I blew up a a piece of ceramic, how do I get glaze out of the wall and off the element?

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I blew up a a piece of ceramic, how do I get glaze out of the wall and off the element?
  1. Dig it out of the wall carefully.
  2. Use safety glasses and a dremel to carefully grind the glaze off the
    element.
  3. Vacuum the kiln very well afterwards. 
  4. It may break the
    element or not get all the glaze so probably count on replacing the
    element before too long.

Additional Actions to Take

  1. Dig out any loose particles with a small knife.
  2. Brush and vacuum the surface of the brick clean to remove any loose material or crumbling firebrick.
  3. Wet the brick surface lightly with clean fresh water. Use a paint brush or spray bottle (make sure there is no soap residue in the bottle).
  4. Apply a thin coat of brick cement all over the hole. This is defined as about 1/32" to 1/16" thick. Do this with your finger, a small brush, or a spatula.
  5. Fill hole with the special grout material. Apply grout with a spatula (like plaster). You can also use your finger. Push it into the hole. It is OK to let it be a rough surface or slightly larger than the hole it is filling.
  6. Let dry for 24 hours.
  7. Take some rough sandpaper and sand surface to even it out with the rest of the firebrick.
  8. Run the First Firing Cycle ( See first-firing.pdf in the Operation Section or see this search link).
  9. You can brush on brick facing afterward if you desire.

When ordering a new holder provide model number of kiln and length of the element holder. See the Parts List for this information.

Note that if the holder has melted badly you may need to either replace the brick that holds it or at least patch the brick with our Brick Repair Kit.

Method #1:

  1. This method leaves the kiln in tact.
  2. Break up the holder and remove it in pieces and then modify the new holder to snap into the groove.
  3. Using a chisel or large screw driver and a hammer carefully crack the holder that needs to be removed. Take your time with this, the holder can be gradually broken into little pieces.

The holder shown with small pieces broken off of it.

The groove shown with the entire holder removed.

Using linemen’s pliers, snap off the bottom edge of the holder. Make sure that the bottom of the element channel is closest to the edge that you are removing.

A normal holder compared to one with edge removed.

The new holder can now be snapped into the groove in the firebrick. It will hold in place with no cement.

Positioning the holder back into place in the firebrick.

Method #2:

This method requires you to take the kiln sections apart.

  1. Take the section with the bad holder off the kiln and put it on a flat surface like a flat floor or table.
  2. Carefully pull the elements out of the element holders of the brick section involved and allow them to hang loose. Take great care not to hang loose. Take great care not to "break" the element as they are very brittle after firing.
  3. Loosen the adjustable clamps that hold the stainless steel wrapping. Loosen them just enough to allow the brick to slide out with slight hand pressure (so that the other bricks stay in place). 
  4. Pull up the brick with the bad element holder just enough to allow removal of the defective element holder and replace with new one. Slide the bad brick(s) out and put in new brick(s). Be sure the element holders line up with the other holders on either side. Note there is a top and a bottom in the element holder so be sure to get the orientation correct.
  5. Retighten the clamps on the wrap. Alternately tighten the bottom and top clamp so that you don't cock the stainless casing.



CAUTION WITH STEP 3: If you don't have the section on a flat surface then the bricks will all come out of proper alignment.

  1. Order the firebrick precut and rerouted from L&L Kilns. One can order this with the proper element holders already in place or reuse the holders from the old brick. Be sure to order it for the appropriate model of kiln. Be sure to say whether it is a brick where the element connections come through. (Click here for all repair bricks).
  2. Remove the section of the kiln and put it on a flat surface. Elements will have to be removed and properly placed.
  3. Loosen the clamps on the stainless steel band that hold the section together just enough to remove the damaged brick. Do not completely remove the stainless steel case. Loosen just enough to allow the brick to slide out with slight hand pressure while the other bricks stay in place.
  4. Slide the bad brick(s) out and put in new brick(s). Be sure the element holders line up with the other holders on either side. Note that there is a top and bottom in the element holder so be sure to get the orientation correct.
  5. Retighten the clamps on the wrap. Alternately tighten the bottom and top clamp so that you don't cock the stainless casing.
  6. Replace the elements.
  7. Sand off the top surface of the firebrick to match the surface of the other firebricks. Sandpaper will work fine.
  8. Brush a light coat of facing over the top of the brick.

