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the four day kiln & crew

updated sat 24 may 03


Dannon Rhudy on fri 23 may 03

> We had a good time doing the work and thanks to
Dannon's attention to detail and willingness to draw on all
of the wonderful resources of the clay
community, the kiln is better than anytdhing I have seen for sale. Nine
> inch brick walls and a tapered car for a good seal. There are so many of
> these little details reminding us of all the innovation and hard work by
> Nils Lou, Fred Olsen and others that we can build on.........
> It worked out well with a girls' team. We counted on Dannon for the
> technical end of things and she turned to me for the personal choice

I've been home a half-day or so, giving some intermittent thought
to the kiln, building it, and so on.

It was a most interesting experience. It went pretty smoothly, all
things considered. I'd never used that particular castable, and
though I've built a number of kilns, this is the first one I've built
with a car. But not the last. I love that car, and it did not add
a great deal to the cost of the kiln. I planned it out as well as
I could in advance, but it is easier for me to "lay things out"
as it were, physically. I can do it on paper, and did, but I only
seem to find the errors when I'm staring at them
face to face......

The car design was a modified version of Nils' car from his first
"Art of Firing" book. I was a little anxious about it, but in fact
it fit properly first go. Thank you, Nils. We all worked well
together - it was a pleasure. The door was tricky, because
we had to keep the brick flush with the face of the kiln.
A couple of adjustments here and there, but it all came together,
as it were. The vertical burners are a treat, and completely out
of the way - I find lots of plumbing around the base of a kiln to
be a major annoyance, always in the way, so bringing the gas
in high on the wall and running these straight down was a good solution.
Each burner has it's little "cradle" of soft brick, and a tab to
connect it to the kiln. Maybe Linda can get a good close-up
of those tabs, and post it, because they seem like a good solution.

All of this work was eased by the surroundings. The site of this
place is among the most beautiful I've ever seen. High on a hill
overlooking Cuyoga Lake to the south. The scenery was stunning -
there is no other word for it. Soon as I get some photos back I'll
try to post an image or two. We did not have to
think about meals, because Bruce cooked and planned and was
in fact a remarkable host, an extremely nice man.
We only hurt his feelings once (well, that he let us know about)
by being late for shish kabobs at lunch. He thought they might
dry out, but we were at a no-stopping
place. I worked everyone on the crew pretty hard, but - time
was limited. I had to leave on Thursday whether we were done or
not, and Tuesday was sightseeing & hiking day. That was fun,
but I admit to some twinges of anxiety about time. We got back
by four, in time to do another three or four hours of work, and
get everything ready for the welding on Wednesday. We did not
do the welding ourselves, I can do simple stuff but deemed it best
to get a professional. We did, he was great, did a terrific job. I
did catch him chuckling to himself a couple times, but was wise
enough not to ask him WHY. (Bonnie informed me after a while
that I looked like a coal miner. She was right; I'd been handling
all that steel, and apparently wiping my gloves on my face.......)

All in all, it seemed a very worth-while effort, and great fun
besides. Linda's got a remarkable set-up there, her studio
space is terrific, with a separate space for pug mill and tile saws
and other stuff. She is already picking up speed on tiles and sinks,
getting back into the groove of production. She sure seemed to
be smiling a lot.


Dannon Rhudy