Kiln Repair

Beloveds 🙂

Some school or aspiring potter is going to have a happy day! Once upon a time the #15 Amaco cone drive wheel, patterned after the famous Japanese Shimpo RK2, was up there with the best. I took a couple of “basket cases” in trade and proceeded to rebuild them to factory specifications.

A firm believer in being one with the clay via an attached seat (instead of a runaway stool) I built a custom seat that could be further enhanced by the addition of the old tractor seat. No, you can’t have mine, get your own! 🙂

Ideal for the studio potter or a school that is in need of some wheels, each unit is priced to sell. Last time in the catalogue, over ten years ago, they were priced at $1495.00 WITHOUT a stool or seat. They may be old, but these wheels are now as good as new and are ready to work. They are priced at $695.00 a piece. Purchase both of them and I’ll make you a deal. Come and get them, or arrange for delivery.

I also have an assortment of parts for both HF and EX kilns as well as a brand-new lid litter for an EX 399. An assortment of half circle shelves is also clogging up my shelves. If you need some, come and get some for $8.00 – $10.00 a piece.

Kilns for Sale April 2015

sold kiln April 2015

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Happy New Year one and all! Here we are fourteen months after the widow maker episode and I’m still kicking. Granted, not kicking as high as I used to, but still kicking! 🙂

Cardiac-Pulmonary Physical Therapy has done wonders and, instead of having to do it three days a week, the cardiologist brought it down to two days a week last December. Strength has returned, stamina and energy levels are somewhat less than they used to be, but all in all I’m feeling good and getting used to operating at a slower pace.

Last fall I spent some delightful time with sixth graders at Northeast Middle School in Shelburn. On the Pottery Page you can read all about the “Face Project”. Should you be interested in doing the project with your students contact me and I’ll be happy to send you the power point presentation! FREE! 🙂

Ellen still accompanies me on kiln repair trips and thanks to the reduction in physical therapy we can now do road trips three days a week! So should you have a kiln problem keep those phone calls to 1-812-394-2289 coming. Please also note that our E-mail was changed to >rogierdonker@gmail.com<

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Have a kiln problem?

Help is a phone call or E-mail away!

812-394-2289

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An Amaco authorized kiln repairman, Rogier has been maintaining and repairing kilns for over forty-five years. His clients include the Indianapolis Public Schools, the Vigo County School Corporation, the Northeast School Corporation, the South Vermillion School Corporation, the Southwest School Corporation, as well as numerous other school corporations in the Midwest.

Should your school’s kiln be broken or need attention, please do not hesitate to call the number above or send Rogier an E-mail with all the pertinent kiln information.  On Amaco kilns all the important numbers and information are stamped in the metal nameplate on the side of the kiln. Model number, serial number, Voltage and Phase. When you do call, have all that information handy.

Just in case you read this in “Timbuktu”, please realize that Rogier travels mostly in Indiana and border areas of neighboring states. A service call to California or Maryland just would not be cost effective 🙂 So, if you live in the Midwest and have a kiln problem go ahead and make that call or send that E-mail. Rogier will be happy to discuss your needs and quote you a realistic and honest evaluation!

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The “Cadillac “of the Amaco line of kilns, pictured above is an AH 30 that was over-fired. After all the lava was removed and the brick work repaired, new element holders and elements were installed and even though this particular kiln was already 27 years old when it was repaired a few years ago, it will serve the school corporation for many more years. I’ve worked on HF 97’s, HF 101’s and HF 105’s that were going on thirty years old and were still doing just fine, thank you.

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The most popular school kiln is the Amaco HF 97. These so called “box” kilns are far superior to the round or octagonal “hobby” kilns. Amaco kilns are heavily insulated (unlike most hobby kilns) and easily have a life span of thirty, forty even fifty years. The oldest Amaco kiln I ever worked on was an AH 10 front loader that was fifty-four years old at the time (1997) that I repaired it. To the best of my knowledge it is STILL working!

The HF 97 top loader pictured above was eight years old at the time, was slightly over fired a few years earlier, but still worked fine. Recently it was moved and sustained quite a bit of additional brick damage. All the elements were broken. The kiln was rebuilt with new brick and new elements at a cost of under HALF the replacement cost ($ 4000.00) of a new one.  It is quite acceptable and normal to rebuild a box kiln especially if the metal work is still in good shape. Rebuilding doors/lids is also quite common.

