After my recent trip to Alfred, seeing all those massive complex kilns, it is almost humbling to be back home working with my teeny little kiln. I love my kiln, it's an Aim88 and this is the second one I have purchased. I used the last one faithfully for about 10 years and it was time for a new one. Not bad, considering this is my main kiln and it only cost about $300. That's a pretty good investment, for hundreds of firings in 10 years!
But the thing about electric kilns is that with heavy use, the heating elements start to wear down and need to be changed. This is one of my least favorite things about my whole process/business. It might be second to taxes in undesirable tasks. But it was time to do it, and I am happy to say I did it myself on Sunday.
This small kiln is great because it only has one element. Most kilns have 2,3,4...it depends on the size of the kiln and its firing temperature. It's a good thing there is only one, because it is a true pain to change it. You buy the elements but I don't think they come the right size, so you have to stretch it. And I have to constantly put it in the kiln, take it out, stretch it, put it back in, take it out...the cycle continues. Meanwhile I end up chipping firebrick and hurting my hands, all the while swearing from the depths of the basement, as my dog hides from angry momma.
So I struggled with it, and finally got it set in, pinned, and rewired. And it worked! It is a pretty simple electrical machine, honestly, it is just a bit tricky if you are not used to thinking about such things. I test fired it and then did a real firing, and it worked perfectly! YAY me! I must say I was pretty proud of myself, and I felt like I really accomplished something. And in perfect time too, because the next few weeks will be full of almost daily firings to get ready for by biggest show of the year, Bead & Button. So it's back to work!