• Nidec-Shimpo America Corporation ~ Itasca, IL 60143 USA ~ ph 800.237.7079 fx 630.924.0340


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    • Abstract: KILNSNidec-Shimpo America Corporation ~ Itasca, IL 60143 USA ~ ph 800.237.7079 fx 630.924.0340www.shimpoceramics.com ~ info@shimpoceramics.com-1- Table of ContentsIntroduction ...........................................................................................................................................2

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KILNS
Nidec-Shimpo America Corporation ~ Itasca, IL 60143 USA ~ ph 800.237.7079 fx 630.924.0340
www.shimpoceramics.com ~ [email protected]
-1-
Table of Contents
Introduction ...........................................................................................................................................2
Kiln Set-Up .............................................................................................................................................3
Checking the Kiln for Damage upon Delivery...................................................................................................... 3
Selecting the Best Kiln Location .......................................................................................................................... 3
Unpacking the Kiln ............................................................................................................................................... 3
Electrical Requirements....................................................................................................................................... 4
Prepare Kiln for Test Firing.................................................................................................................................. 4
Important Safety Precautions ..............................................................................................................5
Test Firings ............................................................................................................................................6
Automatic Kilns .................................................................................................................................................... 6
Manual Kilns ........................................................................................................................................................ 7
Kiln Operation........................................................................................................................................9
Pyrometric Cones ................................................................................................................................................ 9
Loading the Kiln ................................................................................................................................................... 9
Cooling & Unloading .......................................................................................................................................... 10
General Firing Schedules ...................................................................................................................11
Bisque Firing ...................................................................................................................................................... 11
Glaze Firing........................................................................................................................................................ 11
Lustre & Overglaze Firings ................................................................................................................................ 12
Firing with an Automatic Controller.................................................................................................................... 12
Glass Slumping.................................................................................................................................................. 12
Preventive Kiln Maintenance..............................................................................................................13
Troubleshooting .............................................................................................................................14-15
Appendix A: Kiln Disassembly ..........................................................................................................16
Appendix B: Installation of Hinge Supports .....................................................................................17
Appendix C: Installation of Counter Balance System......................................................................17
Appendix D: Element Replacement ...................................................................................................18
Appendix E: Thermocouple Replacement ........................................................................................19
Appendix F: Switch and Relay Replacement....................................................................................20
Warranty...............................................................................................................................................21
Maintenance Notes..............................................................................................................................22
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CONGRATULATIONS
on your recent selection of a
state-of-the-art (ConeArt®) kiln.
Offering excellence in unparalleled design and craftsmanship,
(ConeArt®) kilns are built with the highest quality materials
and attention to detail, resulting in the best line of electric kilns on the
market.
Read all provided instruction manuals carefully and thoroughly before
initial set-up and operation; the information contained herein will aid
you in operating your (ConeArt®) kiln safely and with
excellent results. Instruction manuals have been provided for all
optional kiln instrumentation such as the Dawson Kiln Sitter®, Bartlett
V6-CF™ automatic controllers, etc.
If you have any questions regarding the operation of your kiln, contact
your local authorized dealer for assistance.
We trust you will enjoy many years of professional results from your
(ConeArt®) kiln.
-3-
Kiln Set-Up
Check Kiln for Damage Upon Delivery
Every (ConeArt®) kiln is inspected at the warehouse prior to shipment and carefully packed to
prevent damage in transit. We do recommend, however, checking for damage that may have occurred in transit.
When unpacking the kiln; if damage is discovered, follow these steps:
1. Save all packaging.
2. Call your freight carrier and ask for an inspection.
3. Notify the dealer who sold you the kiln that you have found damage and have called the freight carrier for an
inspection.
4. DO NOT disassemble or fire the kiln until the damage claim is inspected and resolved.
Selecting the Best Kiln Location
It is essential to select a safe, clean and convenient location for your kiln in order to ensure long kiln life and
avoid a potential fire. Regulations about kiln placement vary; we strongly recommend consulting your local
government's ordinances/codes to ensure safe and proper kiln location. The following are general safety and
convenience guidelines to consider:
1. Place your kiln in a location that is close to your clay working area, yet out of the way of heavy foot traffic.
2. Ensure that the kiln is placed in a well-ventilated area.
CAUTION: DO NOT PLACE KILN IN A CLOSET OR CABINET; it can overheat and potentially start a fire. Any
room such as a garage, shed, carport, basement, utility, or hobby room is safe if it has SUFFICIENT
CIRCULATING AIR; even so, we highly recommend installing an Orton Vent Master® to safely exhaust
potentially harmful fumes.
