Beware! Kiln talk below
This morning bright and early in the chillingly damp air Will and I loaded up the "new" baby converta-soda-kiln down where we teach at Arts Centered. The key point I have to say is that this was built using all scrap materials, from an old electric kiln to very old warped and broken silicon carbide kiln shelves. It doesn't fit many pots in it, but each student was able to get a couple of pieces in as well as some glaze test tiles with all of the studios house glazes on them so we can see how they fare in here. Will had some obstacles to work around to fit it underneath the kiln shed roof, so it is snuggled right next to the raku kiln.
Basically he took out all the elements and the floor ring and built up the brick floor and walls a bit so that the 2 raku burners could be positioned on opposite sides of each other. This also gave more room for stacking space since the burners are actually below the area where the "shell" of the electric kiln wall begins. The shelves we had to work with were small and not quite the right size for an octagonal kiln, but hey, we're recycling here! There really is no chimney on this, only a hole that is cut out of the kiln roof, or lid. We thought she might fire in no time, but it took a while to figure out the adjustments to keep the climb. The damper is a kiln brick that you could move over the hole in the lid. Eventually it fired off after 7.5 hours, but we think the hole in the lid, (or exit flue) needs to be much bigger. The kiln was getting choked up since it didn't have enough pull from the chimney, or LACK of chimney, so we found that we were limited without the usual tools you would have firing a normal kiln with better options for changing the air to gas ratio using dampers, passives or air flaps, etc. Will drilled holes through the kiln wall all around that he sprayed the soda into. He sprayed in 2 pounds of soda...I wanted to dare and go more, but Will was betting for the safe side. We'll see...
at any rate, we'll figure out what to do next time, right?
Then I came back to my studio, threw a board of more mugs, trimmed some cups, slipped some mugs, textured some other cups and even prewedged my clay for tomorrow- Teapots on the agenda for tomorrow!
(So much for my Monday-Friday schedule, it didn't last very long did it? I do think it did make me work more efficiently during those days, though. It's overflowing into my weekend, but at least I got out last weekend while it was pretty.)