Hey momma and poppa potters! If you’re looking to get into the world of pottery and kiln firing, then you’ve come to the right place. Starting off as a beginner in this exciting field can be overwhelming, but with a little guidance and knowledge, it doesn’t have to be intimidating.
In this article we will go over different types of kilns available for purchase, how they work, the pros and cons of each one, and maintenance tips for keeping your kiln running smoothly. We’ll also discuss some safety precautions that should always be taken when working with a pottery kiln so you can avoid potential disasters like fire or damage to your property.
Let’s start by discussing the different types of kilns available.
1. Electric Kiln: This type of kiln is very common amongst potters, and it’s a great place to start if you’re just getting into this craft. Electric kilns are powered by electricity and use heating elements to reach temperatures up to 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit. They come in many sizes and shapes depending on your needs and can be used for both sculptural and functional pieces.
2. Gas-fired Kiln: A gas-fired kiln is an option if you want a more traditional look or feel for your pieces. These are fueled by either natural or propane gas, which burns at a cooler temperature than electric models (around 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit). This type of kiln requires more experience and knowledge, as adjustments must be made to reach the right temperatures.
3. Raku Kiln: A raku kiln is designed for a specific type of firing process called raku. In this method, pieces are heated up very quickly and then removed from the hot kiln and placed in combustible materials like sawdust or newspaper. This creates unique effects on the surface of the pottery and is great for people who enjoy experimenting with different textures and colors in their work.
4. Furnace Kiln: Furnace kilns are large, industrial-grade pieces of equipment that require professional installation and maintenance due to their size and complexity. These are used mostly by artisans and production potters who need to fire large amounts of pieces at one time.
Now that you know the different types of kilns available, let’s go over maintenance tips for keeping your kiln in tip-top shape.
1. Regularly Change Filters: Your kiln may come with a filter system to reduce the amount of dust and dirt entering the interior chamber. Make sure to check these filters regularly and replace them when needed to keep your kiln running smoothly.
2. Clean Out The Kiln Chamber: Using a damp cloth or vacuum cleaner, make sure to clean out accumulated dust particles from the inside of the chamber before firing as this can cause issues with airflow or temperature control.
3. Monitor The Temperature: Make sure to never exceed the recommended temperature for your type of kiln and monitor the temperatures throughout the firing process.
4. Inspect Cords and Wiring: Periodically check that all cords and wires are in good condition and replace them if necessary.
5. Use A Kiln Sitter: A kiln sitter is a device that can be attached to your kiln’s lid or side wall that will automatically shut off the power when the desired temperature has been reached, eliminating any risk of overheating or fire danger.
6. Store Properly: Always make sure to store your kiln in an area with plenty of ventilation, away from direct sunlight, and away from any flammable materials.
Finally, it’s important to remember to take proper safety precautions when working with a kiln. Always use protective gear such as eye protection and gloves when handling hot pieces or opening the kiln lid. Make sure your workspace is free of any flammable materials, and never exceed the maximum recommended temperature for your kiln type. With these tips in mind you can be sure that your pottery projects will come out looking their best!
Now that you’re familiar with the different types of kilns available, how they work, and some maintenance tips for keeping yours running smoothly, you should feel more confident about getting started in pottery. With a little bit of practice and dedication, you can create beautiful and unique works of art that will last for years to come. Thanks for joining us today – and happy pottery making!