Manually firing my Cress Kiln - Yellow Cottage Studios (2022)

I have a Cress FX 23 kiln and the speed control works in tandem with the thumb wheel. Setting B is a faster firing. The thumb wheel turns at a certain speed and that is what controls the temperature. After 3 hours I go to check on the kiln and the thumb wheel is still sitting on 1, the kiln is warm but not as hot as it is supposed to be by now.

Manually firing my Cress Kiln - Yellow Cottage Studios (1)

I borrowed this photo from http://kilnrepair.blogspot.com/ because I was too lazy to shoot my own pic

Arghhhhh, something is wrong with my thumb wheel. It is not doing its job. So now I have to manually manage the kiln, and the next 6 hours I find myself babysitting my kiln. About every half hour I turn the thumb wheel just a bit, about a half number, until I get to 8 1/2 which is where the thumb wheel generally ends up on a bisque firing.

Manually firing my Cress Kiln - Yellow Cottage Studios (2)

The kiln sitter, which has been set up with an 06 cone, does its job and turns off the kiln.

This is my Cress operating panel showing my Thumb wheel

When I unloaded the kiln this morning it looks like it all turned out well. But I sure don’t want to have to do that with a glaze firing so I had better fix my kiln.

I called Cress and spoke with a guy who knows everything about these kilns. The first thing he says to try is the move the speed control knob all they way around. If that doesn’t work I should call him back with the model and serial number. So last night I did what he said, turned the empty kiln on and let it fire.

Manually firing my Cress Kiln - Yellow Cottage Studios (4)

Guess what…. it worked! My thumb wheel moved. I am giddy with delight, which brings my spirits up since I had a particularly crappy day at my “real” job.

So the next few hours I got to clean and prep greenware for glazing while I belted out song after song with Adele!

  1. Manually firing my Cress Kiln - Yellow Cottage Studios (5)

    Loretta on March 21, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Yeah! So happy you were able to talk to someone knowledgeable and that you’re working with a company with great customer service!

    Reply

  2. Manually firing my Cress Kiln - Yellow Cottage Studios (6)

    Christina on June 30, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Thank you so much for this post. I’m firing my Cress kiln for the first time today and I was completely lost, having only ever worked the computerized kilns at the studio–set it to 04 and forget about it until tomorrow. I was thinking, “OK…so…where do I set the temp on this thing?” Your post cleared it right up for me–it heats until the cone in the sitter melts and turns it off. I know, I should have figured that out on my own, right? Still…Thanks!

    Reply

    • Manually firing my Cress Kiln - Yellow Cottage Studios (7)

      Dani Montoya on June 30, 2015 at 11:42 am

      I am so thrilled that I could help. I did the same thing as you and searched and searched and searched with no answers!!! Hopefully your firing will turn out awesome. The dial on the Cress, the one you set to 1, is the brains of the kiln. This is what determines how it heats up. Of course you dont need to do anything except set it on 1!!.. I have since retired this kiln for an even more manual (High, medium and low) firing but its bigger than my Cress!!!1

      Reply

  3. Manually firing my Cress Kiln - Yellow Cottage Studios (8)

    Carolyn Sharp on May 19, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    I have the same kiln so you set the wheel on 1and set it to B I’m fixing at glaze 05 is that ok

    Reply

  4. Manually firing my Cress Kiln - Yellow Cottage Studios (9)

    Anonymous on November 3, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    So glad I found your article! Three hours into my first bisque fire with my Cress FX23, and the thumbwheel is still sitting on 1. I think you might’ve saved my day! I’ll advance manually and keep my fingers crossed for the best.

    Reply

    • Manually firing my Cress Kiln - Yellow Cottage Studios (10)

      Dani Montoya on November 3, 2019 at 3:21 pm

      Great. Hope all goes well!

      Reply

  5. Manually firing my Cress Kiln - Yellow Cottage Studios (11)

    Kristine Leathers on February 22, 2020 at 4:44 pm

    Thank you so much for your info. Would you mind sharing your settings for bisque and cone 6 glaze and generally how much time it takes? I have looked and looked for info on this kiln.

    Reply

    • Manually firing my Cress Kiln - Yellow Cottage Studios (12)

      Dani Montoya on February 22, 2020 at 5:26 pm

      Kristine,

      Its been spool many years since I fired this kiln that I am not sure anymore but…

      Using the kilnsitter will shut the kiln down at the correct temperature. According to my blog, I expected the bisque fire to take 6 hours so I set the numbered dial to 7. That dialogs a fail safe so if the kiln sitter didn’t work the kiln will shut off after 7 hours. This may change for you so you will want to make note about how long your firing actually takes before shutting off.

      I set the speed control to B and turned the thumb wheel to 1.