3. Set the kiln on a level and stable surface; if the floor is not concrete, it is essential that the kiln be placed on
a non-flammable surface such as fire brick or cement block.
4. DO NOT EXPOSE YOUR KILN TO THE WEATHER CONDITIONS; safe kiln operation requires your kiln to
stay dry and clean in a sheltered, yet well ventilated location.
5. Locate kiln as close as possible to an existing (or anticipated) electrical outlet.
6. Position the kiln to the left of the outlet in order to avoid strain on the kiln's electrical cord or the electrical
connection.
7. Place your kiln at least 12" away from any flammable materials, including walls, drapery, paper, plastic,
cloth, etc. (California requires at least 18"; consult local ordinances/codes for specific distances for your
area).
Unpack the Kiln
NOTE: If you must disassemble the kiln to fit through a narrow doorway, follow the kiln disassembly instructions
contained in this manual (refer to Appendix A).
1. Carefully cut and remove the metal strapping that attaches the stand to the top of the kiln.
2. Lift kiln stand out of the box and set in the location designated for the kiln (refer to "Selecting the Best Kiln
Location" section of this manual).
3. Confirm that the stand is level and does not teeter, as an uneven stand is a safety hazard and may put
stress on the kiln during firing; if stand is not level, place firm shims under the kiln stand legs until stand is
level.
4. With a partner, lift the kiln (using the exterior kiln handles when present) and place it securely and evenly on
the kiln stand. Larger kilns may best be moved in sections.
5. Confirm that the kiln and kiln stand are both level and do not teeter.
-4-
Ensure that Kiln's Electrical Requirements Match Building's Electrical Service
1. It is essential that your kiln's electrical requirements are compatible to your building's electrical service;
factors to consider include voltage, amperage and phase. For example, if the kiln will be placed in a building
that is wired for 240V, you will want a kiln that is wired for 240V. If the kiln will be placed in a building that
has 208V you will want to purchase a kiln wired for 208V
CAUTION: If you are in doubt about the compatibility of the kiln you purchased and your building's electrical
service, we strongly recommend consulting an electrician, as an incompatible installment will not allow the kiln to
operate properly.
2. With the exception of our 120V models (119D and 1801S), the Canadian Standards Association (C.S.A.)
does not allow us to attach a plug to the kiln's electrical cord. Because there are a variety of configurations of
electrical plugs and corresponding receptacles, it is best to have an electrician determine the connection that
best suits the requirements of the kiln and your building's power supply. Additionally, we encourage your
electrician to directly wire the kiln into the breaker box (rather than plugging it into an outlet) as this option
allows for the safest and most efficient kiln operation.
3. We advise hiring a qualified electrician to install your kiln, as potentially dangerous voltage is involved. The
information the electrician will require, such as volts, amps, watts and phase is noted on the nameplate of
the kiln.
4. If the kiln you recently purchased is replacing an old kiln, confirm that the existing wire size is correct for the
new kiln.
Prepare Kiln for Test Firing
1. Confirm that the kiln is disconnected from the power supply (by either unplugging from receptacle or
disconnecting at breaker box).
2. Position the power cord so that it does not touch the side of the kiln.
3. Check that the lid brace is connected securely to the kiln and kiln lid; for models 4227 and 4236 refer to
Appendix B for instructions to install hinge supports.
4. If your kiln has multiple sections, inspect the latches (that lock sections together) to confirm that they have
been securely fastened.
5. If you ordered your kiln with a Dawson Kiln Sitter®, remove the firing gauge and confirm proper calibration of
the sitter (refer to the Dawson Kiln Sitter® manual).
6. Carefully vacuum any bits of brick, dust or debris that may have lodged in the kiln's elements during
shipping.
