Hi all, love this forum, it’s nice to know there are others out
there like me. Working alone most of the time makes one feel
isolated, especially in the middle of Montana.When I need a break I
grab a cup of tea and read the postings.

8 days to go and I have a major problem! 20 plus years and this is
the first time this happened. I carelessly didn’t check the condition
of the crucible and now have a couple ounces of sterling in the
bottom of my Kerr 30 oz. electro-melt. So then at 10:30 last night I
am frantically trying to attach the “assistant” (that I had never
used before.) to the vacuum caster.

I looked back at the archives and found a post with a similar
problem with their electro-melt and a reply from a company that said
they repair them, but they no longer exist (MPG repair in Livingston,
MT.?) Is this some thing I can fix myself? If not, does anyone know
of a repair shop?. The element works fine still.

Note to all the beginning metalsmiths out there! Get in the habit of
checking for wear and tear on all your equipment and tools. I guess
its a holdover from the lean years that I use everything I buy longer
than it’s intended lifespan. I have cupping burs that are so worn I
can use them for beading tools. Sorting through the burs/files/ buffs
etc. looking for a good one costs me more in time than throwing out
the old stuff and buying new!

Am I the only one who does this?


Hello Kate,

Are you the only one who hangs onto old burs and bits of things??? I
think not. There have been so many great ideas and tips for
remodeling such things that I too, rarely throw anything out… not
even broken saw blades. And yes, just the other day I was glad to
have access to one to help ream out the hole in a pearl. That was a
new use and a couple light drags through the hole enlarged it the
perfect amount for my needs!

Go Orchidians and the best of Christmas, Hannukka, etc. to all.

Judy in Kansas where we have the most lovely 8 or 9 inches of powdery
snow. Like diamonds in the sunlight… of course that means it’ll
melt soon and be muddy.

I have had the same thing happen. You can repair it yourself. It all
unscrews from the bottom, the wiring is all conected with “tabs” so
it goes pretty easy. Just watch the bar that tells it when the door
is open. It was a bit of a pain to hook back up, espexcially since
there was no need to unhook it in the first place. Worse case, send
it to frie and borel in oakland ca, they have a repair guy Warren,
nice guy, does a wonderful job, but he does get a bit backed up some


Hello Kate;

Sorry to hear about your electro-meltdown. You didn’t say exactly
where the silver ended up, so I’ll assume it’s frozen in the bottom
of the muffle. The muffle is the refractory lining inside the steel
jacket of the unit. It contains the heating element, which is buried
just beneath the surface of the interior diameter. The muffle can be
replaced. Check with Frei and Borel or Gesswein, they may carry them.
I’ve replaced them, it’s no big deal, just keep track of where
everything goes when you take it apart so you’ll get it back
together. The thermocouple is suspect, take a careful look at it when
you get it out. It’s the part that sticks up from the bottom of the
inside of the muffle. I’ve even replaced the refractory lining inside
the lid, and also the electronics. If this seems over you head, ask
one of the jewelry suppliers I mentioned here if they know of a
repair service. I know Rio Grande used to have a repair department,
but my experience with them was, well, less than suitable. Best of

David L. Huffman

Hi Kate,

I repair furnaces when needed. Most of the furnaces I’m responsible
for are about 7.5kW. The muffle will likely have to be replaced along
with the thermocouple (described as being on the bottom).
Thermocouple wires are color coded to identify its type and the
polarity. Here are some links for reading up on thermocouples. Type K
is the most commonly used for this application. Type R and S have
longer operating life but at a much higher cost (Platinum/Rhodium).
They are not interchangeable. The most versatile meters have the
ability to accept all (or most) thermocouple types through program

Thermocouple chart


Good luck!

Jeff Simkins
Cincinnati, OH

p.s. The muffle is very brittle material, so use caution when
handling. If the melted metal was on one side of the cylinder, you
could dig it out losing only a small amount of the sidewall. If it’s
on the bottom of a cup, any such attempts could break the muffle.