Most of the cordierite shelves that I'm using in my 17 c.f. Olympic downdraft kiln are about 10 years old now, and many are showing their age. Some are cracked and need props in stacking and sooner or later will collapse. None, as far as I can tell, are level. The leveling problem is not a big deal, since I fire on wads, but the cracking is worrisome.
Anyway, I'm facing buying maybe 10 new shelves for the kiln, and I'm not sure what to get. I could replace with cordierite, which is the cheapest alternative but heavy as hell and I'd love to not have to put in those heavy shelves in the back. I could go with Advancers and spend about $2,000 and then hope to God I never got them wet and face an explosion. Or I could go with the nitride-bonded silicon carbide, which is a bit more expensive but much lighter than the cordierite. Bailey warns about going from ambient temperature to 100F too quickly, which I guess I could prevent by just burning my igniter bars slowly up past 100, then turning on the burners.
Basically, I'd love to go with lighter shelves and save my back a bit.
Anyone out there have any advice on the matter?
Photos: The current shelves in much cleaner and flatter years. And a temmoku pot fired on those very shelves. Oops. Not a temmoku pot at all. That's glazed in an amber ash glaze. Sorry about that.