7. Confirm that all heating elements are set into their grooves.
8. Wipe all new shelves clean, and apply kiln wash ONLY to the TOP of your kiln shelves; NEVER APPLY
KILN WASH TO THE LID OR WALLS. Kiln wash protects your shelves against glaze drips. If you are not
familiar with kiln wash, consult your local ceramic supplier for detailed instructions for the initial and future re-
applications of kiln wash.
9. Load your kiln furniture: if your kiln has floor heating elements, place the bottom shelf on 1" posts; on models
without floor elements, the bottom shelf may be placed directly on the kiln floor (to prevent damage to the
kiln floor in case of accidents). Continue stacking kiln shelves, using THREE posts per shelf (three is more
stable than four); to ensure that weight is transferred to the kiln floor instead of the shelf below, stack posts
directly above each other as each shelf is installed.
10. For every firing, we recommend placing three witness cones approximately 3" behind each peephole and on
every kiln shelf. Witness cones indicate if the kiln is firing evenly from top to bottom and front to back and
also confirm the proper functioning of kiln instrumentation such as the automatic controller, pyrometer and
kiln sitter. For additional information, refer to the "Pyrometric Cones" section of this manual and read the
Edward Orton Jr. Ceramic Foundation's brochure "Cones and Firing: a Practical Guide to Successful Firing"
(http://www.ortonceramic.com/Resources/cones_firing.pdf).
11. Fumes are a natural part of any kiln firing; therefore, for your health and safety we strongly recommend that
you install an Orton KiInVent to exhaust fumes, even in a well-ventilated area; consult the Orton Vent
Master® “frequently asked questions” page on their website (http://www.ortonceramic.com/faq.asp) for
operating instructions and firing tips.
12. Connect kiln to power supply.
13. Read all safety precautions in the next section before proceeding to test fire your kiln.
-5-
Important Safety Precautions
CAUTION: Your kiln is a device that produces extreme heat. To prevent personal injury and/or potential fire
hazards, read and follow these safety tips prior to initial kiln operation and EVERY subsequent kiln firing.
1. Read all provided instruction manuals carefully and thoroughly before initial operation of your kiln as these
manuals contain very important information. Instruction manuals have been provided for all kiln
instrumentation such as the Dawson Kiln Sitter® and Bartlett V6-CF™automatic controller.
2. Before servicing your kiln, always disconnect it from the power supply.
3. Do not touch exposed electrical contacts while connected to a power source.
4. Do not stand in moisture while operating kiln and/or working with electronic devices.
5. Never use an extension cord with your kiln.
6. Keep all types of flammable materials (plastic, drapes, aprons, etc.) away from the kiln.
7. Do not expose your kiln to the weather conditions; safe kiln operation requires your kiln to stay dry and
clean.
8. NEVER FIRE THE KILN UNATTENDED.
9. Do not attempt to exceed the temperature rating listed on the nameplate of the kiln.
10. Observe caution when firing your kiln as the kiln surface will become very hot; keep children away from kiln
and alert others when firing.
11. Never open the kiln unless you know it is cool.
12. Never fire the kiln without witness cones, as they virtually eliminate the risk of over-firing. Witness cones
should ALWAYS be used even if your kiln is equipped with an automatic controller or kiln sitter, as
pyrometers are never as accurate as cones.
CAUTION: If you solely rely on the kiln sitter or controller to gauge the firing status, you risk over-firing your kiln,
which may cause extensive kiln damage and/or loss of ware.
Test Firing
You are now ready to proceed with a test firing; it is imperative that you complete this properly BEFORE
proceeding to production firing. Prior to the test firing, check electrical connections and read all provided
instruction manuals carefully and thoroughly as they contain vital information on safe kiln operation.
New kiln elements give off vapors that can discolor glazes; therefore, the test firing is performed with an empty
kiln, but with posts and shelves to hold witness cones. We recommend using witness cones for every firing to
confirm the proper functioning of kiln instrumentation such as the automatic controller, kiln sitter and
thermocouples.
