Paper-based records
The straightforward way for many people is to fill out a blank paper form with the planned firing schedule, then program the kiln controller for that schedule. As the firing progresses, you annotate the sheet of paper to show actually happens, and what the outcome was. Finally, after it is all over and the pieces out of the kiln, you file the sheet away in a ring-back folder.

Graham Stone's book contains schedules you can copy for this purpose, or you can print one of my blank schedules. To do this, you need to have Microsoft Excel installed on your PC. Download the Records file, edit 'Your Name' and the 'Kiln' description to suit you, and print the file. Then photocopy or re-print as often as you need copies.

Computer-based records
Personally, I don't keep paper-based records; space is too valuable to waste on filing cabinets. I keep my records on computer, and I rely on them to catch most silly transcription and arithmetic errors. I therefore designed an Excel spreadsheet, into which I can type the steps of the program, and which then automatically calculates the start time of all segments, and the peak (working) segment - so you can check progress visually and be ready to crash-cool the kiln if you want.

I therefore fill out a schedule for each firing and simply save them in a 'Firing records' folder on my PC. I have the records going back to when I first got the kiln; if I repeat a previous firing I will usually just make a copy of the previous record and change the date and the work description. To make this workable, I incorporate the date in the file name, such as '2000-08-14 Spiral Bowl'.

The advantage of this is that you can gradually improve your schedules, and accumulate data on your kiln's performance under various conditions. You can repeat a previous firing exactly. You never lose pieces of paper. Electronic record-keeping may not be for everyone, but it is certainly my method of choice. For tax purposes and cost estimation, it may be essential.

Links to files
Instructions (pdf, 27kB)
Records for 8 stages Ramp + Soak eg Rampmaster II (Excel, 43 kB)

Feedback
I would be grateful for any responses to these sheets. If you find any errors please tell me.
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 Copyright 2003+ Arthur Sale
Last Modified: 27 December 2010