As most potters know, at some point you'll experience...KILN DRAMA.
Now this doesn't always come in the same form and you must be able to diagnose many different 'elements' of trouble (punny I know).
Well my yearly dose of kiln drama occurred yesterday, at least the second half of the drama, the part where you reallllly finally get to the bottom of it.
Which is on one hand comforting, at least we know what is wrong type of feeling.
On the other hand its like 'oh, I'm a dum dum'.
It all started with a beeping, never a good sign. I opened the basement door when I woke up to check on the kiln as I always do while firing, and I hear it, beeping.
My heart drops suddenly as the whole load was pre-paid wholesale orders, approx 80ish pieces, weeks of work. I check it out and read the error code, the panel box got too hot which in turn, shut off the kiln. By the way this is a lovely feature, Skutt Kilns are top notch.
After cooling I opened the kiln and things were fine, it had reached an appropriate temperature and didn't show any damage to the load, so all good there.
Next step was to open up the panel box and check the feeder wires, that's where the drama gets good. The first 2 element connector wires were melted, melted is a term you don't really wanna hear when you have a kiln in your basement. Melting = bad.
My dad was helping and all we could figure is that the connections weren't tight enough. I mean I'm not necessarily a delicate flower and I power lifted in high school, but maybe I didn't get a good clamp on them.
I had replaced all the elements in January and that's all we could figure. I order new feeder wires and waited patiently for them to arrive.
So now to the kicker.
The parts came yesterday and I was all ready to hook everything up and have Benji clamp the connections to make sure they were super tight from man strength. I got everything out and ready to hook up and something wasn't making sense. I had ordered one element to replace because the pigtail was damaged and things weren't matching up, I called the supplier.
That's when it clicked, oooooohhhhh 'I'm an idiot'.
So turns out back in January I ordered the wrong elements for my kiln, I have a Skutt KM1227, NOT a KM 1227 PK. PK being the important letters, which stand for 'Production Kiln'. I ordered elements for a PK, which pulls more electric, which would be the reason why my wires melted. He said it was a fire hazard and I was lucky nothing else got damaged.
Here's the funny part though, if there is one.
I remember back in Jan. when ordering the elements it said PK
and I thought that stood for 'Pack'.
Oh my word, am I this blonde? Wow!!
Anywho, the guy on the phone set me straight, I had a good laugh at my expense and ordered all new CORRECT elements for the kiln.
The drama is almost over as I see it, my new elements are on their way. I'll hook them up, maybe with supervision, and get her on. I'm glad I got to the bottom of my mystery and am not beating myself up about it.
This is part of owning your own pottery biz, things will happen, you gotta roll with it.
Be upfront with customers who are waiting (thanks guys) and just laugh it off as that one time you were a dum dum, momentarily.