Saturday, May 30, 2009

Firing the wood fired kiln 04

The Olympic flame in Waikouaiti! Towards the end of the firing we sometimes grow a beautiful flame out of the chimney.

The last 100 degrees or so is often the hardest, and this firing was no exception. I think that the timber we used had something to do with that, and we ended up having a bit of a struggle, however, we got there, and Laura managed to take some lovely photos of fire dancing out of the chimney top as we made our final ascent.

The firing took exactly 13 hours from my 2.30am start, so were able to stop stoking at 3.30pm.

Stoking the kiln with just over an hour to go. The firebox looks small, but it runs the whole length of the kiln.

It was good to be finishing in daylight, as there are always about an hour's worth of things that have to be done around the kiln after the firing, and it would be weary work in the dark. One important task is "clamming up" the kiln. This is where the kiln is sealed up to stop cold air rushing in through the firebox when the fire has gone out.

Clamming up the kiln. I have piled up bricks in front of the firebox, and am sealing up the gaps between them with ash and sand.

We fired to what I hope will be an average of cone 11, with cone 10 reached in the cooler parts of the kiln, and cone 12 where the kiln is hottest.

In this photo a small brick is removed from the kiln door to allow me to check the cones.

I realize that I guessed the size of cones wrongly in one of the earlier posts, they are 2 inches long, not 3... My brain isn't running too well on only 2 hours of sleep last night. I'll leave it until my next post to explain what the different cone numbers mean, and to give more detail of the firing, as am a bit to0 tired now.

The wind was strengthening through the course of the day, and the first gray clouds started to rush up from the south as the sun went down. We are supposed to be in for snow to sea level tonight.

Thanks to all of you who sent comments whilst the firing was in progress, it was good to hear from you, and it was great that Laura was able to take over the stoking so I could do the blog.


Arkansas Patti said...

Love the torch photos. Had no idea you had to sit, watch, and control the kiln process for so long a period. Thanks to your posts,I really have a better appreciation of pottery and the potters who produce such lovely works.

potterboy said...

Looks like a successful firing - fingers crossed for the results.

Peter said...

Thanks Patti and potterboy for being in touch through the firing, it was fun sharing it with someone.
I'm a bit nervous about the results of the firing, but... we'll just have to wait and see! P.

Amy said...

will be fun to see what the kiln brings! great post.

Peter said...

Hi Amy,

I hope that it is fun! I've just got a worry or two that I might have got things too hot, but we will probably know tomorrow.