NOTE: Do not be alarmed if there is excessive smoke created during test firing; this is normal, due to lubrication
burning off the elements and starches burning out of the insulation. A clicking sound is also normal while your
kiln is firing: the elements are switching "on" and "off" in order to reach the desired temperature gradually and
evenly.
SHOULD YOUR KILN OVER-FIRE: Once the kiln has cooled, confirm that your firing gauge is properly
calibrated (if your kiln has a sitter and timer), save your witness cones, and note any set up and firing procedures
that will help a technician locate and solve your problem before you proceed with another firing.
Initial Test Firing
The initial test firing helps set the elements in place and allows a coating of aluminum oxide to form on the
elements, protecting them from corrosive materials released from clay and glazes, such as sulfur and steam.
Prior to firing remember to check that the elements are in their grooves. Typically the elements will release
smoke the first time they are fired. This firing will confirm that the kiln's automatic controller and/or kiln sitter and
infinite switches are functioning properly and will therefore automatically turn off the kiln when the desired cone
is achieved. Place witness cone packs (cones 5, 6 and 7 in each pack) on each shelf to help establish the
accuracy of your firing gauges.
-6-
This test fire is done to cone 6, and is especially important for those who typically fire only in the low range, as it
takes a HIGH TEMPERATURE to properly set new elements.
NOTE: If you have a manual (MX) model kiln your test firing will vary from the instructions above. Follow the
instructions given under Manual Kilns on the next page.
(BX Models) Automatic kilns
1. Program your controller to do a cone 6 firing (refer to page 6 of your Bartlett controller operation manual).
2. Press “1” to clear “ERR” if flashing to receive a flashing “IDLE” message.
3. On the “CONE FIRE PAD” press “SLOW GLAZE”, then “ENTER”
4. “CONE …” will be displayed; press “6” to choose cone 6, then press “ENTER”.
5. “HLD..00.00” will be displayed, press “ENTER”
6. “CPL” will be displayed. The panel will return to displaying “IDLE” and the temperature.
7. Press ”START/STOP” to start firing.
8. If you have a vent system installed, turn it on. Follow the vent manufacturer's operation instructions. If your
kiln is not equipped with a vent system, for the test fire only, leave all peepholes open (to allow gases to
escape).
Earlier Automatic Models
Orton AutoFire™ Controllers only, with Switches and/or Kiln Sitter
1. Follow the “Cone Fire” instructions on page 7 of the Orton User’s Guide to do a cone 6 test fire.
2. If your kiln is also equipped with a Dawson Kiln Sitter®, place a small (junior) cone or bar at least two cones
hotter than the selected test fire temperature, in the kiln sitter PRIOR to starting the automatic controller.
3. Confirm that three witness cones are placed approximately 3" behind each peephole and on every kiln shelf.
4. Set all switches on "high" for the entire firing.
NOTE: the use of switches in conjunction with an automatic controller is to increase the evenness of firing
throughout the kiln; by using witness cones you will be able to detect any hot or cold spots in your kiln and adjust
the switch controlling that section accordingly.
5. If you have installed a vent system, start the vent now (follow vent manufacturer's operation instructions). If
your kiln is not equipped with a vent system, leave all peepholes open to allow gases to escape.
6. READ YOUR CONTROLLER MANUAL THOROUGHLY BEFORE FIRING; follow the controller's firing
instructions for your first test firing, as the cone for the first firing varies amongst individual controller
manufacturers and with the type of controller. As an example, the following is a quick summary for
programming your ORTON™ automatic controller for a cone 6 firing:
7. Press the "ENTER" button on controller; "IDLE" should appear on the display
8. Press the "CONE FIRE" button; a cone number will be displayed
9. Press the "UP ARROW" until cone 6 appears on the display*
10. Press the "ENTER" button to set the firing at 6
11. Press the "START/STOP" button to begin the firing; it should take approximately 6-8 hours** to complete this
initial firing.
12. If you have switches with your automatic controller, set them all on "high" for the entire firing (unless you
need to adjust them to fire evenly).
13. Check witness cones regularly: if functioning properly, the kiln will automatically shut off when the
programmed cone is reached (cone 6 as in the example above). If upon inspection you note that the guide
cone and firing cone have bent, manually turn the kiln "OFF" by turning switches to "off".
