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what i learned firing the kiln today

updated mon 7 dec 09


Deborah Thuman on sun 6 dec 09

If you turn the handle the wrong way, the gas pressure drops and the
temp in the kiln doesn't rise. (Right, about 200 undergrad credits, 2
undergrad degrees, 3 foreign languages, law degree, and I had to learn
that the hard way.)

Be VERY careful of advice given by someone who doesn't fire the manual
gas kiln. Because if you don't turn those center burners on, it ain't
never gonna reach ^6.

Bring food. Firing the kiln will take WAY longer than I think and
eating food from the vending machine isn't the healthiest food I could

Get too close to that peep hole, and my hair gets singed. I meant to
do that.

Reduction firing is fun. Of course, flames coming out the peep holes
aren't nearly as exciting during the day. No that wasn't how my hair
got singed. I managed that before I got to the reduction part.

It's pretty important to get the cones lined up in the pack the right
way. Otherwise, two cones go down, third stays up and fourth goes down.

I did manage to keep the temp at both the bottom and top of the kiln
pretty much the same. The cones went down at the same time and in the
same way.

I also managed to get all the handles into the off position and get
the main valve in the off position. This is good. Right now, the kiln
is slowly cooling. I'll unload Tuesday night. It might be okay to
unload tomorrow night, but I have something else scheduled.

Yes, there will be photos.

I got everything in the gas kiln except the giant pig snout. I fired
that in one of the electric kilns and I'm starting to seriously
dislike the fiber clay I'm using. That's the second sculpture that
cracked. I deliberately fired it very slowly. Still got cracks that
weren't there after bisque firing. Bleah!

Deb Thuman