Friday, February 20, 2009

Finally a Firing

Still no photos, sorry. Unloading tomorrow, hopefully.

 I nearly postponed the firing again, as the weather service predicted 8 to 12 inches of snow, but knowing what alarmists they are, I decided to proceed. Good thing, too - we got less than six inches in Augusta, and no more than two in Newcastle, where the kiln is. 

When I arrived Thursday morning. the pilots had gone out. I decided to turn on the burners anyway, and one of the cone packs popped! I only lost Cone 8, but surely the debris and the cone itself are in the ware, ready to become glaze flaws. So, let it cool, unbrick the wall, clean out the remains, new cone pack?

Oh, hell, no. A pox on this firing; I decided to just get it over with. The bad news is, the thermocouples were completely shot - that's why the pilots went out - so I did the whole firing with weights on the baso valves. This is a major no-no, as the valves are there to prevent propane build-up should the burner blow out, which could result in a explosion. Because I had overridden this important safety feature, I had to stay beside the kiln, in the snow, for the entire eight hours. I often have thermocouples in my car (along with one of every other man-made thing) but not this time. I couldn't feel my feet by the time it fired off; but I could see them, so I knew they were still there. 

All I can say is, it had better be a good firing. I have my doubts, though, as the door seemed  a little loose. I was trying a new sealing method, as Reed, the facilities manager at Watershed, prefers that I not use the very effective newspaper-and-slip method, because of the mess. Reed is an awesome facilities manager precisely due to this slightly obsessive tendency, so I am happy to accommodate; but I am not sure I got the new method (coils of door mud between the bricks) right. Lots of red in the kiln, so a loose door is likely to create a disappointing firing. 

I increased the amount of soda fifty percent, from four pounds to six, three each of baking soda and soda ash. Because the #8 cone was gone, I started the vapor glazing when nine was visibly soft. 

I'll see results tomorrow. 

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