Heating a kiln is one of the largest expenses of running a pottery business. They require a great deal of energy to reach the correct temperatures to fire clay and kaolin pieces to bisque or for glazing. One of the best ways to keep costs under control is to make sure the clay and glazes used in the pieces to be fired require the same temperature. Heating a piece too much or too little can ruin both the piece and the glaze. This means adding more firings to the schedule and that drives up costs.
When firing pottery, it is important to take the time to match the cones needed for each piece. Doing so means less time spent running this expensive piece of equipment. While it may mean some pieces may need to wait longer before firing, customers appreciate lower firing costs. For them this is a necessary expense, but it is also a large expense and cutting costs saves them money too. Plan a regular schedule for the most popular cones to be fired and this will give artists a chance to make sure their pieces are done in a timely manner.
When choosing glazes for customers to buy and use, select glazes with recipe temperatures consistent with the kiln firing schedule. Glazes with a higher mix of refractory materials will make the silica sand in the glaze melt at a lower temperature. This means each scheduled firing will have every shelf filled and need fewer runs. It will make the operation more efficient for both the company and the artists. For those who want glazes with higher cone temperatures, make sure to have a special storage area for these pieces.
Running a pottery business is not always easy or cost effective. Taking measures to combine workload and cut down costs are always a necessity to make a profit. Planning glaze mixes high in refractory materials to melt silica sand at a lower temperature is a good start on keeping costs in check. Making the time to complete a cone schedule for kiln firings is just one of the many ways to serve customers economically.