Sunday, March 11, 2012

March 10 - Firing!

Saturday was firing day!  We fired the kiln in record time (10 hours).  I got there a bit later than I had planned, but hit the time when more stoking was required so it worked out pretty well.

Stoking the kiln is a team sport since you can't spend much time in front of the firebox.  When the door is opened we each walk up and shove a slab into the kiln, stepping out of the way for the next person to put their slab in.  I was worried about missing a step and causing problems since I was new to the process, but did okay.  (A slab is the outside of a log that gets sliced off at the saw mill.)

We were going to 2380F and in front of the firebox the temperature was over 2000F for most of the afternoon.  It seems counter intuitive, but you need to wear long sleeves, long (thick) pants, a hat with a bill, and of course, gloves.  There is a zone directly in front of the kiln where six inches is the difference between clothing that feels hot and lost hair and/or singed skin.  Being the newbie, I had several run-ins with the heat.

The first time was when I pushed a slab in and when it didn't go in all the way my instinct was to reach over and shove it with my hand.  Big mistake.  Once I crossed that six inch perimeter my leather glove was so hot I had to take it off.  It got that way in about one and a half seconds.

At 2100F pushing a slab into the kiln causes the slab to ignite instantly.  It's very strange to see that happen.   Push the slab in, immediately pull it back and it's ablaze like it had been in the fire for ten minutes.

Corine spoiled us with some great boiled peanuts (one of my favorites!), a hearty rigatoni pasta bake, and a wonderfully moist pineapple cake.  Everything was delicious and very much appreciated.

We ran the kiln up to 2380F, held it there and when Hal checked the cone packs cone 12 was down in the front and the one in the back was bent so we stopped stoking and closed it up.  Now it will cool until Tuesday or Wednesday before Hal climbs back inside and unloads it.

After the kiln was finished Corine, Hal, Corwin and I went to the back porch to sit (I'd forgotten how to do it by then) and have a cold beer.  It's a nice time to relax after a lot of hot work.

Corine and Hal are some of the nicest people I know (and I know a lot of nice people!) and I always look forward to spending time with them.  Thanks for a wonderful experience.

I can't wait until September for the next firing.

Dave, Chad, and Hal waiting for the next round.

One hot place.

Chad and Corwin stoking.

Getting our blast on.
That fire coming out of the chimney is coming all the way
from the firebox in the front of the kiln.

After the last stoke we can see some pots.

That jug on the left is mine.

My jug is still in the flames...

...and glowing red hot.

They're all glowing.
That tall one is Adrienne's.

This is Cookie.

She's beautiful, 

but getting her to stay still for a picture is a challenge.
Cookie is a sweetie.

Corine calms her.

Corwin enjoying the calm.

Hal, enjoying the sit down after a job well done.


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