The other day, as Nick eloquently put it, we successfully heated up an empty kiln! Yes folks, we finally ran a test firing on my new kiln. As those of you who own a kiln know, this is indeed an exciting event, but also a stressful one. Will the kiln fire without errors? Is the electrical wiring up to snuff? In our case, this was an extremely eventful occasion as we know for a fact that we have problems with low voltage.

Since we’ve moved into our house in August 2007, we’ve experienced problems with low voltage in our home. In times of heavy usage in the neighborhood (for example, in the evening) the lights flicker and during construction our workers had problems getting enough voltage for some of their heavier equipment. The local electrical company has promised to resolve this problem (our neighborhood needs a new transformer). Around the time my kiln was delivered, it seemed that a solution was imminent. We have become less hopeful that this is the case and therefore decided that we had to go ahead and test the kiln and see what happened…

I’m happy to report that my new L&L e-28S passed its maiden firing (slow bisque to Cone 5, or ~2160F) with flying colors. The firing took 17 hours and 34 minutes (expected firing time is anywhere between 16-20 hours according to the company). The two of us both got into the action, running down to check on the kiln every hour, checking progress against a temperature chart (prepared by Nick) which gave us an idea of where the temperature should be at if the firing is going as scheduled. Needless to say, it was a fairly sleepless night…

During the firing, we switched off our water heater and didn’t use “heavy” appliances (microwave, electric kettle, toaster). We made sure to fire the kiln overnight, so that most of the kiln activity was during low usage hours in the neighborhood (e.g., not dinner time…). Yes, the lights flickered like crazy, but the kiln fired to completion. Result! Now, a few more bisque firings (to a normal cone 04, thank goodness!) and we’ll be moving on to glaze testing. Now THAT will be exciting!