Manuals Kiln FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions - All FAQs

Please select your question category

Search FAQs
View all frequently asked questions

A: No, no unauthorized persons should be allowed near the kiln during the firing process.

ie: to touch the hot kiln case (can reach over 100 Deg C), or to look through the

spyhole or change the control settings. Kilns get very hot and can cause burns or fires if not used correctly. That said Kilns are not hard to use but people need to take precautions and follow the instructions provided in the Kiln Operation Manual.

A: I much the same way an oven manufacturer can only give you a guide as to what temp to cook your food at we can only provide some suggestions as to some typical firing profiles for your Kiln.

When firing any ware in the kiln it is always advisable to fire to the temperature suggested by either the Clay or Glaze manufacturer. We can only suggest these basic firing profiles. If you intend on firing Glass, PMC, loss wax etc we would strongly advise doing a course in these techniques to better understand the profile you need to run to get the best results.

A: It may be a good idea to run a test firing to ensure that any moisture build up in the kiln has been dealt with before firing your precious new pieces. This can be as simple running your normal program and turning the kiln off once it reaches 250C. Or you can program a simple cycle to take the Kiln to over 250C. By the time it reaches this temperature you should have released any built up moisture in the insulation. Remember to leave the kiln bungs out during this process to let any trapped moisture escape.

A: Yes you can but it would only save a couple of hundred dollars and limit the functionality of your Kiln. Given you'll be investing thousands in your new Kiln we'd prefer you to have a Kiln that can perform a number of functions while incorporating extra safety. It’s a bit like buying a car now days without air conditioning. The Mulit-stage controller also has a safety circuit that isn’t available on the single stage controllers.

A: Yes, we will happily fit another brand of controller should you have a special request or wish to fit an existing controller from your old Kiln. This will normally not save a lot of money as it would need to be a custom install. Contact us and we can discuss your options further.

A: Yes, if the kiln is fitted with an AF+ multi-stage controller you can use the Kiln for most glass fusing and slumping. Given that glass firing is quiet complex we'd advise taking a course or reading literature from glass firing specialists like Bulls Eye Glass in the USA.

A: Yes and no. The upfront cost of a Gas Kiln of similar internal size compared with an Electric Kiln is substantial. This is due to three reasons:

1. Overall Kiln size: For the same usable internal area a Gas kiln has extra space on the sides where the burners fire and at the rear where there is an internal flue/chimney. Thus the overall size of the case and kiln is much larger vs its useable internal space.

2. Cost of burners: The cost of the burner assembly is much greater than cost of a Kilns electric elements.

3. Installation costs: The cost of installing a flue and gas supply is often a lot more than the installation of power. Though this may not be the case for 3 phase kilns in country or remote areas.

 

The cost of firing will likely be less though the time and number of firings to recoup this cost may be great.

 

Note: Gas Kiln also need to be baby sat as they need regular adjustment to baffles etc.

 

A: A gentle buzzing sound from a kiln is reassuring, because it means the elements are firing normally. You should also hear a clicking/clunking/pinging sound as the Relays / Contactors turn on and off at the request of the controller.

A: Depending on what you fire you can get soot type deposits around the door seal or bung holes, most of the time this is purely cosmetic and can be expected. If you start getting a larger burn type marks you may have a problem with the replaceable door seal. Please take a photo and email us so we can provide advice as to the best solution. It may be fine, it may require some tightening of the door latch or it may be time to replace the seal.

A: You should ensure the Kiln has at least 200mm clearance on all sides and a minimum 600mm clearance above the Kiln. NEVER place anything on top of the Kiln. Things are often forgotten and this is a fire risk.

A: Adequate ventilations around the kilns is essential, make sure that the kiln is situated in an area where there is at least some natural ventilation to the outside of the building (A window or doorway). If not, you may have to consider either an exhaust fan or an attached Kiln ventilation system (Ventmaster from Woodrow). Fumes from kilns can be unpleasant depending upon what you want to fire. Some concentrated fumes can be deadly, please carefully consider what you intend to fire and think of the consequences.

A: In a word NO. NEVER place anything on top of the Kiln. Things are often forgotten and can lead to fires. Also make sure that there are no combustible materials stored under, around or behind the kiln. ie: Timber, canvas, paper or chemicals etc.