Amaco box kilns are superior to most other kinds of kilns. That, in my humble opinion is a given! Given the economy and shrinking budgets, school corporations find themselves having to economize and cut back in various departments. Art departments are among the first to suffer from a downsized economy. In recent years so-called “hobby” kilns have become quite popular, mainly because of their initial purchase price.

Like their  “bigger-‘n-better” box kilns cousins these hobby kilns can be repaired, but a lot of times the cost of the service call, the higher cost of parts and the basic “nature of the beast” make repairing them almost cost prohibitive. That is not to say they cannot be fixed – I’ve seen ten-year-old hobby kilns in a school setting that were well maintained and still going strong. In those cases the operators educated themselves and were not afraid to tackle repair problems. More power to those unnamed heroes!

Should you have a problem with the hobby kiln in your art room please do not hesitate to E-mail me. In a lot of cases I can talk you through the repair, if you are willing to tackle the job! If you are not – I’ll come running!

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I’ve been working on kilns and been around art teachers for a bit and every once in a while I am thoroughly amazed at the…well …you can fill in my choice of words here yourself. Here’s a sad tale about a perfectly good kiln suffering a totally unnecessary over-firing:

Got a phone call from a school administrator the other day. Could I please come and check out their kiln. It seemed to have over fired.  So I hopped in the Suburban and drove 240 miles to check the kiln out. A twenty-year-old HF 105 equipped with a kiln sitter with limit timer. Over fired all right…imagine my surprise when I saw why it had over fired…First of all the timer had not been properly calculated to back up the melting of the Junior cone and secondly the veteran art teacher, who should have known better, had used a full size large cone in the kiln sitter tube assembly…. The picture below shows what it looked like!

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The good folks at Orton (makers of the ceramic cones) as well as yours truly have been telling the art populace for years NOT to EVER do that!  In the picture you can clearly see how the weight of the large cone is responsible for NOT letting the cone rod down enough to kick off the kiln sitter…. I TOLD YOU NOT TO DO THAT!  Should you not know the formula to calculate the timer of the kiln sitter in relation to the kiln temperature maybe you should get a copy of my manual!  

Even though both the junior cone and the standard size cone are marked the same (05, 06 or whatever) they behave quite differently when used in a kiln sitter tube assembly. It is NEVER a good idea to use a large cone in a kiln sitter tube assembly.

There are those who would argue with me and say that it is all right to break off the tip of a large cone and use it instead of a junior cone…HEY! How much does a box of little cones cost? Of course if you insist on using large cones, go right ahead, your malpractice keeps me in business!

Pictured below is a mock up of the cone that I salvaged out of the over fired HF105. One can clearly see how the weight of the large cone “body” prevents the downward travel of the cone rod. It would take a few more hours for the tip of the cone to really melt and then of course it would be too late… The other picture shows the proper way to install a junior cone in a kiln sitter tube assembly.

Moving around schools the way I do, I sometimes run into some used equipment. Other times I take old kilns in trade when I sell the school a new one. It all amounts to an ever changing inventory of kiln parts, kilns and wheels. Should you find yourself in need of some of the preceding, please check with me as I just might have what you need.

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Summer is a time I take stock of all those parts that have accumulated over the past year. Ellen told me to DO something and get stuff out of HER garage! Yes’ma’am! So I assembled an EX399SF out of salvaged parts of five different kilns. Totally refurbished the computer-controlled kiln is priced to sell. I also have a smaller kiln (equivalent to an EX 365) that I’ll assemble when someone wants it. Then there are extra lids and floor slabs…

Presently I have an assortment of hobby kiln parts (lids & floors, etc.) as well as a few heavy-duty thermocouples and an assortment of box kiln parts for the Amaco HF, FA, EC, and AH series kilns.  A new wall mount controller retails for $900.00 – $1595.00 depending on brand.

A couple of computer controls that, with a bit of ingenuity, can be made into a wall mounted control unitare also available. For the enterprizing individual these things are also priced to sell! Come and check things out!

For Repairs Call 812-394-2289.

Click here to learn some lessons about kilns.