That kind of pottery day

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The day started out in a forthright manner--looking forward to trimming
and footing about 40 pots, unloading a glaze kiln...  I'd noticed that
the kiln was taking longer and longer to fire, so I checked the elements
and one was burned out.  I usually use this as the time to replace them
all, so I took them all out and removed the side panels to connect the
new ones.  I noticed a switch had a wiggily terminal--sign of impending
doom for it, and then noticed one of the  main wires coming in to the
kiln was corroded, meaning a similar fate soon for it.  "For once," I
thought, "I've caught it before it burns itself out."  So I went to the
local hardware store to get a replacement range plug, which works for
kilns as well.    The first sign of trouble was that they were out of
the 6 foot long ones, only had 4 foot long ones.  I wasn't sure if that
was long enough, so I arranged to take one home and try it (I live a
block from the hardware, where I'm well known).  It looked like it would
be tight, but would reach, so I bought it and cut off the plug, since I
always hard wire them into the junction box.  At this point I realized
I'd bought a replacement dryer plug, which is too light duty for an
electric kiln.  So I went back and bought a range plug.  After
assembling all other pieces, I put the kiln together and was ready to
hook up the cord to the junction box.  I'd forgotten how it takes about
6 inches off each end inside the box to make the connections, so it was
too short.  I finished the pots from yesterday to calm down...
       Since the local hardware didn't have the longer cord, I drove to
the next town, where they did have one, and got it.  Next to that
hardware is a bakery, so I stopped in, thinking I'd get my family a
treat for supper.  There were lots of good looking chocolate items
there, but my wife swore off chocolate, so I got a raspberry cake.
    After supper I cut into the cake, to find that the actual cake was
chocolate, with just raspberry frosting...  It was just that kind of day.
    So after supper, I go back to my debacle and put the new cord on.  I
get the kiln wired again, and gingerly put on the breaker to check for
shorts, sparks, pops, and other nasty surprises.     I got a new
surprise--when the kilnsitter was powered up, but the kiln switches
themselves were off, one of the elements still was humming away and even
glowing red.  It seemed to be on the switch I replaced, so I figured I
got some of the wires mixed up. What's more, as I tried to turn the
switch to see if it would go off, I heard a loud popping sound coming
from the switch, meaning it just got fried.
    So I got inside again, replaced the switch, rechecked the wiring
diagram, noticed a couple other wires that had gotten pulled loose in
the process, and put it together again.  This time it was a different
element, on the same switch.
    I think I'll try again in a couple days...  Did I mention it was
raining all day?  It didn't have anything to do with all these troubles,
but it set the proper aura...
Brad Sondahl

Re: That kind of pottery day
Much sympathy goes your way.  I had that kind of week but I think I would
have rather had my week than your day.  May the kiln gods look kindly on you
soon.  Donna

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Re: That kind of pottery day
I think it might be time to put up the "Gone Fishin' " sign!!
Hope you get it sorted soon, cheers, Hugh

Brad Sondahl wrote:
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Re: That kind of pottery day
Oh, yeah - the "one-step-forward-fourteen-steps-backward" thing.  I
think I was having some sympathy pains yesterday....

I agree with Hugh - Gone Fishin', Gone Golfin', or - whatever......

Good Fires! once you've got it licked.


Re: That kind of pottery day
What a day!!!!  Sometimes ya just wish ya hadn't bothered getting out of bed
Reckon you are in for some good luck now.

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Re: That kind of pottery day
Dear Brad,

What a Bummer!

I'm certain you have the deepest sympathy of the whole group.

Take care.


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Steve Mills

Re: That kind of pottery day
Somebody once said
"When yer in a 'ole, stop digging!!!"
My version, "when it's all gone pear shaped, go surfing (or kite flying, or
something else totally unrelated to any part of your life that has any
relevance to earning a living...)
Been there brother, believe me, after the storm comes the view (mind you,
some of they storms can be looonnnggg 'uns!)
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The rest of the story
So after putting it mostly out of mind for two days, I go back and open
the kiln up intent on finding where the current is coming from which is
going to the element when it says "off."  I used my trusty circuit
tester, (which I mostly use to find out which part of a lamp cord should
  be the neutral).  It turns out to be the switch.   Since I'd already
switched switches (twice, actually), I didn't really think it was the
switch.  Then the "Ahah" moment.  Could the knob be on upside down?
Turns out it was, so when it said off, it was really on medium, which
for my kiln is one of the two elements burning full on.
I'd never encountered this problem before, so until I tried it, I wasn't
aware the knob could go two ways.  My older kiln had a half moon shape
for the stem of the switch to prevent this from happening.
Anyway, it's firing, so thanks for the good wishes.

Re: The rest of the story

Congratulations on solving your kiln dilemma. As a retired kiln repairman, I
watched your progress with great interest.

I used to get calls from desperate and frustrated potters at about the same
stage as when you "spat the dummy", and I would be the one that had the "Ah
ha!" moment. For the potter it was the "DOH!!!" moment.

I had a few jobs where the kiln just wouldn't go, and they had checked
EVERYTHING ...... except whether the power was switched on. That was a real
big "Ah ha" moment - or maybe "ooops!" moment. Still, I didn't mind - I
still got paid to turn the switch on for them!!



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Re: The rest of the story

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Lol makes me remember calling the repairman out to fix my washing machine.
The spin just was not working properly.  The first thing the repairman
noticed was cat prints across the lid, then one right on the button that
changed it from fast spin to slow spin.  It was a DOH moment and cost $50.

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