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Kiln Maintenance Day

Today is Kiln Maintenance Day. Not a fun task, but essential every now and again. The batt wash on my shelves is the stuff that came with the kiln, and when I put it on, I had no idea what I was doing. It was mixed too thick, and applied too thick, and left an awful mess when it started cracking and flaking, and has just got worse and worse. So, since we just bought a few new shelves that needed a fresh coat of batt wash, I decided to refurbish our existing shelves too.

The new batt wash is a zircon based batt wash (from Scotclay) and it paints on beautifully. I have this on a small shelf that I’ve been using for about a year, and there is not a flake or chip in sight, so I’m looking forward to many years of use before I have to do this horrible job again!

Essential safety equipment!  Nasty stuff coming off of these shelves, not good for your lungs, so a respirator is essential, as are safety glasses (or, in my case, glasses)

Essential safety equipment! Nasty stuff coming off of these shelves, not good for your lungs, so a respirator is essential, as are safety glasses (or, in my case, glasses)

Flaky old shelf, with craters caused by dripped glaze.  Lots of grinding required.

Flaky old shelf, with craters caused by dripped glaze. Lots of grinding required.

Close up of flaky old shelf

Close up of flaky old shelf

Essential tool - Dremel type tool with coarse grinder wheel

Essential tool – Dremel type tool with coarse grinder wheel

Kiln shelf after grinding

Shelf after grinding

Newly batt washed kiln shelf, ready for loading the kiln

Newly batt washed kiln shelf, ready for loading the kiln

 

Thank You Santa!

We have a new kiln, and an impressive boost to our glaze supplies, thanks to Santa (and a day-job bonus!)

So excited (and a little bit terrified) to get started with it. 🙂

It’s a Potterycrafts Aurora kiln and an electronic Mitsco controller. Not massive at 40 litres capacity, but it has wheels and fits into our studio setup for now and totally flexible on a 13amp domestic supply. A bigger studio will allow bigger kilns in the future but this is perfectly adequate for our needs right now and we’re delighted with it.

…and here it is, all laid out to check against the delivery note. We have some gorgeous Amaco Potters’ Choice and Sahara stoneware glazes, and a selection of Terracolor engobes. Lots of experimentation and glaze tests to come.

Now we just need a name for her…

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