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Pottery/Skutt Kiln Model 181 2 Knob Kiln


I am learning how to run this kiln and have the hours on the
turning schedule but is there a button to turn on..had it
all set to go but the light on the kiln did not come on..I had
the cone 6 in place ....

thanks for your help


Dear Patti,

Thank you for your recent question. Years ago, this kiln model was changed to Skutt Kiln Model 818, so I will reference to this model as there is no longer reference manuals for the 181 model. Although I have answered this question before on AllExperts, I am also going to direct you to the manual in which you can read about how to set the kiln sitter. This is where your problem lies.

Go to and click on the Resources tab. Select the letter S. Find the title "Skutt KS Operating Manual". Go to page 9 and read "Firing Your New Kiln". This will explain how to use the kiln sitter and set up the kiln for firing.

Although this reading is for a test firing, the only things that will change are the cone you will use and the timer setting, everything else is how the kiln will be set to fire. You will choose the cone you need for the kiln sitter and the timer will be set just a lot longer than the time allotted for the cone to bend until you know how long it takes for your kiln to reach maturing cone temperature.

You will need to fire the kiln for the first time, watching it to determine what to set the timer on the next time. The timer is the knob on the front with the many numbers. Since every kiln fires at a different rate, you will need to set the timer on it's highest setting and watch the kiln a couple of hours after you set the kiln temperature to the highest setting (the knobs on the side of the kiln control box). These knobs are the knobs that you will use to ramp up the kiln temperature.

Use column 3 on page 10 of the manual to set the temperature knobs. When you set the first setting, write down the time. Once you have set the knobs to the high and closed the kiln lid, you can leave the kiln for no longer than 2 hours. Then come back to watch the kiln until the kiln sitter flips off. When the sitter flips off, firing is done and you should write down the time. Subtract the ending time from the beginning time to get the time it took to fire the kiln to cone 6.

You should do this type of firing for at least 3 to 5 firings to assure you get a good estimate of what the firing time is before using the timer. When you decide to use the timer, set it for 1 hour longer than the figured time to assure the timer doesn't shut the kiln off before the kiln sitter does. The kiln sitter is your assurance that the kiln reaches cone maturing temperature. The timer prevents the kiln from over firing if the kiln sitter fails.

Just remember, never leave the kiln for long periods of time as it can fail and catch fire. No sitter or timer if fail proof.

I hope this helps you. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact me again at 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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