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Author Topic: Hot shelf lifter  (Read 3408 times)
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Grody
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« on: May 24, 2013, 03:30:25 PM »

For ages I've been meaning to share this tool I made. It allows me to haul a loaded hot shelf out of the kiln once it is back to about 100-120 deg C and then plonk it aside whilst I re-load the kiln with another shelf. This means that I can run 2 firings a day/night when busy - not that I've needed to do this for a while though, more's the bloomin' pity!!!


Image1

Image2

Image3

It's just some scrap bits of timber with a couple of small metal brackets on each. I think the brackets are left over from some Ikea cabinets or similar.

The key things are a) the two lifting points are within the borders of the shelf - this limits the risk of the shelf slipping out as your grip, when lifting, is automatically pushing against the shelf edges, and b) the width of the little edge at the bottom of the metal bracket/hook has to slip into the gap (well on my Hobbyfuser anyway) between the shelf and the side of the kiln. Hard to describe but I think you'll get the picture.

I usually pop the hot shelf down onto a large cooker trivet thing to continue cooling. I admit I've always been pretty cavalier about respecting the final bit of annealing, as well as the laborious cleaning before I fire. Never had a problem in 5 years of being a hooligan - but I probably will >now<!

This was a first attempt and miraculously I don't think I need to amend them. If anyone likes them and wants some dimensions then I'll post some more info.
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June
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« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2013, 03:38:54 PM »

Thanks for sharing, we have been pondering over creating something similar for the kiln we use for fusing  Smiley i will show my OH who will be interested.
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JKC
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2013, 03:40:42 PM »

Very clever of you Grody and nice of you to share. Janet 
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flame n fuse
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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2013, 05:07:23 PM »

neat!
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Zeldazog
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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2013, 05:18:18 PM »

Hot shelf or cold, I like this idea.

Don't know about anybody else, but there's not a lot of space between the sides of my kiln shelf and the fire brick walls (and I haven't got small dainty hands at all!) - I can't tell you how many times I've jolted the shelf lowering it in and dislodged things. 

Although I usually load directly into the kiln, I often put one firing on, then prepare the next shelf to go straight in afterwards, to make better use of my hours at the studio (prepare three shelves worth of work in one day so I only have to go and switch the kiln on again for the following two days)
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Flyingcheesetoastie
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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2013, 08:23:53 PM »

Slightly concerned about lifting a shelf out at 100c as things could still shock at this temperature...  Undecided
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June
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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2013, 04:45:16 AM »

For us it's more about loading than taking the hot shelf out. I tend to put the pieces together, but due to my mobility issues, my OH puts them in the kiln.  So this looks great  Smiley
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Grody
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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2013, 05:07:33 AM »

Got to laugh - in order to finally prove how dumb I can be, I'll admit that I'd never thought of using this tool to >load< a kiln with! When I think about the time I've spent leaning down into the kiln, setting stuff up, adjusting stacks and breaking my back in the process ........ doh!

Although, I've just remembered that in a Hobbyfuser the temp probe sticks out just a tad too far for these shelves of mine and I have to tilt the shelf downwards slightly in order to tuck it under the probe when re-introducing it. Maybe I subconciously I knew it wouldn't work for loading (he lies, in a vain hope of resurrecting his cred).
« Last Edit: May 25, 2013, 05:21:29 AM by Grody » Logged
June
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« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2013, 05:16:00 AM »

 Smiley Smiley
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jeannette
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« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2013, 06:22:05 AM »

Yes, that probe is annoying....wish i considered that when building the stand to put it on and made the height a bit lower!
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Grody
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« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2013, 04:50:33 AM »

I've remembered to share the final laugh at my expense on this subject. (I've already advertised my stupidity by admitting that I'd never thought of using these handles to >load< a kiln, only unload!). Sit down, it will take a bit of scene-setting - but it's a quiet day today here!

OK, a couple of years ago, I opened the kiln to find utter mayhem inside. Black soot covered everything, the shelf and the glasswork on there covered in a skanky black scum, strong smell everywhere. Good grief, what had happened?Huh

Could only imagine the kiln had blown or something similar. Started phoning around and reached the manufacturers. They asked for pictures and were baffled when they saw them - never seen anything like it. They said that something combustible must have been inside the kiln but I found that so hard to believe - what could that be, there was nothing I'd done that could have caused this, was there? KC said to remove everything and to fire the empty kiln a couple of times to a very high temp and this would burn off all the black residues.

The shelf was still inside the kiln where it had fired so I now lifted it out and started to clear out the mess, ready to do the high-temp firings - but still baffled about the cause. Not for long though.

You may recall I made these lifting handles in order to haul out the shelf while still fairly hot and then to replace it with a pre-loaded second shelf and start another firing. What I'd done, as usual, was to lift out the hot shelf after the previous firing a couple of days before and pop it down to cool on a scrap piece of plywood nearby that I kept for the job. Then, a couple of days later, for this "black scum" firing, I'd lifted the shelf back up, placed it back in the kiln and loaded it with fresh stuff. No problem.

However now, when I lifted the cooled, blackened shelf out, I discovered that previously I hadn't actually put the hot shelf onto the scrap piece of plywood as planned - I'd put it down onto a scrap piece of Contiboard, the plastic faced cabinet material. I'd managed to fuse (ha!) the Contiboard scrap to the underside of the shelf, and hadn't noticed anything wrong when later placing it back into the kiln. I'd carefully placed the shelf onto its usual 4 little kiln posts, which beautifully protected the square of Contiboard hiding below. Yep, under the shelf, I now found a neat square of charcoal - minus its plastic coating, which was what formed the film of gunk now nicely deposited all over a batch of coasters!

Moral of the story is - play by the rules or face the consequences. Have a nice day!

PS: Kilncare were right - the high-temp firings did take a lot away and the rest has disappeared over time. The coasters didn't make it.


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« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2013, 05:08:00 AM »

In my eyes you are still a genius, just a genius that makes me laugh out loud now and then Grin
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Barnacle Bay
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« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2013, 05:21:50 AM »

Great idea for lowering the kiln shelf down  Wink
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Moira HFG
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« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2013, 01:53:03 PM »

Oh nooooo!

Thanks for sharing this sad (but very funny!) story. I can just imagine doing that - so will make sure I put no plastic-faced anything anywhere near the kiln.

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