      I hope this sorta helps. Calling Cress really helped me understand this kiln too so I suggest that as well.

      Reply

  6. Manually firing my Cress Kiln - Yellow Cottage Studios (13)

    Kurt Hoffmann on October 21, 2020 at 7:10 pm

    Hi Dani, I am setting up my home studio and found a Cress FX-27. It is old but a great price and in beautiful shape, it was used by the former owner to fire decals. My thumbwheel is not advancing. Sounds like a common problem for Cress. I called Cress and the person I spoke to wasn’t too helpful. You are saying to rotate the the Firemate Speed Control a couple of times and it might re-engage the the Thumbwheel to working order? Any other suggestions? Thank you in advance !

    Reply

    • Manually firing my Cress Kiln - Yellow Cottage Studios (14)

      Dani Montoya on November 9, 2020 at 7:09 am

      Dang I am sorry that Cress wasnt very helpful. Its been a Very long time since I used my Cress but if my memory serves me, my dial was actually just stuck. The cress guy just had me dial it all the way and then back to position. That worked for me.

      After I stopped using the Cress, my next manual kiln was just a low, medium, high kiln. I set it on low for several hours, medium for a few hours then high until it turned off.

      I hope you were able to get something going and has a successful firing.

      Reply

  7. Manually firing my Cress Kiln - Yellow Cottage Studios (15)

    Kim Elder on November 8, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    I have a Cress kiln B-18-H and don’t know how to set the dials. I use cone 04 for greenware and 06 for glazed items in a kiln setter. How would I set it up to run all night without me having to check it every few hours? It has Two dials that I don’t know what they’re for.

    Reply

    • Manually firing my Cress Kiln - Yellow Cottage Studios (16)

      Dani Montoya on November 9, 2020 at 7:12 am

      Hi Kim

      I am unfamiliar with that kiln and it has been years since I fired a manual kiln. Have you tried calling Cress? They were very helpful when I had the same questions

      Reply

  8. Manually firing my Cress Kiln - Yellow Cottage Studios (17)

    Donna on November 25, 2020 at 8:33 am

    Thank you for this post! I purchased a used crest kiln earlier this year and I have finally gotten the hang of operating it, in large part because of your post ☺️

    Reply

    • Manually firing my Cress Kiln - Yellow Cottage Studios (18)

      Dani Montoya on November 27, 2020 at 5:57 am

      Thats great to hear! Thank you for letting me know. Enjoy your play in clay!

      Reply

  9. Manually firing my Cress Kiln - Yellow Cottage Studios (19)

    CeeKay on December 29, 2020 at 12:08 am

    I am about to get a used Cress B23H and know nothing about kilns. I am glad I found your comments here. 👍🏻

    Reply

    • Manually firing my Cress Kiln - Yellow Cottage Studios (20)

      CeeKay on January 17, 2021 at 12:44 am

      …but I still need more help understanding how to operate it re. how to turn it on, and what to do to the two dials.

      Reply

      • Manually firing my Cress Kiln - Yellow Cottage Studios (21)

        Dani Montoya on January 17, 2021 at 7:48 am

        Hi Ceekay

        The kiln turns on with the button on the kiln sitter . You choose a cone for the temperature you want the kiln to shut off. One dial is an “time” dial. Set it to a point that will be just after you expect the kiln to turn off. This is a safeguard in case the kiln sitter fails. Since you dont know yet how long your firings take you will set this initially at a long time. Once you get an idea of length of firing, you can set it more accurately. The other dial is speed control.

        Have you googled for a manual on it. Thats what I did, i also called Cress and spoke with a guy there. It was all very confusing at first but eventually i figured it out.

        Reply

  10. Manually firing my Cress Kiln - Yellow Cottage Studios (22)

    Faith on February 5, 2022 at 11:49 pm

    I am looking a purchasing a used Cress FX23B that’s in great condition. I have taken multiple pottery classes and been throwing on and off for about a year, but we never learned a lot about the kilns. Can you tell me how to know which cone a kiln can fire to? Which cone does your Cress FX23B fire to? Thank you!

    Reply

    • Manually firing my Cress Kiln - Yellow Cottage Studios (23)

      Dani Montoya on February 6, 2022 at 3:54 am

      Hi Faith and Congratulations on your new Used Kiln!! Since writing that post I have retired my old kiln however I sure can give you some guidance.

      Your Cress Kiln should fire up to a Cone 6 temperature which is used for Stoneware. That is what I fired too for my glaze firing. I fired to cone 05 for bisqueware. When loading the small cone in the cone sitter, where you place that cone will make a slight difference in the final temperature so I also used the large, stand-alone cones inside my kiln to see what it Really fired too. To be honest, I could never get the hang of cone packs but you might want to give that a go as well while you learn your kiln.

      Reply

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