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Emergency Kiln Element Repairs

 

This is part two of a two part tip.  Click here to go to the first part.

 

3.  Another method for repairing kiln elements is an old pottery trick.  To work best, this method requires a kiln with multiple elements that can be individually controlled.  Take a small ball of wet clay and wrap it around the two broken element ends, making certain that they're touching inside the clay.  Then fire the kiln using all of the elements except the one just repaired.  The heat of the kiln will cause the clay to harden around the two ends of the element, keeping them together and allowing you to use the element during future firings.

4.  A possibly more permanent fix is to take a pair of needle nose pliers and twist one end of the broken element around the threads of a machine screw.  Do this at the top end of the screw, near the head. Then place a washers and nuts onto the screw and twist the other broken element end around the screw beneath the washer.  Finish it all up with a washer and nut at the bottom of the screw -- starting at the top of the screw, you should have broken element end number one, a washer, a nut, another washer, broken element end number two, a third washer, and then a second nut.  Gently tighten everything together and push the setup back into the element groove.  It's important in this method that the two element ends aren't allowed to touch. 

Remember, these are emergency solutions.  While there are stories of people who've made these repairs and had them last for months and years, it's more likely that they'll hold things together for just long enough for a new set of elements to arrive from the manufacturer or supplier.

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Copyright 2005 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

Thanks to Tony Smith, Andy Brott, Tom Smith, and others for their contributions to this tip.

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