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soda kiln bldg in wi with mel

updated sun 31 mar 02


karen terpstra on sat 30 mar 02

Sorry for this very late notice but had the flu for 9 days after NCECA!
Just thought I'd share with you what we are doing...

This week Thursday afternoon and Friday (Apr. 4 and 5) at the UW-L campus in La Crosse, we will be building a Wisconsin Flat Top Soda Kiln. Any clayarters in the area are welcome. Mel will be sitting in my chair giving directions, talking about ITC, gas, burners, flues, firing, and he will tell stories.....lots of them! Students and guests will do the work. Should be a glorious learning experience for all of us!

We will have the preparation work done. This week we leveled the site(on concrete). Laid down the layer of concrete block, bolted it in place with angle iron. Then put down 2 layers of Insulating fire bricks and the top layer of hard brick for the floor.

We did the welding for the bracing which will be used around the "flat top". We are working on the flue chamber to the existing chimney. That will be done by Monday.

I started laying brick. I love to lay brick! Thought I should have the rows done around the flu to make sure it's right. Then I laid a few more rows. We are building this with a hard brick interior and a soft brick exterior (had the soft brick on hand). The bricks are not the same size so I played with my saw and a bucket of castable.

Since we have some "funny" joints in a couple of the corners due to the size of the bricks, we will dip kawool in ITC and run it up and down the corners for extra insulation and protection. ITC will go on the shelves and posts.

We will do an experiement and put the ITC for metal to the test. We will spray the inside of 2 of the angle irons with silver spray paint (has alumina in it). We will coat the other 2 with ITC for metal. We'll see if there is any difference in the strength of the angle iron.....when I retire!

The kiln will be called the "Alice Kiln".

I think there are about 20 rows of brick (plans are at school). I hope I can keep myself from finishing this thing before Mel gets here. Good thing I have never built a flat top. That's the part where Mel comes in.

The plan was to have just the welding done and concrete blocks in place. Everyone else would do the rest of the work during the workshop. I'm trying to keep myself busy with other things so I can leave some bricklaying for others. And we can't leave Mel with nothing to do while he is here! He will probably have to paint an oil painting, or tear into one of my electric kilns and change it to gas, or teach us how to fix electric wheels and other power tools. He might start throwing 1000 teabowls and never leave.....

If you want to come on over, email me and I'll give you directions and hotel/motel options etc.

Happy firings!

Karen Terpstra
La Crosse, WI

ps. I'm going to go buy dog biscuits. Joyce thinks I have nothing to do but spoil my dog. ;) It's really a diversion so I don't finish the kiln before the workshop!!!

Joyce wrote:

> Not like Karen T.'s Buck who is having a Easter Biscuit Hunt =
> this weekend for a few of his friends!! Now, That's Bad.....