Sunday, February 22, 2009

The first bisque

My friend Tom White (potter in Northfield, MA) suggested I do a bisque firing in the new kiln first. This was excellent advice and it offered me a chance to play with the burners and get to know the kiln a bit before trying a reduction firing.

  • Nothing blew up!
  • The cones were quite different front to back.
  • The "bag wall" or row of baffle bricks needs to be extended along the whole bottom shelf.

Tanner has mixed up about 9 or 10 new glazes during the past month - and I plan to fire her up again in about a week. I'm running another bisque in the electric kiln tonight and hope that will be enough to fill the gas kiln with test pieces. The new kiln has 24 cubic ft. of stacking space, where as the electric kiln has only 7 cubic ft.

Monday, February 9, 2009

That wasn't so bad

4:15 am - woke to light the first burner and stayed up to check on the kiln often. Seems like everything is in good working order. A few problems came up - needed to replace the battery in the thermocouple and adjust the left pilot which kept blowing out once I lit the first burner. But there's nothing like a little problem-solving before breakfast. The kiln is now cooling after reaching cone 06 at 10:15 am.

I had a terrible dream that I had built a complicated wood kiln with climbing chambers that were accessed by lots of tiny stair cases and I kept getting lost while trying to stoke the kiln myself. It was such a relief to wake up and realize I just had to turn on a burner.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Kiln is ON

Sunday night at 6pm and the pilot has been lit for my first bisque with the gas kiln. I spent lots of time reading the manual today - adjusted the door brick, repaired some broken brick and played with the burners a bit before loading the kiln. "Screw Fear" is the motto I'm sticking with this year - so I just lit her up and came in for a bowl of chicken soup. I've checked on the pilot a few times and it is doing just fine. I'll light the other before bed and wake up early to turn on the burners.

What is really kind of cool is that I went up to Lyme NH to meet Barbara on February 9th 2008 - to look at a kiln she wanted to sell. Exactly one year later I am firing her for the first time. It seems meant to be.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Capped and Caulked

We finished a few things on our punch list today in this balmy 41 degrees - and hope to fire the kiln up with a bisque firing in the next few days! Tim finished building the box that supports the weight of the chimney and got the cap installed. We will try and caulk all the seems tomorrow with high-temp caulk if we can find the caulk gun and I'll be reading the kiln manual the rest of the weekend to re-fresh my memory before we fire her up! There are a few adjustments to make tomorrow on the kiln door brick before I try and load the pots.