A: It is normally advisable to have the Kiln installed on its own separate circuit. This avoids tripping any other connections if there is an issue. Since Kilns require a large amount of power when running its best they have a dedicated circuit. If the Kiln is installed on a new circuit that has an RCD (Earth Leakage Breaker) please ensure these are Type "D" breakers. Some RCD breakers have a tendency to trip as they are overly sensitive, this is due to the moisture present inside the chamber coming in contact with the coils. Please contact us or have your electrician call if you need further advise. 

A: When we make the Kiln we spray on a Hi-Alumina sealer coating that helps harden the board’s surface, reduces potential dues and improves the efficiency of the board. The spray in normally clear so we add food dye so we can see we have a good coating of the board. This normally burns off during our first test firing but there may be some areas that you can still see the colouring. It’s nothing to worry about.

A: The short answer is yes, but you must insure that it can't get wet from rain from that storm that happens once in a while with horizontal rain. The Kiln is an electrical device so rain is not something you want on the electrics. As the casing and frame is made from aluminium the kiln will handle the outside without major issue.

A: The following step by step process is a good one to follow even if you are very experienced in working with Kilns. 

  1. Before turning the Kiln ON. Visually inspect the Kiln inside and out for any damage.
  2. Ensure that the insides are clean and relatively dust free. (A quick vacuum every now and again is a good idea.) Remember to wear a mask when doing so.
  3. Check you Kiln furniture is still without cracks etc. (The last thing you want is one failing during firing and loosing your new pieces)
  4. Once you’ve loaded your Kiln check to ensure you’ve left adequate space (3cm+) around the Thermocouple (Temperature Probe).
  5. Now you can turn on your controller. Once finished booting up you should see the current temp inside the Kiln displayed.
  6. Check over the settings you have in your desired program/cycle and begin the firing. You should see a run light or hear a clicking to indicate the kiln is running.
  7. Before you leave your kiln to run. Ensure there is nothing touching up against the Kiln or resting on it. Check to be sure you’ve left you kiln bungs in or out whichever you’ve decided is best.

A: If you are not intending on using the Kiln for an extended period we would always advise that the Kiln be switched OFF at the wall. For even longer periods or for areas prone to lightening or power surges we would advise unplugging the Kiln altogether.

A: For pottery and ceramics we’d suggest you leave your bungs out till the kiln has reached around 250-300C. This will allow any excess moisture from the ware to escape the chamber. If you can’t be there to put them back in at that temperature you can leave the bungs in all the time. This may overtime result in damage to the kilns elements and/or insulation due to excess moisture. For Glass the bungs can generally always be left in unless you are using molds that contain moisture. If you have lost or broken bungs please contact us for a replacement, it is dangerous to fire a kiln without a bung.

A: We'd advise against opening the door at greater than 200OC. This is for safety reasons and also to protect the aluminium in the door from being warped by excessive heat. If you want to help the kiln cool crack the door (leave the latch still hooked but open) at 200C and then open the door more fully from about 120C. Just remember that ware can be susceptible to thermal shock if they drop in temperature too quickly (have patience). Also keep in mind the temps you open and handle things from your home oven. It’s easy to see that 180C is a low temp in a Kiln but the cooking temp in your oven.

A: Before you begin ensure you have the correct safe working clothing to fire the kiln:

i. Mask – Class P1 minimum. (Any dust can be hazardous if inhaled)

ii. Leather mittens or good quality garden gloves (ideally non combustible)(things can be hot)

iii. Long sleeved loose fitting clothing non combustible.

iv. Safety glasses with infrared filters should be worn when viewing through spy holes at elevated temperatures. The glow from inside the Kiln is a type of heat radiation and can burn.

A: Always ensure there is shelf placed on the floor of the Kiln. This helps protect the floor of the Kiln which can’t be easily replaced like a shelf can. We advise never to place pieces directly on the brick floor as you will eventually damaged to brick floor. Woodrow kiln do not require this shelf to be propped up off the floor of the Kiln. We'd advise against propping directly on the brick as it will slowly eat into the brick floor over time that's why it's best to use a shelf as a solid base that can be easily replaced if there is an issue. Should you be getting a cold spot on the floor incrementally increase the soak at top temp to give time for the floor to catch up. Remember the shelf is a mass and should be considered in how evenly you stack the chamber.

