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Program your firings manually, calibrate the final temperature using cones

Here is an example of our lab firing schedule for cone 10 oxidation (which the cone-fire mode does not do correctly). To actually go to cone 10 we need to manually create a program that fires higher than the built in cone-fire one. Determining how high to go is a matter repeated firings verified using a self supporting cone (regular cones are not accurate). In our lab we keep notes in the schedule record in our account at insight-live.com. And we have a chart on the wall showing the latest temperature for each of the cones we fire to. What about cone 6? Controllers fire it to 2235, we put down a cone at 2200!

Program your firings manually, calibrate the final temperature using cones

Related Pictures

Low fire ware cracking during firing. Why?

Most low-fire bodies contain talc. It is added for the express purpose of increasing thermal expansion. The natural quartz particles present do the same. These are good for glaze fit but bad for ware like this. There are also sudden volume changes associated with cristobalite, but it forms (from quartz) at stoneware temperatures so should not be a concern in terra cotta. You could fiddle with the clay recipe or change bodies, but better to change the firing schedule. While stoneware dunting happens between 950-1150F on the way down, this could be happening anywhere. A simple fix is to slow down the entire cooling cycle. Learn to program your kiln. Use a conservative cooling rate of about 200F/hr (even slower at 1150-950F). No electronic controller? Learn a switch-setting-schedule to approximate this down-ramp (buy a pyrometer if needed).

Links

Glossary Kiln Controller
In ceramics kilns the firing schedule of a kiln is typically managed automatically by an electronic device called a kiln controller. These are especially common on electric kilns.
Glossary Cone
Devices that melt and bend in a ceramic kiln at specific temperatures. By viewing them through a peephole the operator can tell accurately what temperature the kiln has reached.
Glossary Firing Schedule
Designing a good kiln firing schedule for your ware is a very important, and often overlooked factor for obtained successful firings.

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