Monday, August 9, 2010

Death of Half-Pint


Half-pint has been firing low and slow since June. Half-pint is the old hand-me-down Paragon kiln that I've kept together with spit and band-aids over the past 4 years and it's been taking a hard nose dive over the past few months. I was hoping that the solution might be simple... a handful of elements here and there, some new wires, an infinite switch... but after bringing in a pyrometer to get a really good look at what was going on during a firing, I've relinquished my hold on nostalgia and realized it's literally time to pull the plug.


Frankly, I simply can't afford to keep firing this as an electric kiln.
The last 9 hours of a long 24 hour firing was stalled around 2040 and actually dropped to 2018 in the last 3 hours.
That's really messed-up.

When I finally made the decided to turn it off, I realized I lost another infinite switch and had a run away kiln again.
I am not a happy camper, but at least I know where I stand and I finally have some sense of resolution...  
DOH!

15 comments:

Liz said...

My heart goes out to you. I know replacing a kiln is a big investment. But on the brighter side, the old girl will make a great kiln for electric Raku. Another avenue to explore.
My new kiln is due to arrive in less than 24 hours, Its the first brand new kiln I have ever owned. exciting, and daunting.

brandon phillips said...

that sucks dude. i'll tell ya though, a pyrometer is one of the best investments I ever made. it made my firings so much more efficient.

cookingwithgas said...

It's time to let her go and don't look back- she had a good run.....

TropiClay Studio said...

My condolences on the passing of your kiln.
Maybe you could convert it to Gas??? Just a thought...

carter gillies said...

Your scenario sounds very much like what I had been going through about a year or so ago. I have an old 1983 model L&L kiln and got to the point where I was replacing one of the switches nearly every two or three firings. I am pretty clueless with electrical issues but I seem to have solved the situation by replacing just about all the internal wiring. The old wires were mostly stiff and corroded and they were only getting worse with every firing. With all that increased resistance no wonder I was burning out my switches..... Sometimes it takes me multiple and repeated beat downs to learn even something simple.

I don't know if that relates, but it might be worth a few hours of replacing inexpensive wires and giving it a test run. Good luck!

Sue Pariseau Pottery said...

Rest in Peace Half Pint. Well see you in another life.

Kings Creek Pottery said...

I know I sound heartless and unsentimental, but once you get a new one you will wonder why you waited so long~
Onward and upward!!

Nu Kua said...

Life is supposed to be fun and joyful! This is no fun at all!
I guess every potter has had this or similar experience.
Grrrrrr!!
I hope you will soon post about a new kiln arriving!!

Ron said...

RIP Half Pint. Hang on to the shell, like TropiClay you may want to convert it to gas someday or even a small soda kiln.

FetishGhost said...

Thanks for the condolences everyone, I think Carter Gillies is most likely right, the elements are testing good but internal wiring is old and failing. If the element channels weren't crumbling I'd try to refurbish her... but I'd much rather Frankenstein her out.
Onward and forward.
Thanks everybody...

Armelle said...

I am so sorry for you and for her...........great post anyway, with so much condoleances...

ang said...

what a bummer, yep resolve to move on but i like the sound of a conversion to gas & soda....i do have it on the brain though!!

Hollis Engley said...

I like the conversion idea, too. I've found a couple of plans online and am thinking my old Duncan, which now is just a flat countertop in the studio, would do well as a soda kiln. Let me know if you find plans that work for you. Onward ...

S_crack said...

Since you have new(er) elements and (the other rings of the kiln? - to make it a FULL pint) could oyu add something like the SKutt KM-1 controller?

http://www.skutt.com/products/kmcntrl.html

I forget how much it runs,
($800?) but it says it will work with any kiln, so it might be a cheaper solution.

createniks said...

Search craigslist. We just found a Skutt 1227-3 3ph 208v digital in decent shape for $100. Once we change out the elements and relays to make it a 240v 1ph we'll have less than $400 into it.

We also found a JenKen 10-27 for free that will eventually become a glass kiln.