Skutt: Uses and awl, lightly tap pilot hole, phillips bit and drive
Well Halloween has arrived a month early to the Muddy Taurus studio, poking holes into the kiln has probably been the most intimidating project to date. Let’s rewind and talk about how we got to this point. Back when I was replacing kiln bricks I had *accidentally* ripped off the old lid brace. This is the part of the kiln that props open the kiln’s lid while you load or just simply need access to the interior of the kiln. In the midst of replacing the elements, I put on a new brace. It was pretty easy, just intimidating… I mean piercing holes into the stainless steel jacket with extremely soft fire brick to absorb the shock really scared me! I didn't want to crack the brick, especially after just replacing some of the old bricks. The video on my instagram covers this a bit more in depth as to the steps-but to put it simply, here is the low down:
Decide where the brace will go (mine needed to go to a different spot because the old one was so small in comparison-also was a completely different mechanism to the new).
Mark the holes where the screws enter to keep the brace in place.
Lightly tap the marks with an awl and hammer. Key word is lightly per suggestion of Perry from Skutt. And, of course he was right. I had no issues, just keep it light and easy, the bricks can handle the pressure. I went just deep enough to punch a hole in the steel jacket, but not dig into the bricks-this will also help the screws grip on to something for a strong hold.
Screw the new parts in- wham bam, thank you ma’am!
Now, as for the elements… I am definitely not the expert to follow. If anything, I watched Skutt’s video on replacing elements like 30 times before and during the process. The video is here. I followed their written instructions as well, and found the wiring diagram found in my model’s digital manual.
Some tips that helped me a ton were taking the sections of the kiln apart; this was especially helpful for the bottom elements, saving my back and stomach from leaning over a kiln wall in tight space for a prolonged amount of time. Highly recommend it if you have the option.
Another tip, when attaching the feeder wires to the new elements label the feeder wires with colored/labeled tape. I did this for one of the boxes and it saved me a lot of brain cells figuring out where each one goes. I also pulled up the wiring diagram from the digital manual and put the image in canva-using some colored lines, I was able to refer to the black and white image with some clarity as you can see below.
I wore gloves throughout this entire process because the old elements were dry and dusty and the new ones have a coating of oil on them (this burns off on the first firing). I kept a vacuum on hand, a bowl for the new element pins, and a trash bin so my work station didn’t overwhelm the process. For my first time replacing elements, this went pretty smooth, it just took 4-5 hours in total. Had to give my back a break for a day before returning to the project. One last tip-if you have a rolling cart for you kiln it makes a world of difference. Ooooo did she just reference another upcoming project? Yes, yes she did. Next week we talk about her maiden voyage firing in the new space, I am so excited to share! Until then, let’s get muddy!