Electric Reduction Is Alive & Well - Though Not Yet on Main Street

Terry Fallon says it is doable and you can get 200 firings on a set of elements.  I had never heard of it (other than sagger firing) until he joined our network, but it is a real process practiced with several methods.  At first glance, there doesn't seem to be a lot of detailed information out there for us to look at.  Hopefully, members will post links to relevent information as they find it. It is a fascinating concept.  I found this article from someone who tried electric reduction and failed miserably.  Then there was this clayart posting from our our own John Post back in 1999 who got some positive results, using methods from Niels Lou's book The Art of Firing.  Maybe John will tell us how far he went with this technique, as well as when and why he stopped using the technique. Apparently electric reduction is practiced pretty extensively in Japan. 

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are you coating the elements with ITC coating?  

 

 

Hello all

 

First let me shy away from being an expert, I have a few years into it, and I maybe ahead of the curve, however reduction in electric kilns has been going on for, as long as the electric kiln.

 

I must say I loved reading Tim Eberhardt’s tails of his reduction trials.

( It’s a must read )

I will attest that every thing he wrote about is true, I fail for years trying each and every thing he did with the same results ( burned up kilns )

 

There are ways we all have heard about. Using some form of combustible and introducing it into the kiln at a certain temperature to get some level of reduction.

These techniques must be taught one on one. There are many dangers primarily to ones life not only to the kiln.

 

As to ITC coatings, I use the ITC coating for brick, mainly I like the appearance it gives, I also think it seals up some small fracture in the brick.

As to coating the elements it is not worth the effort, you will not see any benefit from it. To withstand the effects of the reduction atmosphere on the elements you need thick gauge elements and the right wire like Kanthal A-1 or APM and you need to re-oxidize the elements after each reduction firing. ( There is no free lunch )

 

Like any technique, and this one in particular there is a lot to learn.

One mistake could mean $ thousand of dollars to repair the kiln. Or the worst of all, yours or someone else’s  death from Carbon Monoxide.      

 

§terry

Hey George.  I thought I'd weigh in here.   I've been firing ^10 electric reduction for almost 8 years as my primary means of firing.  As with any other means of firing, it comes with its own set of problems and challenges........but it is a very reliable and efficient means of firing.  AND, when done properly yields results that are excellent.  I made a little video a few days ago that documents my most recent firing.  Also, you might want to check out my latest post at my blog. 

 

Blog:  www.theduckdroppings.blogspot.com

 

 

Take care,

 

Nick Friedman

The Duckpond Pottery

Brevard, North Carolina

 

great video!

really informative, stuff I have wondered about and now understand!

thanks Nick!! 

 

Sandy Miller

www.sandymillerpottery.com


Well, sure, any reduction kiln needs to be vented-gas, wood, oil, electric-that should go without saying.  But of course, it still needs to be said.  I'd be interested to hear how you burned up your kiln.  The only things that cross my mind is the need for instant ignition of the gas as it enters the chamber (or you'll have a potential bomb on your hands) and the need to make sure any holes going from the box into the chamber are filled with fiber.  These kilns have significant back pressure so if you don't take that step, you'll see a flame pushing right on into your electrical/computer system.  Other than that, I can't think of any way you would damage your kiln by introducing propane.

The Fallonator TM System;   Is a complete system, anyone using a Fallonator TM product, will state "I use Fallonator TM Product" as part of a contractual agreement.   

 

"Nicholas Friedman" is not a customer of Fallonator Products TM.

We must assume his statements reflect his knowledge base on; his use of his equipment, and that this assembly of miscellaneous components contains zero components obtained through Fallonator Products TM.

The Fallonator TM Gas-Add-On-Kit

 

This is a system to add the ability to add reduction atmosphere to an existing electric kiln.

 

We supply a 100% System.

 

No modifications are made to the kiln.

No holes, nothing, other than the removal of the top most peephole plug and the bottom most peephole plug. 

No adjustments to port openings.

No primary air adjustments.

No secondary air adjustments.

We supply the fuel in one pound bottles.

We supply locale suppliers for you to purchase replacement fuel.

            As low as $2.99 per pound.

We do not offer a system that uses 20 pound propane barbeque tanks.

We supply replacement O2 sensors for $70.00, New “not rebuilt” “not repaired”
We do not make our O2 sensor. Our O2 sensors are made by BOSH a leader in the industry of Atmospheric Sensor.

Well, I'm not trying to sell a product.  I'm just showing people that they can have successful reduction firings with a few simple modifications to their kiln and process.  If they want to attain very specific atmospheres then, of course, use of an oxyprobe would be recommended.  And I kind of like making my own adjustments to the kiln (i.e. moving the damper kiln brick).  I'm a big fan of manual windows for example.  Automatic windows seem to make our life simpler.........until they break.  I also like getting my own propane in a refillable 20 lbs. barbecue tank.  I know it doesn't look fancy but I'm just a fan of taking my tank down to the hardware store and paying 80 cents a pound rather than buying a disposable camping tank for $2.99 a pound (that would get old quick).     The Fallonator looks pretty cool and I wish Terry luck with it.  How much does it cost? 

 

Mr. Nicholas

 

I must commend you on your efforts. I have praise and commendations for you.
Your are, where I started so many years ago.

 

The time and commitment to get past the continuous element failure, show you have perseverance. 

To acquire the components, assemble, test, and learn how to control the reduction, must have been a proud moment for you. 

 

The kiln opening after your first successful reduction must have been an eye opener for you, it was a moment in time I will not forget.

 

 

terry   

Wow I thought I left discussions like this on clayart. Have to say the thing I love about most potters, is the dying need to sit down and share stuff over a beer. I love that spirit of flying by the seat of your pants and tinkering and ripping stuff apart and rebuilding it but the I grew up farming where you could fix just about anything with baling wire and duct tape.

I will rip my kiln apart and probably not contact anyone since I live in the middle of nowhere. Plus I'd miss the opportunity to work through it and figure it out.

This discussion reminds me of the basket maker who tried to patent Nantucket baskets. She ended up the most hated woman in the circles of tried and true basket makers as it was time honored tradition passed down from the whalers. Pretty lonely in a wonderfully rich community.

Ms. Sandy

 

Please do not rip your kiln apart, you don’t live so far away that you don’t have a phone.

 

Contact me through Fallonator.com 

A little preparation will make the difference between you being able to reassemble the kiln, and Humpdy Dumpdy fell off the wall.

Thanks, Terry.  I believe Mel Jacobson also did I bit of tinkering around with this some years ago.  If I'm not mistaken, I think he did a few workshops along the way.  John Britt invited me over to demonstrate the process a few years ago at Penland during a glaze calculation class he was teaching (I think it was the fall concentration in 2005).  When we fired the kiln (my kiln) I figured, "what the hell, let's make it a real experiement" and we salted it as well.  The firing turned out extremely well (and salty).  There was absolutely no damage to the elements and the only visible signs of damage to the brick was where I failed to hit the insides of some of the spy holes with ITC.  Definitely, not a way I would regularly salt, but it was great to see what could be possible. 

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