It’s that time of year where the weather starts getting cooler, and the hot summer days are coming to an end. This also means a lot of maintenance that needs to be completed before winter hits us and we can’t stand outside for more than ten minutes. This is the best time to do some kiln shelf preparations for the winter, more specifically cleaning up your shelves and applying a fresh coat of kiln wash. Kiln wash basically is a layer of EPK (Kaolin) and Flint that you paint onto your shelves to protect them from run-away glaze drips. It acts as a barrier between the glaze and the kiln shelf itself, although it’s not a complete miracle worker for those disastrous moments of a runny glaze, but it does help. The things you will need are:
I made my kiln wash up of basically 50% EPK and 50% Flint, and added some water. You want it to be the consistency of heavy cream. Thick enough where you can paint on a decent amount of kiln wash onto your shelves, but not too thick where it gets lumpy.
To apply the kiln wash you want to start with a clean kiln shelf. You can use a sander that’s gentle enough to remove the old kiln wash but not damage your kiln shelves. Or if you’re like me, and don’t have a sander, you can do it the old fashioned way. Any type of sand paper will do, a little elbow grease and you can just sand away.
Make sure to wear a mask when doing this, as the old kiln wash will be extremely dusty coming off of your kiln shelves. Once you’re done, you can start painting on your kiln wash.
A good even and fairly thick layer is all you need. Then all you need to do, is wait for it to dry. Once dry you have fresh kiln wash on your shelves and you’re ready to start firing again!