gary navarre on mon 10 may 10
Whah So Hay Crew,
Gone too far to give up now! You know the old saying, "Quitters never win =
and winners never quit!" we got from our high school gym coaches in track p=
ractice right? Too bad I found out about girls about the second month of pr=
actice 'cause I coulda been a contender. I found I had a knack for clay and=
Art too and trying my hands at that became pretty good so in college I tri=
ed partying with the Artists and girls and got pretty good at that too. The=
n the artists turned into scrap yard laborers, jug stomping oil hunters, 3r=
d. shift factory rats, under the table contractors, and the girls turned in=
to mental patients, sluts, and drunks and there was no more clay or Artists=
or Art. So I said "Ta hell wid it Lord, I've had enough! Hep me outa dis m=
ess and get that damn curse off me! Thank you for my upcoming healing!" and=
moved to da U.P. to let the Power of the Universe figure me out what to do=
That was eight years ago and I really didn't care or think about getting i=
nto pottery again. Hell, I became satisfied just getting out of bed and not=
going to the fridge to pop a top. After a couple years a location from som=
e folks who are like a patron came to me and I had a job and saved a bunch =
of beer money so I thought I'd giv'er some more and see if I could make the=
kiln I'd dreamed of before starting my last 12 year drunk. So here we are =
with one firing load under our belt...
... and I'm getting ready to re-fire everything that survived unbroken from=
the first firing. However since I haven't done this in 20 years I could us=
e any ideas to refresh my memory, or learn something new, as to what to do =
differently that might help us make this next firing better.
So far I have gotten more hard brick and lagged in the stack up to 166", w=
hich is a kiln shelf chimney cap short of 14', and added some used house br=
ick to the outside. These I staggered the horizontal seams so cracks will n=
ot show through. At about 12' I added another passive damper hole out of a =
soap brick which makes 4 holes up the stack and the active damper slot if I=
want a good slice of air about nut high...
I've had only a couple of loading suggestions in this 9' long 65cu.ft. cro=
ss draft chamber including keeping the top of the chamber rather tight and =
opening the space between pots in the tail and mid sections. I think I can =
see where I was thinking more of a smaller kiln, maybe even a gas load beca=
use of all the conservation of energy talk, and a tighter load worked in my=
smaller 30cu.ft.version so I stacked each shelf with the same sized pots. =
As I look at other folks wood kilns it seems each setting has taller pots o=
n the back edge of a shelf, medium sizes across the middle, and smaller pie=
ces along the front of the shelf. Then the next setting toward the front re=
peats the pattern so it looks likes the flame would kinda go like a wave go=
ing woompphp woompphp woompphp (making wave like motions with my arms) up a=
nd down through the pots. I'm having a hard time visualizing the flame thro=
ugh the load from the top view but I guess if I give everything an
extra finger width between I'd get a better "Plinko" action instead of mak=
ing the flame work too hard to get through the tight spaces.
I think the front was loaded too open with a 9" high shelf right in front =
of the throat arch and a shelf above it keeping the flame from going to the=
In the new setting I think I'll tighten up the bottom front with a couple =
shelves of cups and set the upper shelves along the sides of the crown and =
leave a void in the middle for the flame from the throat arch to rise up al=
ong the top...
There is a repair to the mouse hole in the firebox needing attention...
and I have two ways of fixing it ...
I think I'll use the former for the time being. I can slather the shelf sp=
ot with some slurry lag and press the repair shelf over the break. Then I'l=
l mix some castable with slurry water and bevel around the edges hopefully =
trapping the repair into place until it is fired in. If this doesn't provid=
e enough mousehole air I can always do the later and see what happens. My h=
ope is the tighter taller stack will cause a better draft through the mouse=
hole when the other air is closed. The use of less heavy hardwood logs and =
more lightweight Pine will probably reduce the chances of more damage from =
a poorly stoked log and tend to not clog up with long lasting coals. So muc=
h for now, stay in there eh!
Norway, Michigan, USA