CAUTION: IF THE KILN SITTER AND AUTOMATIC CONTROLLER ARE NOT FUNCTIONING PROPERLY,
DO NOT CONTINUE WITH OTHER FIRINGS; CALL YOUR LOCAL AUTHORIZED DEALER.
*NOTE: The cone number that the Orton manual refers to (in the section for pre-programmed firings) is equal to
the Orton junior cone.
**NOTE: Exact firing times vary due to kiln size and voltage; we therefore suggest frequently checking the
witness cones to gauge the firing time for your kiln.
-7-
(MX Models) Manual Kilns with Dawson Kiln Sitter® and Timer, with infinite switches
Your Dawson Kiln Sitter® instruction package contains two 019 test cones. Perform two test firings; the first to
cone 019 to test the Dawson Kiln Sitter®, and the second to cone 6, a high temperature test firing. Typically the
elements and insulation material will release smoke the first time they are fired.
CAUTION: Never fire the kiln unattended.
First Test Firing - cone 019
1. Place three witness cones approximately 3” behind each peephole on every kiln shelf.
2. Place a junior cone 019 in the sitter; prior to cone insertion, make sure the sitter is properly calibrated with
the firing gauge and the gauge is then removed (see Dawson Kiln Sitter manual for details).
3. Set the timer for 3 hours*.
4. Set all switches on "high" for the entire firing.
5. Push in the kiln sitter's plunger to start the firing.
6. If you have installed a vent system, start the vent now (follow vent manufacturer's operation instructions); if
your kiln is not equipped with a vent system, leave all peepholes open (to allow gases to escape).
7. If functioning properly, the kiln sitter will automatically shut off the kiln when it reaches cone 019. Should you
fire past cone 018, manually turn the kiln "OFF" by turning switches to "off" and timer to "0".
8. If the kiln is functioning correctly, then proceed to second test firing.
CAUTION: IF THE KILN SITTER IS NOT FUNCTIONING PROPERLY, DO NOT PROCEED TO THE SECOND
TEST FIRING; CALL YOUR LOCAL AUTHORIZED DEALER.
CAUTION: NEVER FIRE THE KILN UNATTENDED. PARTICULARLY FOR THE TEST FIRE MONITOR THE
KILN DURING THE ENTIRE DURATION OF THE FIRING. YOU WILL GAIN FAMILIARITY WITH YOUR KILN
AND ALSO PREVENT ANY MALFUNCTIONS SHOULD SUCH SITUATIONS BE PRESENT
*NOTE: Exact firing times vary due to kiln size and voltage; we therefore suggest frequently checking the
witness cones to gauge the firing time for your kiln.
Second Test Firing (MX Models) – cone 6
The second test firing allows a coating of aluminum oxide to form on the elements, protecting them from
corrosive materials released from clay and glazes, such as sulfur and steam. This firing will also help set the
elements in place. Prior to firing remember to check that the elements are in their grooves. This firing is
especially important for those who typically fire only in the low range, as it takes a high temperature to properly
set new elements.
Place witness cone packs (cones 5, 6 and 7 in each pack) on each shelf to help establish the accuracy of your
firing gauges. Once again, this firing may also create smoke; after this firing you should not see smoke again
unless foreign materials enter the clay or kiln.
CAUTION: Never fire the kiln unattended
Manual Kilns with Dawson Kiln Sitter® and Timer
1. Confirm that three witness cones are placed approximately 3" behind each peephole and on every kiln shelf.
2. Place a junior cone 6 in the sitter; prior to cone insertion, make sure the sitter is properly calibrated with the
firing gauge and the gauge is then removed (see Dawson Kiln Sitter® manual for details).
3. Set the timer for 6 hours*.
4. Set all switches on "high" for the entire firing.
5. Push in the kiln sitter's plunger to start the firing.
6. If you have installed a vent system, start the vent now (follow vent manufacturer's operation instructions); if
your kiln is not equipped with a vent system, leave all peepholes open (to allow gases to escape).
7. Check witness cones regularly: if functioning properly, the kiln sitter will automatically shut off the kiln when it
reaches cone 6. Should you fire past cone 7, manually turn the kiln "OFF" by turning switches to "off" and
timer to "0".
