I'm an amateur potter

Playing in the mud is fun and stimulating

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Having the right tools
Nut driver with extension,wooden skewer,wrench
My kiln has not been performing well for about a year. It all started after I did a cone 10 glaze firing then immediately went on vacation. The firing was complete - all except cooling down the kiln. I closed the doors to the kiln room and left. That was a big mistake! The air flow through the kiln room was insufficient to cool things down at a reasonable rate so everything in the room got very hot. It was hot enough to cause plastic things in the room to deform - including the housing for the kiln controllers.
Since then I bought and installed new controllers but the replacements were different from the old controllers (which are no longer manufactured). After that I had trouble with cone 10 firings.
On February 4-6 I attended a workshop at the Geil Kilns home office in Huntington Beach, CA. (MORE ON THE WORKSHOP, LATER - IT WAS GREAT!) After some discussion with Paul Geil and Tom Coleman it was decided to increase the orifice size on my burners. The orifice is like a nut with threads on the outside and a small hole in the center. The gas passes through that small hole. The new orifices have a slightly larger hole. Paul provided the new orifices -- all I had to do was install them.
After looking at the burners I finally figured out what I needed to remove the old orifices and replace them with the new ones. The tools are pictured above.
The burners look like this:
full burner burner close-up

On the left is the full burner including an on/off valve at the bottom and a ceramic cylinder at the top. On the right is a close-up of the metallic housing in the middle where the orifice resides.
The ceramic top slides off after loosening the screw that holds it in place with the box-end wrench.
The orifice is screwed into the burner 10 inches below the floor of the kiln. I needed a 10-inch (or longer) extension for my nut driver. Removing the old orifices was then just a few twists of the nut driver.
Installing the new orifices was a little tricky. If I put the new orifice in the nut driver then tried to position the nut driver over the place where it needed to be screwed in, the orifice would fall out of the nut driver before it was in place. My first solution to the problem was to use a small piece of a post-it, the slightly sticky paper, to hold the orifice in the nut driver until it was in the correct position. This worked for some of the burners but not all. I had trouble finding the correct position on some of the burners. Then I found another solution. A 12-inch wooden skewer, the kind often used for Shish Kebabs, worked perfectly as a guide for the new orifice. The skewer fit through the hole in the orifice. I could put the skewer into the pipe where the orifice was going to go and drop the orifice over the skewer. It was then in the correct position. I could reach into the burner assembly with my fingers to get the screw started then remove the skewer and use the nut driver to tighten the orifice.
The new orifices are now installed and I will be doing a glaze firing soon.
2012-02-08 23:18:36 GMT Comments (0 total)
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.