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Recommendations for burnout kilns


It looks like my ancient Kerr 666 kiln is dying, and it picked a
really terrible time to do it. It was giving me trouble a few weeks
back, not heating to the same temp twice in a row when set at the
same setting. I took it in to CR Hill for a check-up. They had it for
a week and could find nothing wrong with it, so they sent it home.

I’ve been casting twice every 24 hours for the past 8 days, working
on a large project for a customer. This afternoon I put the last 4
flasks of the project in to start a burnout. I set it to reach about
350F and left it for 3 hours. I went down later to turn it up to
about 800F, and left it for 3 more hours. I just went down to turn it
up to 1300F, and it’s still at about 400F, and the investment in the
flasks is still gray and dirty. I turned the temperature dial way up
and watched for half an hour, and it does not seem to be getting any
hotter. I left it at the setting that should take it to 1300F, and
I’ll let it sit there overnight, but I’m not expecting it to complete
the burnout. Miracles occasionally happen, but rarely in my

Of course this would happen on a Saturday night of a holiday
weekend, when I can do nothing about it until the following Tuesday.
So much for meeting this project’s deadline… Fortunately, none of
the waxes in those flasks were originals, they were all pulled from
molds. So nothing irreplaceable will be lost but time.

It looks like I’ll be buying a new kiln soon. I’ve only got 110 volt
power outlets in my workshop right now.

What I’d like are recommendations for good brands/models of burnout
kilns that can run on 110 volt power. My current kiln is only 6"x 6"
inside, and holds 4 flasks. Are there any reliable 110 kilns that are
bigger than this? What’s the best 110 volt kiln for this use, and who
has the best prices?

Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Pet Jewelry


not so fast…first try replacing the thermocoupler, then the
element…and though ancient call kerr…their tech team is a nice
gruop of folks and will probably offer some solutions…you may just
need some patching, or a new pyrometer and thermocoupler, or if you
can’t afford the pyrometer should one be necessary, try cones-
disposable temp. indicators…dick blick sells 'em, so do a host of
kiln, ceramic, pmc/art clay suppliers, etc…otherwise be sure to get
one that is full featured and has a warrranty of more than one year
on parts…as it takes a few months to “burn-in” the components…good
luck in fixing the thing…and more places than not will be opened
monday…people off work = more opportunity to sell retail…i think
its one of the biggest shopping days of the year!


If the lining of the kiln is still in good shape, I wouldn’t be in a
hurry to throw it out. Kilns are fairly simple: a brick box with
electrical elements and a switch. Most of the expense is the box; the
electrical parts can be replaced inexpensively. Inspect the elements
carefully; is there a place where one is broken? Burn-out is hard on
them, particularly if you get a reducing atmosphere happening in the
kiln from an excess of wax fumes. If there’s no break in the
elements, replace the switch first. Kiln switches are delicate
mechanisms which can fail intermittantly. If that doesn’t solve your
problem, replace the elements - sometimes they can be broken without
showing it. Neither the switch nor the elements are nearly as
expensive as a kiln. If you’ve replaced both of these components
without solving the problem, then the cord and plug is the only
electrical part left. Once you’ve replaced all that, if it still
doesn’t work right, try plugging it in someplace else. It’s possible
to overheat your receptacle with a kiln that’s failing - if that
turns out to be the issue, then get an electrician to help you trace
it down and fix it.

Andrew Werby