December 2, 2009

Thoughts and Highlights

The kiln the afternoon of the firing.
As you can see, the kiln is in need of some serious maintainence!
That will have to happen before the next firing.
More about that to come after we open the kiln and get an assessment of the latest cracks.

It became a cold wet day. A chill to the bone for most but for those around the kiln it was just fine. No better place to be on such a day.

wood adjustment station
While not counting our chickens before they hatch, the firing seemed to go as usual except for a couple of snaffoos. The big one was the wood being cut a little long! doh! So I set up a table and a jig to cut the wood to the correct length while Alan kept up the stoking.

Another potential problem was the grate system. Before I start to load the kiln I always check the iron grates (3" schedule 40 black pipe) with the slam of my square edged shovel. This usually gives me an idea how solid they are. They all seemed fine when I did this, but about halfway through the firing, they started breaking in half. The snaffoo on my part was not having any back up grates. I usually have a few around for this very need. So we just kept stoking! I adjusted the dampers and primary air to make up for the stokes laying on top of the coals. It seemed fine! Maybe I can save my $$$ and go without in the future. But I think it worked only because we already had a pretty big pile of coals by that time in the firing. Going without grates in the early part of the firing may not work as well without the coals.

the "golden key" being stoked

Kyle Carpenter came by to visit the potters of Snow Creek Road on the big firing day! As an honorary fireman, we gave him the key to the kiln. And he stoked it! All the while he was brandishing his new DSLR. I was hoping to distract him enough that he might forget it and leave it behind, but no such luck.

Here's Alan (aka the big cheese) Gratz pulling a salt ring at the end of the long day.

Evelyn came up for a visit and did some reading from her new set of books. I think she decided to read her "Dragonology " book for the firing! After shivering and wimpering about the damp cold and wind, we set her up next to the chimney. Since there's no insulation around the bricks it's a pretty cozy place to be.

Here is a pot I'm hoping to see throught he spy. It's at the top of the kiln. I placed glass on all four handles that I saw slumping onto the pot around 1500°F. It was pretty cool. Then it started to run around 2000°F.

And now I sit here and wait it out. I'm about to head out to run a bunch of errands. But before that I'll walk up to kiln again and check the pyrometer and maybe pull the dampers out. Maybe I can get a snapshot through the spy bricks. If I only had that hi temp camera that I could lower into the kiln to get some sneak peeks!