8. If the kiln is functioning correctly you may proceed with production firing.
CAUTION: IF THE KILN IS NOT FUNCTIONING PROPERLY, DO NOT PROCEED WITH PRODUCTION
FIRING; CALL YOUR LOCAL AUTHORIZED DEALER.
-8-
*NOTE: Exact firing times vary due to kiln size and voltage; we therefore suggest frequently checking the
witness cones to gauge the firing time for your kiln.
Kiln Operation
Once the test firings have been performed satisfactorily, you are ready to fire ware. Central to the firing process
is the use of pyrometric cones; therefore, we suggest reading the section on pyrometric cones before firing ware
to ensure accurate firing results.
Always Use Pyrometric Cones
Pyrometric cones are small pyramids of ceramic material that react to heat absorption the same way as your
ware; they are designed to bend when exposed to a certain rate of increase in temperature over a specific period
of time. In other words, they measure the amount of heat absorbed rather than only temperature or time.
Pyrometric cones are used to confirm the proper functioning of kiln instrumentation such as the automatic
controller, kiln sitter and pyrometer. One of the most important functions of witness cones is to indicate how
evenly and accurately the kiln is firing; you will be able to adjust your kiln temperature if needed.
Cones come in two sizes: the small (junior) cones and bars are used in the kiln sitter and the large cones are
used as witness cones. The witness cones are placed at an 8° angle from vertical in a cone holder (we
recommend using Orton cone plaques, which may be purchased from your local dealer); self-supporting cones
are also available. The witness cones are placed so that they are visible through the peepholes and are used to
check the progression of the firing.
Witness cones are usually used in groups of three. The first cone, called the guide cone, is one cone cooler than
the desired cone; when it begins to bend, the firing is near maturity. The second cone is the firing cone, which
indicates that maturity has been reached. Lastly, the guard cone is one cone hotter than the firing cone; if it
bends, it will indicate how much higher than maturity the kiln has fired.
If you determine that the kiln is firing unevenly (indicated by a variation in the cones), you can manually adjust
the kiln by increasing or decreasing switches at each zone. For example, if the top section is firing hotter than
the other sections, start firing with the bottom switches on "low" and leave the top switch "off"; when you turn the
bottom switches to "4", turn the top to "low".
The Edward Orton Jr. Ceramic Foundation (http://www.ortonceramic.com) prints an excellent brochure on the
use of cones, "Cones and Firing: a Practical Guide to Successful Firing". It is recommended that all kiln owners
read this brochure.
Ensure that Kiln is Loaded Properly
Excellent and consistent firing results require careful loading of the kiln; your ware and/or kiln may be damaged if
loading is rushed, incorrect or careless.
1. Confirm that the kiln is disconnected from the power supply (by either unplugging from receptacle or
disconnecting at breaker box).
2. If your kiln has an Bartlett V6-CF™automatic controller, confirm that no ware, shelves, or posts are within 1"
of the thermocouple inside the kiln chamber.
3. If the kiln is equipped with a Dawson Kiln Sitter®, ensure that no ware, shelves, or posts are within 1 " of the
cone holder/sensing rod inside the kiln chamber; confirm that nothing is near or against your kiln sitter which
would prohibit the weighted trigger on the exterior of the kiln from dropping and shutting off the kiln.
4. Ware should be bone dry in order to fire; firing damp ware is problematic and, without expertise, can easily
result in the loss of ware and/or damage to the kiln by explosion from rapidly escaping steam.
5. Always load a kiln as fully and evenly as possible: this will ensure even heat distribution and oxygen
circulation throughout the kiln.
6. For a bisque firing, pieces may touch one another and some pieces can be stacked; in a glaze firing, the
pieces should not touch each other or have glaze on the bottom touching the shelf (after molten glaze cools
and hardens, they will fuse together).
-9-
7. After loading is complete, re-connect kiln to power supply.
8. Determine firing schedule and prepare to fire.
Allow Kiln to Completely Cool before Unloading
CAUTION: As your kiln will have become very hot during firing, allow sufficient cooling time and use extreme
caution when unloading ware.
