Unusual Potter’s Tools

Here are a few photos taken when I rehabbed my ancient elevator electric kiln (aka–Ellie) last month. I have no idea how old she is (maybe 20 years?) or how many times she has been fired…but I put her into retirement this summer when another element went out. I have a newer L&L DaVinci Elevator (aka-Otis) but it recently has been giving me trouble (much to the consternation of the tech support people at both L&L AND at Bartlett Instruments). I decided to rehab Ellie at least one more time (to the tune of about $350 worth of elements and quite a few hours of pin-twisting). My assistant, Dolly, and my husband, Kevin both put in some time twisting pins for me (the pre-made kind are not nearly long enough for this kiln). When removing old elements I wear a special outfit: full respirator, hat, and long sleeved-shirt to keep the fiber at bay. When putting in the pins I downsize to a paper mask. The hat was given to me many years ago by a welding student named Rod (really–I called him “Welding Rod).

It’s nice to have Ellie back, although this could be her swan song season. In spite of the difficulties with the new kiln you just can’t beat those lovely ceramic channels (no pins and hard brick instead of fiber!) when it comes to changing elements!

–Evelyn at Kaleidoscope Pottery


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