Potters & Sculptors - Making Rock from Mud
I bought a used Evenheat 4320 kiln with kiln sitter. It does not have knobs to adjust heat settings. I has 4 switches that you turn on one at a time. I'd like to fire to cone 6 or cone 5 with a soak. Never having fired my own pottery before, I don't know how to go about doing this, much less with this type of kiln. I fully intend to learn how to fire successfully. So, anybody willing to give me some pointers? I can use all the help I can get!
The Users Manual I found for your kiln is attached. There was not a lot of info about the switched variety except:
"Kiln models equipped with ON-OFF toggle switches generally have two or more switches. Standard operation is to throw the bottom switch to the ON position while leaving all remaining switches OFF.
Allow the kiln to fire for one hour. Once the hour is complete, throw the next switch up from the bottom
to the ON position, again leaving all remaining switches OFF. Allow the kiln to continue to fire for
another hour. Repeat this process for all remaining switches and allow the firing to complete.
It should be noted that you may fire faster or slower by adjusting the amount of time you wait
before throwing the switches to the ON position."
You will have no idea what your kiln is doing unless you get a pyrometer and thermocouple to measure the heat inside the kiln.
Test your kiln by turning all switches ON wait 5 minutes and look in to make sure all elements are glowing. Shut off the switches one by one (again waiting a few minutes) to see which switches control which elements. Make notes if they are not 1 switch for 1 element.
Read the manual. First learn to do a controlled fire (heat up at a desired rate, learning how your kiln responds to the switches at low temperatures and especially at high temperatures). Then you will need to be switching on and off one or more of the switches on a timed basis to hover around a desired temperature to do a soak. You will not be able do a soak without a pyrometer.
Thank you so much George. I intend to do an empty fire of the kiln to ^6 before I do any real firing. Since I bought it used I want to make sure it goes up to temperature. After that I guess I'll just have to trust the kiln sitter until I can get a pyrometer and thermocouple. I'm dying to try out some new glazes that I bought!
I have a Duncan Teacher Plus with a kiln sitter. You do not necessarily have to 'trust the kiln sitter." You can use witness cones.
A side note that might help you in the future: It took me a little problem solving to figure out how to soak my pieces at the top temperature without having the kiln shut off on me. I put a cone seven bar in the kiln sitter and watch my pyrometer VERY CAREFULLY. At that point I can manually turn the kiln down a bit so it doesn't go above cone six or shut off and hold it there with a little tweaking. Of course, this is a pain in the behind, but for me it is worth it. I like to cool everything down slowly because I find I get much nicer depth to my glazes, rather than having the kiln just shut off and cool down quickly. You should be able to turn your kiln down gradually too if you can prevent it from shutting off.
My husband said someday he will convert it to digital for me, but he thinks I should have to do it the hard way first! LOL! I suppose he is right. It is a great learning experience. I hope you enjoy your kiln and all the learning that goes with it too! Read the manual a couple times, and then stick it up on the shelf and forget it! You will gain much more from your own trial and error and firing logs. : )
I have an old evenheat with 5 toggle switches and a kilnsitter. Does yours have a plate that states the volts, amps and max temp? I would not be sure that yours would go to cone six..depending on the elements. Mine has been great for quick bisque turnaround for many yrs.
George...thanks for the pdf manual, I will check it out... Oh well, it does not apply to the old toggle switch models.