A: To maximize the amount of pottery that enters the kiln. You can create multiple levels separated by Kiln shelves or Batts (made from cordierite or other kiln-safe material) and props  of varying heights. Choose pieces to load based on height. Load tall pieces on one level, and shorter pieces on another. If you have items of different sizes, split the shelves to maximize space. Always try and evenly load a Kiln, from side to side, top to bottom. This will help ensure the kiln provides an even firing. The Kiln can't adjust how it heats so always try and think "keep things symmetrical".

A: Give your pieces room to breathe. In order for the heat to properly fire your ceramic pieces, try to leave at least 3cm (1 inches) between pieces, and leave some room at the top of each level for the heat to pass evenly throughout the kiln. If you find you are getting clod spots between pieces increase the gap.

A: Never place pieces, shelves or props within 3-4cm (1 inch) of the Thermocouple tip. If you do this can result in the probe reading a false (often hotter) temperature than is really present within the kiln and you may get under or over firing. By allowing a space around the probe you help it take a more accurate reading as to the temperature within the kiln. This also helps protect the probe from any accidental damage caused by bumping the probe.

A: Yes you always need to protect the shelf from glazes. As glazes are effectively a type of glass they tend to stick to everything and anything. Your local pottery supplier should have a range of Kiln wash, fiber paper or stilts to help keep you glazed pieces and kiln shelves separated.

A: Support shelves with three posts instead of four. Four posts can cause the shelves to wobble unless the bottom of the kiln is even, the shelves are flat, and the posts are exactly the same height. You can still use 4 if you wish, just make sure the shelves are as stable as possible.

A: When possible, the posts should line up vertically from one shelf to another throughout the kiln, especially with large kilns and heavy loads. Vertically aligned posts increase the stability of the load and reduce stress on the shelves. Think of the way you see pillars in a multi-storey car park.

A: Kiln wash is made of minerals that do not fuse at high temperature. When applied to a kiln shelf, the kiln wash helps prevent dripping glaze from embedding into the shelf. Kiln wash is designed for easy removal from the shelf so that when glaze sticks to it, the kiln wash can be scraped off. For this reason, kiln wash applied to the underside of shelves and the lid can flake off and fall onto the ware below. It can also flake off and fall into an element groove. Kiln wash can destroy a heating element. This is why it must never be applied to kiln walls.

A: Beware, you are taking a great risk when firing shelves with cracks. They could break during a firing and ruin a load of ware by causing other shelves to collapse. The Kiln normally gets damaged when this happens as glaze or pottery sticks to the walls or elements. If might save you money now and cost a lot in the future. It's best not to take the risk. If you need advice, take a photo and email it to us and we’ll give you feedback.

A: Yes. Glaze can bubble and splatter onto the kiln walls and shelves. For this reason, keep ware at least 30mm away from element grooves and walls. Periodically check your kiln for glaze contamination. Dig out glaze from kiln walls and the bottom with a putty knife, removing as little insulation as possible. Again if you need advice take a photo and email us for feedback.

A: No, but if a shelf starts to cup or bend you can keep flipping it till cracks appear. If a shelf breaks you can swap it for the shelf on the floor as a fully supported shelf on the floor will normally be ok.

In the beginning go slow:

Even if you have air dried your ware for many days there will still be moisture trapped inside the clay that needs to get out while firing. If you go up in temperature too fast this trapped moisture turns to steam and can result in ware ‘exploding’ in the kiln.

Once this moisture has escaped and the organic contents of the kiln have burnt off (around 550-600C) the kiln can rise much faster without any side effects.

Remember it's all about HEAT WORK.

It's not just the top temp you must reach, it's the amount of heat and time the ware receives. This means that the Ramp rate (rate of temp rise) that occurs in the last 100C of rise is as important as the top temp the ware must reach. This is why clay often refers to a Cone number, these represent an amount of heat work. For this reason we suggest setting the last 100C ramp at 60Oc /hr. This represents the middle of the chart for a Cone firing and gives the best results. Please click here to find the latest Orton Cone Chart that shows the temp you need to reach for each Cone number.

To ensure the best results we would suggest adding a soak at the top of the cycle. This allows the whole kiln to ‘catch up’ or even out to a uniform temperature and gives a little extra time for the desired temperature to soak through the entire thickness of the ware. For bisque, stoneware or ceramics we’d suggest 10-15mins. (If you find you are getting cold spots in your kiln you can extend this soak. Uneven packing can also be partially overcome by extending this soak. But beware, don’t over do it as the clay may then over fire.)

