Kiln Problems

There are times when you might experience some kiln problems.

These are not glass problems, but dilemmas inside the kiln, such as; glass on the kiln floor, glass on the heating elements , glass on kiln shelf, or even a fire in the kiln.

You might feel despair if and when kiln problems occur inside the kiln, but don't fret, because most of these items can be fixed quite simply.

When heating an unpredictable substance, such as glass, there are eventually going to be circumstances where you will need to repair or replace parts.

There are bound to be times when this material gets away from you, and you are unsure on how to resolve the situation.

Take all safety precautions when attempting any of these kiln problems solutions.

Wear protective glasses, outer wear and a respirator if necessary.

These are just a few suggestions for making repairs inside the kiln.

When in doubt, check with the manufacturer of the kiln for detailed repair information.

Glass on the Kiln Floor

Always be sure that the floor of your kiln is covered with kiln wash.

This should be a very thick coating to protect the bricks.

If glass has gotten on the kiln floor, it needs to be removed.

If left on the floor, it will continue to eat into the bricks.

If it is only one brick, it could be replaced.

Purchase a brick of the same size and density.

Check with the kiln supplier for simple instructions on removing the old brick and friction fitting the new one with brick repair cement.

An alternative to this would be to dig out the glass and fill the area with firebrick powder and brick repair cement, or if the area is small enough, just fill the gap with kiln repair cement.

Firebrick powder is also called Kaolin Grog.

Make sure the area is level.

This would require that you always use a shelf on the floor to protect the brick.

Or make a filler putty from crushed up soft brick and thinned-down Sairset.

Simply trowel this mixture into the void.

Sairset does shrink a little when it dries so you may need to go back after the first firing and fill in the cracks.

Don't get any Sairset on the firing coils.

Fixing Cracks in Kiln Bricks

Sairset can also be used to fix cracks in the kiln bricks.

Don’t worry about all the various cracks inside the kiln.

A kiln will not stay spotless looking for very long.

Firebricks undergo tremendous stress as they expand and contract with each individual firing.

Before long you will see cracks in the walls and floor of the kiln.

This is normal and nothing to worry about, because the cracks do not affect the firing results.

The only cracks that will affect the glass are cracks in the lid or roof, because these can drop dust into the firing chamber.

Glass on the Heating Elements

Glass can sometimes get stuck on the heating elements inside the kiln.

This can be caused from a mold breaking or over heating a project.

Once cooled, it looks like the glass is permanently stuck on the elements, and can’t be removed.

Thermal shock is the best way to free up glass on the elements.

The easiest way to accomplish this is to heat up the kiln and open the lid.

The glass will not have a chance to anneal and will break away from the elements.

Brush off the cracked pieces.

Some pieces might still remain, but they will slowly disappear during further firings.

On a cold unplugged kiln, zap the glass with a flame from a Mapp torch.

Drop a little water on the heated glass.

Be sure to step back away from the kiln.

If the glass should shatter, you don’t want to be close enough to get cut.

Glass on the Kiln Shelf

One of the common kiln problems is glass on the kiln shelf.

If it is a small area, remove the glass.

Remove all of the kiln wash by sanding the shelf.

Sand the area thoroughly and even out the area.

Add more kiln wash to the shelf.

There might still be an area that doesn’t look like it is accepting the wash.

This is referred to as a hot spot.

Sometimes it may be picking up the wash even though it may not look like it is sticking.

Try dabbing a good bit of wash on the area.

After it dries, run your finger over the area and see if any wash is on your finger.

If the area is large, you will probably need to replace the shelf, especially if it is not accepting the kiln wash.

The area will probably show up as a texture on the bottom of your fusing pieces.

Fire inside the Kiln

A fire inside the kiln is a serious and dangerous kiln problem.

Not only does it make you a nervous wreck, but it can also make you feel like you have ruined this expensive piece of equipment.

If this kiln problem should happen to you, contact the manufacturer of the kiln to find out what you should do.

A few cardboard boxes fell from a shelf in my studio and into my hot kiln.

After contacting Jen Ken, the manufacturer of my kiln, after answering all of their questions on what happened, they suggested the following:

  • Allow the kiln to cool off completely.
  • Remove everything from the inside of the kiln.
  • Vacuum the kiln thoroughly.
  • Heat up the kiln to between 1300 degrees Fahrenheit and 1400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Hold the kiln at this temperature for about 30 minutes.
  • Allow the kiln to cool off to room temperature.
  • My kiln is now clean and pristine white inside.

    It is important that you contact the manufacturer on this procedure, because different directions might apply to your kiln, and the circumstance for your individual kiln might differ from my experience.

    This page covers some of the kiln problems you might experience in your adventure of glass fusing.

    If you are experiencing problems with the kiln elements coming loose, please check the page on Fixing Kiln Coils.

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