To Insulate or Not to Insulate.... - WarmGlass.com

To Insulate or Not to Insulate....

This is the main board for discussing general techniques, tools, and processes for fusing, slumping, and related kiln-forming activities.

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Elizabeth

To Insulate or Not to Insulate....

Postby Elizabeth » Tue Jun 03, 2003 2:33 am

Fairly new to fusing, I bought a Skutt Pinto for my first kiln. Am doing larger projects, now, requiring longer, slower anneals. Problem is that my controller is manual and I don't want to spend hours turning my temp from "Off" to "Lo" and back again. Also don't like the idea of wedging the lid open and keeping the heating element on for long periods of time.

Have heard of insulating outside the kiln with some sort of surrounding material. Any ideas? I would really appreciate your expert thoughts on this. Thanks.

Bob
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Postby Bob » Tue Jun 03, 2003 10:08 am

Hi Elizabeth,

I thought there were two types of switches for manually fired kilns. The first type is the low - medium - high settings that you have. The other is a variable switch that has numbers from 1 through (approximately) 7. I had the latter type on my manuallty fired kiln and was able to find just the right spot to hold the kiln at a particular temperature. It depended on the size of the shelf and how hot the kiln had been heated to ... but it was possible. I have heard the infinite switches from stoves work but you might want to check with a kiln supplier.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Bob

Brock
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Postby Brock » Tue Jun 03, 2003 10:20 am

Absolutely Bob, I've been using stove switches for years. In my kilns, if I'm at full fuse, 1450, then I just put my stove switch halfway between Off and 1 and the kiln will lose heat gradually and stall out around 960. Perfect. After a slump, then I turn it down to 2, and the same thing, it stalls out around 960.
My memory is so good, I can't remember the last time I forgot something . . .

Ron Coleman
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Re: To Insulate or Not to Insulate....

Postby Ron Coleman » Tue Jun 03, 2003 10:31 am

Elizabeth wrote:Fairly new to fusing, I bought a Skutt Pinto for my first kiln. Am doing larger projects, now, requiring longer, slower anneals. Problem is that my controller is manual and I don't want to spend hours turning my temp from "Off" to "Lo" and back again. Also don't like the idea of wedging the lid open and keeping the heating element on for long periods of time.

Have heard of insulating outside the kiln with some sort of surrounding material. Any ideas? I would really appreciate your expert thoughts on this. Thanks.


Somebody did a little work with the Pinto kiln and it should help.

Try this link

http://twovoyagers.com/metamorphosis/warm/kiln.html

Ron

Elizabeth

To Insulate or Not to Insulate

Postby Elizabeth » Tue Jun 03, 2003 12:30 pm

Blessings on you all for your thoughtful replies. I especially enjoyed the website info which included graphs for the infinite switch settings.

I have heard of experts putting some sort of insulation around their kiln for the annealing process when they were firing very thick glass. Does anyone know anything about what sort of insulation? Housing insulation simply doesn't sound as if it would work.

Many thanks,

Elizabeth

Brad Walker
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Postby Brad Walker » Tue Jun 03, 2003 1:24 pm

You could try using fiber blanket around the kiln to help with heat loss.

Elizabeth

To Insulate or Not to Insulate

Postby Elizabeth » Tue Jun 03, 2003 11:34 pm

Mr. Walker, :shock: Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I have your book Contemporary Warm Glass - in fact it was the text used in my SWOCC (Southwestern Oregon Community College) class on fusing. Teacher was Lucy Varoujean. It's chock full of wonderful information and I use it all the time, even now, for reference.

Fiber blanket. How and where do I get fiber blanket? Would I leave it off the controls? (I mean could they melt if I were to cover them with a blanket while annealing?)

Thank you,

Elizabeth[/code]

Brad Walker
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Postby Brad Walker » Tue Jun 03, 2003 11:45 pm

Most fiber blanket is good to about 2300 degrees F. It's available from any place that sells refractory materials, or from most glass or pottery suppliers. Check the yellow pages in your area -- there are lots of refractory suppliers in your area.

For the outside of a kiln, the temperature probably doesn't reach more than 200F at most, and certainly no where near 2300F.

You should be careful handling fiber blanket, it can be harmful if you inhale the fibers.

(And thanks for buying my book, glad you're enjoying it. Your purchase helped pay for this site.)

Jack Bowman
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Postby Jack Bowman » Wed Jun 04, 2003 12:55 pm

Not sure about the design of the Skutt Pinto but in most cases wrapping insulation around your kiln will cause the outside surfaces to get much hotter than they are designed for. My older kiln has a painted outside surface and I left a piece of blanket on the lid once and the paint on the lid began smoking. Also any controlls, wires, knobs that are inside the wrap may be destroyed. Your owners manual may address this issue. Mine does, and it says "do not".

Jack


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