1. Confirm that the kiln is disconnected from the power supply (by either unplugging from receptacle or
disconnecting at breaker box).
2. Wait until the kiln has completely cooled before unloading to avoid accidental injury or damage to the kiln
and/or ware.
CAUTION: Force cooling a kiln will cause the bricks to deteriorate; unloading your ware when hot can contribute
to clay and glaze defects.
General Firing Schedules
The following firing schedules are VERY GENERAL and are suggested only to get beginners started. There are
many factors that will affect the firing results of your ware: size of load, stacking arrangements, open or closed
peepholes (for oxygen intake), etc.; conversely, these factors will vary depending upon the glazes used and the
results desired.
When determining a firing schedule, consult all accompanying kiln instrumentation manuals for firing schedules
and tips.
We recommend developing a firing schedule best suited to your ware. Over time, by acquiring information and
experience, you will be able to adjust your firing schedule to achieve exact results. We suggest consulting the
many fine publications available on electric kiln firing of ceramic and glassware.
CAUTION: Never fire the kiln unattended.
Bisque Firing
Bisque firing drives off water from the clay's surface as well as molecular water bonded in the clay mineral.
Impurities such as carbonaceous material, which can cause glaze defects, are burnt out. This firing allows the
ware to harden sufficiently to handle, yet remain porous enough to readily accept glaze. The following is a
suggested firing schedule when using a Dawson Kiln Sitter® and timer:
1. Place the small (junior) cone or bar in the kiln sitter.
2. Using the Lid Prop Bracket, prop the kiln lid open approximately 1"****.
3. Set the timer; turn all switches to "low".
4. Push in the kiln sitter's plunger to start the firing.
5. Fire on a low setting ("low" to "2" on the dial) for 1.5 hours*.
6. Close the lid; turn all switches to a medium setting ("3"-"5") and fire for 1.5 hours*.
7. Cover the top peephole****.
8. Turn all switches to "high" and continue firing until witness cones indicate that firing is complete.
9. Turn all switches to the "off" position; confirm that the kiln sitter's plunger has dropped and timer is at "0".
****NOTE: If you are using a vent system, follow the manufacturer's directions for lid opening and peepholes.
*NOTE: Exact firing times vary due to kiln size and voltage; we therefore suggest frequently checking the
witness cones to gauge the firing time for your kiln.
- 10 -
Glaze Firing
The purpose of this firing is to mature the clay body and melt the glaze; the cone to which you fire will depend on
the clay and glaze manufacturers' specifications. The following is a suggested firing schedule when using a
Dawson Kiln Sitter® and timer:
1. Place the small (junior) cone or bar in the kiln sitter.
2. Close the kiln lid****.
3. Set the timer; turn all switches to "low".
4. Push in the kiln sitter's plunger to start the firing.
5. Fire on a low setting ("low" to "2" on the dial) for 1.5 hours*.
6. Cover the top peephole****.
7. Turn all switches to a medium setting (" 3"-"5" on the dial) for 1.5 hours*.
8. Turn all switches to "high" and continue firing until the witness cones indicate that the firing is complete.
9. Turn all switches to the "off" position; confirm that the kiln sitter's plunger has dropped and timer is at "0".
****NOTE: If you are using a vent system, follow the manufacturer's directions for lid opening and peepholes.
*NOTE: Exact firing times vary due to kiln size and voltage; we therefore suggest frequently checking the
witness cones to gauge the firing time for your kiln.
Lustre and Overglaze Firing
Follow the same procedure as for a glaze firing; remember, however, a lustre or overglaze firing will be much
shorter than a glaze firing since it requires a much lower temperature. If using a kiln vent system, follow the vent
manufacturer's recommendations for peepholes; if not using a vent, lustre and overglaze firings are typically fired
with peepholes open.
Firing with an Automatic Controller
To achieve the best firing results, refer to your kiln's controller manual for detailed firing instructions.
For kilns equipped with an automatic controller and switches, the switches function as low, medium and high
controls that adjust the temperature in each zone of the kiln:
1. During your initial firing, place switches on "high" for the entire firing.
2. After observing your witness cones, you may need to adjust switches for more even firings.
3. Once the optimum settings have been determined, keep these settings until the witness cones indicate that
an adjustment is needed.
