How to load the workpiece for glaze firing
Potters should plan to load workpieces with light coating of glazes first and should have a cloth ready for wiping hands especially after picking up a dark glaze.
Before loading the workpiece, don’t forget to check whether the kiln shelves have been cleaned of glazes from the last firing cycle? Because if some traces of glazes left on the shelves, it will smear the coating of the new workpieces or damage the kiln shelves. After that paint the shelves with kiln wash before placing new pieces on the shelves. You can clean the glaze by chiseling with a tool or a file with a whetstone and putty, adjusting the surface with kiln wash.
To load the kiln, set the kiln legs in a triangle, 2 points in the left-right corner and 1 in the center opposite and make sure the shelf is 1 inch from the floor of the kiln so that heat and air can move evenly throughout the kiln. When laying out work or workpieces, be careful of broken or cracked thermocouples.
It's important to remember that the glazed workpieces cannot be stacked and touch each other. In addition, there must be a gap between each workpiece. This type of workpiece placement requires more space than loading raw fired work and be sure to wipe your hands every time you touch the workpiece to avoid contamination of the coating between the workpieces. For accurate glaze firing results, a CONE should be placed for thermal monitoring inside the firing chamber in the proper position which is about the center of the kiln height. If possible, place more than 2 points for more accurate results.
It is also a good idea to wear gloves when cleaning the kiln shelves before using it to prevent any debris dropping to the workpiece below. When the bottom shelf is full, carefully place another shelf on top. Do not press or hit the kiln bricks on the kiln legs of the same size in the same position as the kiln legs below. Fill this shelf in the same way as the bottom shelf, leaving 1 inch of space between the piece and the kiln lid. Then slowly close the lid of the kiln and be careful because you don’t want dust and bricks to fall onto the workpieces.
When moving the workpieces out of the kiln, occasional “ping” sounds may be heard which could be due to the hot glassy glaze hitting the colder air around the workpiece. Don’t forget to record the firing in the log and check to ensure that the loading was recorded in the log from the beginning before the kiln was switched off until the process was completed.