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Another Kiln Repair Q

Posted: Fri Apr 04, 2003 8:08 pm
by Barbara Cashman
I have an element that has crept out of its channel in the side of my 'round' Paragon. The wire is particularly stiff and thick and I have not been able to stretch or pinch it, even while warm, to get it back in the channel. It's just hanging out there. I have heard of a special plier that is used for chain or elements. Is this what I need? Or do you guys have a better idea for me? I just can't budge the shape of the thing to get it back in the channel. Help :!: - Barbara

Re: Another Kiln Repair Q

Posted: Fri Apr 04, 2003 9:45 pm
by Ron Coleman
Barbara Cashman wrote:I have an element that has crept out of its channel in the side of my 'round' Paragon. The wire is particularly stiff and thick and I have not been able to stretch or pinch it, even while warm, to get it back in the channel. It's just hanging out there. I have heard of a special plier that is used for chain or elements. Is this what I need? Or do you guys have a better idea for me? I just can't budge the shape of the thing to get it back in the channel. Help :!: - Barbara


If you need to squeeze the loops together, try heating the elements with a propane torch to get them RED HOT and then try a pair of smooth jaw pliers and squeeze each loop to shorten the element.

If you need to stretch an element, heat the wire and use a pair of reverse acting snap-ring pliers to spread the loops. The reverse acting snap-ring pliers open as you squeeze the handles. They should be available at Lowes and Home Depot. They don't have reqular jaws like normal pliers, more like pins, straight or bent at an angle. May also be called outside snap-ring pliers.

The pliers you might be thinking about are called "chain nose" pliers. Jewelers use them for bending chain links without scratching the wire.

Ron

Re: Another Kiln Repair Q

Posted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 8:48 am
by Phil Hoppes
Barbara Cashman wrote:I have an element that has crept out of its channel in the side of my 'round' Paragon. The wire is particularly stiff and thick and I have not been able to stretch or pinch it, even while warm, to get it back in the channel. It's just hanging out there. I have heard of a special plier that is used for chain or elements. Is this what I need? Or do you guys have a better idea for me? I just can't budge the shape of the thing to get it back in the channel. Help :!: - Barbara


Barbara,

Do you know you really need to do something about it, ie. is it affecting your firing or are you just concerned from a safety standpoint? If it is not changing how your kiln fires, I'd just leave it alone. Fired elements are brittle and can break very easily. Ron mentions using smooth pliers which is correct, as just the smallest nick on the surface will act as a score on glass, creating a place where the element will break. Seriously, if it is not a concern for safety or it is not changing how your kiln fires, I'd leave it alone. Since your problem is a side element and not a top one the problem of sag is less.

Phil

Posted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 6:36 pm
by Barbara Cashman
The element is falling more and more, so that it is now underneath my kiln shelf, or I rest the element on the shelf. I really want to get it back home. This is a pic of what I'm talking about. Help, please! :!:

http://www.pbase.com/bjcashman/kiln_element

Posted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 8:32 pm
by Ron Coleman
Barbara Cashman wrote:The element is falling more and more, so that it is now underneath my kiln shelf, or I rest the element on the shelf. I really want to get it back home. This is a pic of what I'm talking about. Help, please! :!:

http://www.pbase.com/bjcashman/kiln_element


Looks from the picture that the element needs a little stretching and then a few pins to hold it in place. If it is long enough without stretching just pin it in place with some extra element wire.

Ron

Posted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 9:06 pm
by Barbara Cashman
Ron, this is my problem. I can't budge the thing. The coil is so thick it won't stretch---which it needs to do to get back into ints channel. It was suggested to heat it up with a torch. won't that put an inordinate amount of stress on one part of the element? Also, I have no idea why or how it got loose from the channel in the first place. I don't want that to happen to the rest of the elements. - Barbara

Posted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 9:20 pm
by Phil Hoppes
Barbara Cashman wrote:The element is falling more and more, so that it is now underneath my kiln shelf, or I rest the element on the shelf. I really want to get it back home. This is a pic of what I'm talking about. Help, please! :!:

http://www.pbase.com/bjcashman/kiln_element


OUCH!! Now I see what you mean. Looks like a two person job at a minimum. One person to hold the torch and the other to slowly work the element back into the grove. If you start at one end of the droop you can heat and shove so to speak the element back in. From the perspective of "you can't make it much worse" it is probably worth a try. If it breaks you will need to replace it, but if you do nothing you will probably have to replace it so you don't have much to lose by trying. Like Ron mentioned, you do want to use smooth pliers if you have them.