Glass Slumping
Glass slumping is when glass (in sheet or bottle form) is placed in or on a mold and heated until the glass
softens, taking the shape of the mold. The following is a very general glass slumping schedule, which may be
programmed for kilns equipped with a Bartlett V6-CF™ or Orton AutoFire™ automatic controller:
1. Fire at 300°F/hour to 900°F; hold at 900°F for 30 minutes
2. Fire at 500°F/hour to 1250°F; hold at 1250°F for 30 minutes
3. Fire at 999°F/hour to 1025°F; hold at 1025°F for 30 minutes
4. Fire at 80°F/hour to 700°F (no hold)
5. End
- 11 -
Preventive Kiln Maintenance
Your (ConeArt®) kiln will provide you with many years of use; to prolong the life of the kiln and
ensure error-free operation, it is necessary to perform regular maintenance on your kiln and kiln instrumentation.
We suggest the following:
1. Inspect and vacuum element grooves regularly: clay, glaze, dust and other debris not removed will
eventually damage the elements.
2. Check the lid and remove any brick particles; carefully remove glaze spots from kiln bricks.
3. Shelves may need a new layer of kiln wash; occasionally old kiln wash must be completely removed with a
scraper and wire brush and a new layer of kiln wash evenly re-applied.
4. If you own a manual kiln equipped with a Dawson Kiln Sitter®, check the sensing rod and cone supports for
wear every firing. The rod and supports should be replaced when they start to corrode or warp
(approximately every 30 firings); if not replaced, abnormally long firing times or over-firing may occur.
5. Before every firing, confirm that the sensing rod of the Dawson Kiln Sitter® moves freely in the tube
assembly and that the sitter is properly calibrated; use the firing gauge you received with the kiln sitter to
check the sitter's adjustment (see Dawson Kiln Sitter® manual for directions).
6. If your kiln is equipped with a Bartlett V6-CF™ automatic controller, check the thermocouples before every
firing and replace them if they appear thin or corroded (approximately every 30 firings); if it breaks during a
firing the safety system will automatically shut off the kiln, resulting in an interrupted firing and potential ware
damage.
7. ALWAYS use witness cones to check the accuracy of the firing and to prevent over-firing of the kiln.
8. Regularly check for elements that are popping out of the grooves (careful, elements are very brittle when
cold). To repair a "popped" element: heat the element until it is glowing orange; shut off the kiln and
disconnect from electrical source by either unplugging from receptacle or disconnecting at breaker box. With
a metal instrument, carefully push the element back into place and pin with staples made from Kanthal A-1
wire or equivalent.
TIP: Fire the kiln hotter than normal once in a while if the elements pop out regularly (this problem may occur for
those firing only to low temperatures).
9. Regularly check elements for signs of aging or need of replacement; element life span varies greatly with
element size as well as temperature and atmosphere to which you are firing.
10. Due to the expansion and contraction of heating, the electrical connections inside the switch panel may
gradually loosen; we recommend checking the connections every 25 firings to confirm that they are tight.
Troubleshooting
CAUTION: The following general checkpoints assume a basic working knowledge of electricity; it is
recommended that electrical testing, work or repairs only be performed by qualified persons since potentially
dangerous voltage is involved. Please also refer to the safety precautions on page 5.
The Kiln Does Not Turn On
1. Check all electrical components (power cord, fuses, circuit breaker, etc.) for loose connections, damage or
malfunctions.
2. For kilns with Bartlett V6-CF™ automatic controllers, inspect controller fuse to confirm it is functioning (refer
to controller manual).
3. For manual kilns equipped with a Dawson Kiln Sitter® and timer, confirm that the timer is set past "0" and
the kiln sitter's plunger is pushed in.
Tripped Circuit Breaker and/or Blown Fuses
1. Confirm that power source wiring exceeds kiln requirements; wire gauge may be insufficient to carry the
amperage demands of the kiln (if in doubt, we suggest consulting your electrician as this is a potential fire
hazard situation).
2. Ensure breaker size and/or fuse rating exceeds kiln re


Use: 0.0868