and another bottle I broke the lip on when I underestimated the height of bottle and crushed it with a kiln shelf. ¬†Over all I’m very happy with the results. I’m paying close attention to the electric usage of the kiln to calculate overall costs. This cone 06, 12+ hour bisque firing used approximately 80 kWh which runs about $9.80. I’m estimating that firing to a cone 6+ will run about 50% more and a cone 6+ in the converted gas kiln will run about $30 for propane.

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