Phil

Posted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 9:45 pm
by DonMcClennen
I've had 3 that have looked like that for over a year. They have not had any effect on my firings or my results. I have fused, slumped and even done 15 layer fuses over 3 days with no adverse outcomes. I suggest you leave it alone and not risk breaking it.

Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2003 9:15 am
by Darrin Strosnider
Wow, Barbara! That's really hanging out of there... As Ron suggested, you really have nothing to loose at this point by trying to heat it and get it back in place. One word of caution- Be very careful about "torquing" the channel lip on the firebrick. That stuff is really soft and porous. As a result, it breaks very easily and then the element may want to creep out more.

Just curious- was it all of a sudden hanging out like that or was it hanging just a little and then gradually got worse?

-Darrin

Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2003 5:30 pm
by Barbara Cashman
Hi Darren. Thanks for replying. It's a mess, getting messier. It's been creeping out like that for a few weeks. You would think it was stretched enough to move it back into the channel, but more wire keeps coming out instead. Since it is a channel, there are no pins holding it in, that I can tell. And the coil is a much heavier guage than I thought, so it really has not budged. The suggestions have been great. I had not considered smooth jaw pliers. Unless anyone has anything more to add, my hubby & I will see what we can do as a team. Will let y'all know what happens. - Barbara

Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2003 7:08 pm
by Kevin Midgley
Barbara, having stretched a fair number of kiln elements if you overstretch them, it is really hard to get them to "compress" evenly. Be sure to not just crimp one side of the coil because the elements will move later upon firing and possibly short themselves along the coils of the element. Good luck. The worst that can happen is you have to replace the element. Bent nose needle nose pliers might help. Kevin

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2003 9:47 am
by Darrin Strosnider
Since it is a channel, there are no pins holding it in, that I can tell.


I found this interesting, so I decided to look at mine. I have both a Paragon and a Skutt kiln and both of them have all the elements pinned in- even the ones in the channels. Hmmmm... I wonder if this could be the reason for the "creeping"? :idea:

My Paragon is a Fusion 10- built less than a year ago. Can you tell if any of the other elements are pinned anywhere else? Perhaps that part of the element was missed at the factory? I know this isn't helping your immediate problem but maybe it can prevent future issues once resolved.

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2003 5:51 pm
by Barbara Cashman
My Paragon is a TFN-27, something like that. I checked the channels and found no pins anywhere. I was able, today, to stretch that element by hand and set it back in the groove, but it still wasn't seated properly and will probably escape again. The other elements seemed ok, but also no pins that I could see. It was just bizarre that the one element decided it wanted to be somewhere else. Thanks all, for your help! - Barbara

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2003 8:05 pm
by Brad Walker
The elements probably weren't pinned in by the factory. That's fairly normal for side elements.

Just get some element pins from any ceramic supply place (I get mine in Charlotte, but there's likely someone in Greensboro). Or get some nichrome wire and make the pins yourself.

Posted: Thu Apr 10, 2003 12:17 am
by Paul Tarlow
While we are on the topic of kiln repair, where are peoples favorite places to get:

1) wound elements

2) fiber board

3) quartz tubing

4) stainless steel buttons to wire the tubes to.

I'm hoping for an element vendor who can help me size them -- I've never done this before :)

Lastly, where I've seen tubed elements wired to a lid I seem to remember that the elements are outside the tubes where they corner from row to row. Do those sections of elements eventually sag?

Thanks,
Paul

Posted: Thu Apr 10, 2003 12:48 am
by Brad Walker
Get elements from Duralite, Joppa Glass (Dudley Giberson), or Euclid. All three have web sites (on my Resource page), and all three will help you with sizing.

Duralite sells quartz tubes, Dudley sells high temp porcelain rods that do the same kind of thing. The both sell buttons of one type or another.

Fiber board or blanket from Unifrax or Thermal Ceramics (or your local refractory place), both of which have eponymous websites. One cheap source for Chinese made blanket is uu77.com (other cheap glass stuff, too).

Yes, there's a small amount of sagging where the elements are outside the tubes. This is not a real problem, and it's even less of one with custom made elements that make those parts of the elements straight instead of wound.