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wood ash/soda

updated mon 23 aug 99


Merrie Boerner on sun 22 aug 99

August 14th was the second time I fired my modified groundhog kiln with
wood. After 21 hours of stoking, we were satisfied with the cone and
pyrometer readings, and closed her up.
We decided to wait until August 21st to unload..... That week's worth of
waiting was about as unbearable as the week I was overdue with my first
pregnancy ! Late in the week, I did succumb to the pressure and climbed in
to see if everything was okay, check out the colors, move things a bit to
see if they were stuck, give the pots some affection.......then e-mail my
friends about what I saw. I'll have to admit, teasing them with written
descriptions of our firing results was quite entertaining : )
FINALLY, Friday night people began to arrive..... Saturday morning I
climbed in to unload the first row of shelves...and stayed to deliver
every pot. I really enjoy being the first to admire and handle each piece !
There were some gorgeous works of art !!!!! ( I say "gorgeous" like my
Mississippi Delta Mom....heavy on the first syllable, almost a whisper,
Gaw-aaa-jussss! ) When I stepped out of the kiln......what a wonderful
sight !!!!! I was overwhelmed by the sea of pots......the variety of
styles.......the friends who had worked so hard together, admiring each
other's work ! We actually counted 403 pieces in a wide variety of sizes
and shapes.
During this firing, when we reached cone 8, we sprayed soda mixed with
water into the flame. I have always loved the effects of soda firings, and
we did have some beautiful results.........HOWEVER.....It took me an hour,
with a hammer and chisel, to break away the bag wall ! The brick runners
(where I place stacking posts) on the sandy floor will have to be replaced
because they are covered with glass (many ruined hard brick)......I will
spend hours grinding shelves and the bottom of (beautiful) pots.....the
soda seems to have washed out the color on many of the glazes..........I
believe that the other potters were very happy with the results, and I'll
probably be much happier after I've made the repairs
firing.... no soda, no salt........give me wood and ash !
One question.....if the cone pads were blasted with soda/water, would
their reading still be accurate ?