August 2, 2018
Kiln Pointer from Paragon:
A Quick Thermocouple Check

A Quick Thermocouple Check

Reader Response: Australian wasps that eat greenware

Recent Q&As: Should you dip firebricks in water before cementing?

Memorable Quote

A Quick Thermocouple Check

From our customer service department--one of the most useful tests for correcting an inaccurate temperature reading in a digital kiln. This takes only a few minutes.
1) Disconnect the power from the kiln.
2) Remove the controller from the kiln. It is held in place by four screws, which are on the corners of the plastic overlay.
3) Pull on the thermocouple wires attached to the back of the controller. In 95% of our kilns, they are the red and yellow wires. Are they loose?
4) Even if the wires are tight, remove and reinstall them.
5) Reinstall the controller and reconnect the power to the kiln.
Reader Response
Two issues ago I included a story entitled “The Critter That Ate Greenware” from Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Stephanie Holmes of Perth, in Western Australia, wrote, “I was interested to hear that wasps affect potters in countries other than Australia. I had trouble with wasps nibbling the rims of my green cups. To add injury to insult, they used the clay from my cups to build nests in the burners of my gas kiln. Wasps like a nice round hole to fill. Before firing, it was necessary to clean out the clay and dried spiders from the burners.”
Stephanie lives in a remote area. “Driving through the outback is really monotonous. I have crossed from Perth to Adelaide and back, across the Nullabor Plain only twice in my life: once by train and once by car. We slept on the train, and when I awoke in the morning, it seemed to me that we hadn't moved. The view from the window was the same as it was when we went to bed.”

Recent Q&As
Q. When cementing firebricks together, should the bricks be dipped in water first? I have had no luck repairing soft brick without first wetting the brick and then applying the cement.
A. At the factory when making kiln lids and bottoms, we don't dip the bricks in water. This is because the moisture in the kiln cement is not given enough time to absorb into the bricks. Rows of bricks are dipped into a pan of cement and then immediately pressed against the next row of bricks. The cement has to be mixed exactly to the correct consistency--as creamy as freshly stirred almond butter.
Memorable Quote
“If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you start something, finish it.” --Epictetus
A few weeks ago I listened to an interview of psychologist Amy Morin as I re-leveled my backyard shed. I listened through the ear buds on my iPhone while raising a corner of the shed. The Texas summer sun intensified the work and cast deep shadows.
Amy Morin wrote a letter to herself to help her cope with the deaths of her mother and husband. She entitled it “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.” She posted the article online, and it went viral, quickly read by millions. Her 13 principles are a summary of things she has learned in her counseling practice. I recommend reading her letter.

Thank you,
With best wishes,
Arnold Howard
Paragon Industries, L.P. – Better Designed Kilns
2011 South Town East Blvd.,
Mesquite, Texas 75149-1122
Voice: 972-288-7557 & 800-876-4328 / Fax: 972-222-0646 /
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