The last couple firings have not gone so well. One clearly my fault as I made a mistake as I programed the kiln. But still not firing well. I discussed the problem with a guy at Armadillo Clay in Austin last week. As I described the history--I had only fired the new elements 32 times--he suggested that it might be a faulty relay instead of bad elements. I called a repair person I had not used before--Tony, our trusted and capable repair person had retired--and she came over and checked the kiln and agreed that it probably was the relays. We ordered relays from Austin--none available in San Antonio--and she replaced the relays on Friday evening. Today I loaded a bisque firing and it is climbing right on up the scale!
I watched over Linda's shoulder as she replaced the relays and I think I could do it next time. Of course the secret is knowing what the problem is--more than knowing how to replace parts! So far I have participated in replacing the elements and now overseen replacing the relays. Sometime back Jim and I replaced the thermocouple. Maybe I am on my way to a new career. NOT. I'd rather make pots than fix kilns!
Yesterday Jim brought in an old kitchen cabinet to install the used extruder I bought sometime back. The extruder came on a nice metal stand--but it needed to be attached to the floor as it wanted to topple over whenever I pulled down on the extruder level. Now it is happily installed on the cabinet and very secure when I pull the lever down to extrude from a big pug of clay.
PS The bisque firing has completed without a flaw. So now I face a day--or more--of glazing--my least favorite part of potting!