 

SECOND STAGE FIRING (GLAZE):

As the ware has already been fired the ware can handle much higher ramp rates. This means that even through a glaze firing is generally to a higher temperature the total cycle time can be more or less the same.

To ensure the best results especially with glazes we would suggest adding a soak at the top of the cycle. This has two effects. Firstly it allows the whole kiln to ‘catch up’ or even out to a uniform temperature. Secondly it allows the glaze time to mature which will result in greater luster. For most glazes we’d suggest a 30min soak.

Remember just like a recipe for an Oven you may need to tweak the speeds and temperatures to get the best results.

A: If you are installing a new power point for your Kiln we would advise that it be positioned about 20cm to the right of a straight line taken from the right hand side of the kiln to the rear wall. You want the point to be easily accessible but away from the 20cm min distance from the walls of the kiln. Please ensure the Licensed Electrician follows all Australian Standards when installing a new connection, never install any electrical points yourself (it’s illegal under Australian law).

A: We've provided some estimated firing costs for a 1260C firing of each Kiln empty given an estimated cost for electricity. This estimate is derived from a metered reading of the power used for an empty firing of each size of Kiln at our factory. The firing profile run was our recommended Stoneware/Porcelain Bisque firing schedule from our wall chart (typical Cone 9 firing). The actual cost of your firing will depend upon the mass of the ware you fire and could be more than double this estimate. Our estimate of power saving for a Fiber Board lined Kiln vs a Brick lined Kiln is based on metered reading of a Woodrow Brick lined Kiln vs a Woodrow Fiber lined Kiln of the same internal size running the same Cone 9 firing profile outlined above. 

A: No, the couriers will place the Kiln as near as they can to the position you want it but they are limited in where they can go by their pallet jacks. Any small steps, gutter bumps, grass, gravel etc will normally restrict where they can leave the Kiln. The couriers are just that, couriers we can’t offer an unpacking and install service. The Kiln will also come packed on a pallet. The kiln can be easily walked off the pallet using two or three people. Click here to see how er recommend you do this.

Woodrow Kiln are quiet light when compared with other Kilns. We construct a bottom bar on the frame/stand to act as a lifting point of a pallet jack or fork lift. This bar can also be used to move the kiln using a hand trolley. Two strong people can normally move a kiln up the our 225L or 8 Cuft model using an hand trolley. Please contact us directly for advise if you have a tricky install.

A: Woodrow Kilns have been designed around a normal 805mm x 2050 doorway. Kilns up to and including our 225L / 8 Cuft unit can fit through one of these doors. The larger 280L and 340L units can have their Kiln doors lifted off so they can pass an 805mm door side on. Kilns larger than the 340L will require a wider doorway but all have been designed to fit through a 2050mm high doorway.

A: Yes, Woodrow Kiln has transit insurance against damage to the Kiln. Should something happen to the Kiln during transit please contact us as soon as it arrives and take some photos of the damage. Call us and we can work out the best way to either repair or replace the kiln to your satisfaction. Please keep in mind that should the Kiln need to be replaced there may be a delay for us to make a replacement as our larger Kilns are normally made to order. The transit insurance doesn’t cover any consequential damages in this regard. Damage in transit falls under our Transit insurance not a Warranty Claim.

A: The key thing to focus on when moving or packing a kiln is to ensure there is support for all walls within the kiln. As you are aware the Kilns are fragile and don’t take too kindly to transport. You should pack out the inside of the Kiln with boxes or the like so that all the walls and especially the roof have a small amount of support. This is so the elements and insulation don’t have anywhere to go when they are vibrated or bumped during transport. The other key consideration is ensuring the movers handle the kiln as if it’s an antique piece of furniture that is fragile and worth a lot of money and not like a second hand fridge. Removalists often see a solid metal frame and think that it take a bit of rough handling. It can’t and its worth a lot more at replacement costs than that large screen TV they’ll handle with kids gloves. 

No faqs found in this category

Please Click Here to download the Woodrow Kiln Warranty pdf for Electric Kilns.

Current Promotions

Contact us

We will answer your emails as soon as possible

Also Available Through