Pottery and Ceramics Tools
Making Fire Bricks Last
Some ten year old kilns with firebricks are still in pristine condition and some one year old kilns look like they had been dropped from a roof.
Vacuum the kiln interior regularly using the brush nozzle of a vacuum cleaner. Be very careful when you touch the firebricks with the nozzle.
Be sure and put kiln wash on the kiln’s firebrick bottom, but keep kiln wash away from the walls and elements.
Try not to fire moist greenware, it should be bone dry and warm to the touch. If you must fire moist pottery, prop the lid open and wait until all signs of vapor have disappeared before heating past 200 degrees F. The moisture at higher temperatures is not good for the firebricks and can cause the pottery to explode.
Do not lean too heavily against the firebrick walls while loading and unloading. It is best to use a small stepladder to reach into a deep kiln. You can also cut a piece of plywood to fit across the wall that helps protect the wall during loading.
Lower the kiln lid gently, slamming the lid can crack the lid the first time it happens. Fully disengage the lid support before lowering the lid. Forcing the lid downward can break the bricks near the lid hinge. From time to time, check the condition of the lid support and lid handle.
Keep the lid closed when you are not using the kiln. This keeps dust out and prevents the lid from dropping while you are away. Do not store anything inside the kiln or on top of the lid.
The kiln stand should be level and rock steady. An unleveled stand can stress the firebricks. A stand that rocks can cause the kiln to move when jarred, knocking over the pottery inside against the sidewalls of the kiln.
During loading and unloading do not touch the sidewalls of the kiln with anything. Do not allow a shelf to bump into the firebricks. The extra time and care you spend loading and unloading may add years of life to your kiln.
If glaze or other materials drip onto a kiln wall or the kiln bottom, repair it before the next firing. These materials will melt and embed deeper into the firebricks. Remove the contaminant by scraping gently with a putty knife. If you remove kiln wash from the kiln bottom, apply a fresh coat to the bare spot.
Do not be concerned about small cracks that appear in the firebricks. The cracks are normal and act as expansion joints. During firing, they close tightly.
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Have you ever come up with a good idea while working with your handmade pottery or ceramics and thought that you would like to share it with others? You have? Well, why not send it to us and we will add it to the tips page for all to see.
Handmade pottery can be a very gratifying hobby that produces fun and satisfying results. For many people it's an enjoyable release that is created by working an inanimate mound of clay into a beautiful work of art that you made through your artistic abilities.
The best way of starting out is to take a few lessons. You will probably waste quite a bit in materials when you first get started. Figuring out how to truly make handmade pottery correctly and shape into what you want it to be can be quite an ordeal. The different tools that a normal shop will have can be fun to try. You will soon see which ones you like to use the most and then when you are ready you will know which ones to buy.
With the help of the internet, you can now purchase most if not all of your ceramic and pottery tools and supplies online. We are located far from any well supplied dealers and yet working with reliable ceramic and pottery suppliers online has allowed us to recieve most of our orders within a timely manner.
When you get all set up, just enjoy the hobby and have fun at it. Some people get pretty serious and start selling their creations at craft fairs and small stores, but others just like to create items for themselves, relatives, and friends. Whichever kind of handmade pottery you desire to endeavor, enjoy the hobby and have fun doing it.
Stash It, Smash It, Crush It,
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