So, after a bit of playing about and a second shot, a successful test firing! In the first firing the kiln timer shut off before it reached 1080º. Consequently, for the second firing I set the timer to a whopping 18 hours before heading off to bed. Unfortunately, when I woke up, it was still sitting at 700º, but by setting the dial to what the instructions claimed was stoneware temperature, over the course of a few more hours the kiln hit 1000º and the kiln sitter kicked in, closing everything down as it should.
Another 12 hours later and the temperature was cool enough to pull my first batch out of the kiln. It was mostly test sticks, used to make sure the kiln was firing evenly but I did sneak one wee house in.
Next time around I’ll need to be more present to make sure to ramp up the kiln at the appropriate time – I suspect the inefficiency is due to the elements getting old and tired so I’ll have to replace them down the track but for now, I’m very happy. A studio and a working kiln…
Today marked the momentous occassion that was/is the first firing in the newly acquired kiln. I say newly acquired as the kiln itself is 10 years old, purchased from a chap in Hobart who used it for glasswork. It’s British-made, a Cromartie CTL 75 with an LT-3 kiln sitter. Fortunately, with a little ferreting around on the web I was able to locate the manual for the latter and plenty of videos detailing the firing process.*
For the first hour I was somewhat crestfallen as the elements didn’t appear to be heating up, but it turned out that they don’t kick in until the lid is firmly closed and I’d originally set it up to warm with the lid propped open slightly.
So, firing commenced at around 11am. It’s now 6pm and the temperature is around 450-500º, aiming for 1000º for the bisque fire.
With a little luck, the kiln sitter will do its job sometime in the middle of the night and I’ll have a lot of test rods and one bisque house by this time tomorrow.
Either that or I won’t.
*Also, thanks to Joolz, who imparted ancient wisdom and inspired confidence all the way from NZ.
Update: Looks like the timer kicked off in the night before the kiln reached 1000º. Oh well, it was a test fire.