CAUTION IN STEP 3: If you don't have the section on a flat surface then the bricks will all come out of proper alignment at this point.

  1. Tighten the case by turning the screws of the case clamps. Do this 1/4 of a turn at a time on each of the clamps. Keep a balanced tighten (don't tighten one clamp too much at one time. Doing this around the bands on the top and bottom will help maintain the integrity of those slabs even if there is a crack.
  1. Unplug kiln.
  2. Remove the Control Box.
  3. Using a 3/8" nut driver or ratchet wrench or adjustable wrench, remove the nuts that hold the element end onto the Element Terminal Bolt. Note that the terminal bolt head is held in place by an inset shape on the underside of the ceramic terminal block and it will not turn much.
  4. Untwist the element end from around the Element Terminal Bolt. Straighten it out as much as possible.
  5. In most cases the element can be lifted out of the holder at this point. Sometimes, if the element has really disintegrated, you need to remove it in pieces with needle nose pliers.
  6. If element is hard to get out of the holders (because of growth of the element) you can try heating up the kiln slightly so as to heat up the element slightly to just the point where element is slightly pliable–don't let it get red. This will soften the wire. Then turn off the kiln and disconnect all power to the kiln. Using heat protecting gloves and a pair of needle nose pliers pull out the softened element.
  7. From the inside of the kiln, using needle nose pliers, grab the element as close to where it goes through the brick wall to Terminal Block. Pull the element end through the hole. Be careful not to enlarge the hole in firebrick. The brick is soft and will not take much abrasion.
  8. Be sure to check for failure points for evidence of contamination on the element and the element holder. If the element holder is contaminated it will cause rapid failure of the new element. Replace contaminated holders with the new ones.
  9. Using your multimeter check the resistance of the new element.
  10. Install the twisted ends of the elements through the holes in the wall of the kiln. Element ends should be straight at this point.
  11. Pull them up tight up to the wall of the kiln by pulling from outside the kiln.
  12. Lay the element into the groove. Note that the unfired element is going to have some springiness to it before it is fired for the first time. You may need to use a screwdriver to press the element into the holder. YOU DO NOT NEED PINS.
  13. FOR KILNS WITH NON-CERAMIC TERMINAL BLOCK OR ON RETROFITTED KILNS WHERE YOU HAVE ADDED A CERAMIC TERMINAL BLOCK BUT STILL NEED BUSHINGS: Be sure to replace the insulators and spacers over the element tails.
  14. Consulting your picture or labeling, wrap the appropriate element tails around the appropriate element connection bolt, clockwise, one around and cut off the excess tail.
  15. Install the elements and hardware: Place the wires from the jumper cord or connecting wires onto the appropriate bolts and tighten with stainless steel nuts.
  16. A washer goes under the first element.
  17. Twist the first element end CLOCKWISE around the Terminal Bolt.
  18. The next element gets twisted around the Terminal Bolt on top of the first element.
  19. Another washer goes over the Terminal Bolt.
  20. Place a nut on top and tighten it.
  21. Put another washer on.
  22. Put on the Ring Terminal of the Power Lead Wire.
  23. Put another washer on.
  24. Put another nut on and tighten it. How much the nut can be tightened is dependent on how tight the element connection bolt is on the element connection board. A tight connection is very important, but if you tighten too much and twist the element on the bolt too far you could break the element, the bolt, or the insulator.
  25. Reattach the ground wires and the element box if the kiln has them. DO NOT FORGET TO ATTACH GROUND WIRES. IF EACH KILN SECTION IS NOT GROUNDED THIS CAN BE VERY DANGEROUS.
  26. Test the resistance at the jumper cord's plug head or at the other end of the connecting wires.
  27. Reattach the control box, turn on the kiln and make sure all the elements come on.

See this tutorial on how to use a multimeter.

See this video: