March brings with it the first vestiges of Spring here in Kansas. The daffodils and tulips begin to poke up out of the ground, we (usually) get to put away our winter coats in favor of lighter jackets, and NCECA is right around the corner (happening this week, as a matter of fact).  The change of seasons also gets us thinking about the upcoming Spring art shows, the rush towards critiques at the end of the semester, and spring cleaning.

The Tools:

Before I share my maintenance schedule next month, we should start with the tools that you will need to do the job. Getting the best cordless impact wrench for automotive, will help you change a tire a lot faster and is a must have tool. You will find that most of these tools you already have in your tool box, but its a good idea to make sure you have them, and that they are clean and in good condition.  Remember that the proper tools can make a job easier to perform.  I find the following tools to be the most useful for kiln repair and routine maintenance:

The length of the tool shaft/handle should be comfortable to work with, but not too short.  Often, the work that we need to do is a matter of leverage, and longer-handled tools can provide an extra “edge” if you don’t have much hand-strength.  Too long of a shaft or handle, however, can result in a lack of control.  Since everybody’s hands are different, you might have to experiment to find the right sized tool for you. You can also replace the screwdrivers and nut drivers with a cordless drill driver and the appropriate bits, but sometimes you need the finesse and control that only a hand-tool can provide (like when you need to pop a rusted screw loose without stripping it).  There may also be other tools that are useful, and this list is far from exhaustive, but it will give you a really good start. Of course, it goes without saying that you should always have the wiring diagram (and assembly diagram) for your kiln close by.  I also use my smartphone as a tool as well.  I set it to video mode, turn the light ON, and then I can zoom in and see small or dark places in a kiln with ease.  It’s also handy to take a before picture for referencing after the fact….or for sending to me if you get stuck.  ***note – my wife Cindy added this part when she edited my blog post

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