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Pottery/Cress FireMate - Thumbwheel Stuck


I have a cress firemate/thumbwheel type older kiln
my thumbwheel is stuck at 1 and will not advance
the kiln has been firing o.k. with the cone (so far)
what could be the problem and is there anything I can do?

Dear Teri,

Thank you for your recent question. There are three reasons why the thumb wheel maybe stuck. The first are dirty contacts. The easiest way to clean them is to flip or turn the control setting from fast to slow setting counterclockwise then back to the fast setting. Do this approximately three times to clean the contacts and then try firing again.

The second reason may be the panel wiring is hitting against relay causing relay to be
stuck closed. With the kiln unplugged, move the wiring away from the relay.

Third, the speed control device is faulty. The only solution to this is to replace the speed control switch. You can usually find one on EBay or at a used kiln store. The number for the replacement is (INF 240D953B).

As for firing without the controller, this is perfectly fine, as long as you are able to watch the kiln during the last 30 or so minutes of firing so you can turn the kiln off when the cone bends. Many potters fire older model kilns with just a kiln sitter and nothing more. Some fire with just cone packs and have used timing charts for years (like myself) to determine when to ramp, soak and cool down a kiln. All of those fancy gadgets may be great for those who want to walk away from their kilns and let electronics fire the kiln for them, however, I prefer to be a big part in the firing of my pottery at all stages, so I never really had the use for thumbwheels, pyrometers and computerized kilns. So if you wish to fire you kiln using only a kiln sitter or kiln pack, go ahead and do so. I would just recommend that you use a firing chart to keep track of the firing schedule so you will have a good idea when you want to turn your kiln off or do a major ramp, soak, etc.

I hope this helps you. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact me again any time. I am always at your service.

Ms. Ti Phillips
Earth Stoke 'N Fire Pottery Studio and Artist Retreat


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Ti Phillips


Will answer any questions on hand building, wheel, glaze, firing. Speciality questions to include those in glaze calculation and development, firing techniques. Please do not send questions on identifying pottery. Although I would love to add this to my question topics, I have a retreat to run as well as the studio and volunteering on AllExperts, and therefore do not have the available time to research indentification and marks. Thank you for understanding.


Experience includes 30 years in pottery design and education. Have taught online and studio classes worldwide for the last 20 years. Own a pottery retreat specializing in firing techniques. Have 12 years solid experience in glaze calculation and formulation as well as problem solving in glaze chemistry. I am the first potter in the United States to have developed a complete package of pottery equipment blueprints for a studio. The blueprints include wheels, kilns, studio furniture, wedgeboards, raku kilns, slab rollers, ball mills and studio tools.

Alliance of Pottery Artists Worldwide Association

Ceramic Industry - PPP Wyndstryder Press - Pottery Journal

University of Sciences and Art's of Oklahoma, studied under Professor Jaymes Dudding.

Awards and Honors
Potter of the year with APAWA, various awards for showmanship and design.

Past/Present Clients
Available upon request.

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