Firing Tips, Techniques & Suggested Schedules

Gilroy (Sunset Z14), CA(Zone 9a)

This thread will be for all kiln-users to post information about firing. (I will ask Admin to make it a Sticky.)

When adding a post to this thread, let's include some details about the type of kiln being used, and temperatures / times where relevant.

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 4b)

ima great. Why don't you be first and put in the directions you did that prompted me to suggest this?

Gilroy (Sunset Z14), CA(Zone 9a)

Firing: Ceramic Bisque
Kiln: Electric
Temperature: Cone 04 (Approx 1900 - 1950F or 1050 - 1075C)

Suggested firing schedule (temperatures are in Farenheit):

1) Start the bottom kiln element on the lowest possible setting, with the spyholes open and the lid propped open slightly (1 to 1 1/2 inches)

2) After the temperature reaches about 300 degrees, close the lid.

3) When the temperature reaches about 400 degrees, turn on the top element on the lowest setting.

4) After the temperature reaches about 500 degrees, close the spyholes.

5) Increase the setting on the elements so the temperature rises about 150 degrees an hour.

6) When cone 04 bends, turn off both elements.

7) Keep everything closed up tightly until the temperature drops to 500 degrees. Then open the spyholes.

8) After the temperature is down to 300 degrees, crack the lid again so it's open an inch.

9) Let it finish cooling off completely before you open it further.

This message was edited Apr 10, 2009 12:35 PM

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 4b)

Horse hair firing.

Here are some finished pieces.

The black comes from the horse hair burning against the pot.

This message was edited Apr 22, 2009 7:33 AM

Thumbnail by zenpotter
Minneapolis, MN(Zone 4b)

Steps in the process.

I. Bisque the piece to cone 05.

2. Heat to approximately 800 in a raku kiln. You should do this outside because of the smoke. You can use an electric kiln as well.

3. Remove the pot from the heat and touch the horsehair to the pot. I use the hair from the tail since it is course and can be held against the pot easily. DO Not Touch the pot with bare hands.

This message was edited Apr 22, 2009 7:30 AM

This message was edited Apr 22, 2009 7:46 AM

Thumbnail by zenpotter
Minneapolis, MN(Zone 4b)

4. Continue to add more hair. If the pot cools off reheat it. This pot was done with one strand at a time, but so ahead and experiment with several strands or body hair.

Thumbnail by zenpotter
Minneapolis, MN(Zone 4b)

5. The completed pot. At this point it can be left as is or polished with a clear wax such as a paste floor wax or bees wax.

Thumbnail by zenpotter
Wa Keeney, KS

I must say I have fired hundreds of loads in my 6 different kilns. All electric various sizes but my favorite way to fire is pressing the numbers on the electronic controller and pushing the start button. Then I go home and go to bed.

I'm just being a smarty pants. The stuff with the horse hair is very nice and I don't know of any other way to create that effect. I have only one question. How does the horse feel about it?

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 4b)

He isn't involved. You either use the hair from when his mane is cut or the hair brushed from his body.

Gilroy (Sunset Z14), CA(Zone 9a)

If only my gas kiln that never finishes a firing until after 3:00AM had that capability...

Portland, OR

Here is a small tip I learned this weekend.

When firing Mother of Pearl overglaze on a piece that will also get a gold overlay, you can fire them at the same time as long as they don't touch eachother.
The MFR states that they need to be fired separately but it's not the case.

Also, on the overlays... Less is more.
To keep from powdering the Mother of Pearl, use a very thin coat. It fires between 020 and 018, as does a gold overlay.

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