Saturday, June 5, 2010

Blogging Cinder Block Saturday

...and it's pouring. No fair! There is of course a kiln shelter, but the blocks are not currently under it. Will the sand level out true if it's wet? Maybe it will stop by the time I have a second cup of coffee and get dressed.
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Okay, scrambled eggs and refired beans (not a typo; that's what I call them) under my belt, a third cup of coffee, and though the rain has diminished, it's still pretty steady. I am off to Home Depot to buy angle iron: either one piece, 6 ft long, to do the levelling, or all four, since I will need them for the kiln's exo-skeleton. Do they sell angle iron at Home Depot? Hmmm...well, if they don't I'll let you know. You know what I miss? Fleet Farm. As the name implies, it is actually a farm supply store, but, excepting refractories, you can get anything you need for kiln building at Fleet Farm. If you live in Minnesota. Which I don't, anymore.

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Okay, I got the angle iron...but it doesn't look right. Angle iron is supposed to be blackish and look like it was forged by Vulcan himself, as primal as clay. This is metrosexual angle iron, bringing to mind skyscrapers and briefcases. In fact this isn't iron at all; it's steel. 

Geez louise, what does it matter? I'm only using it today to level the sand. Anyway steel is stonger, right? That's why they invented steel. Superman is called the Man of Steel, not the Man of Iron. Silver is a nice color. I'll get used to it. 

It is a measure of my inexperience that something like this is throwing me into a minor tizzy. Anyway I don't have to decide today. Later I'll call Paul Dresang, who taught me everything I know about kiln building. HA! Maybe I will have a word with him about that, too. Seriously, though, Paul will know the answer and be kind enough not to laugh at the question. 

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Two pieces of not-necessarily intuitive information, leftover from the plumbing removal:

  • No end of propane pipe can be left open without a either baso valve or a cap, regardless of how many simple valves are between the tank and the open end. The propane company will throw a legitimate hissy fit, and perhaps even pull your service. 
  • DO NOT use a rubber cap for a propane pipe. Propane as it emerges from the tank, where it is liquid, is so cold that, should it ever touch the rubber, it will freeze and likely crack it, rendering it useless. I got a metal cap. I got the wrong size at first, because I meansured the exterior dimension of the pipe. Pipe sizes are described by the internal diameter. Fine Mess Pottery: We fuck up, so you don't have to!

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80 pounds of sand. WIll it be enough? Hard tellin', not knowin', as we say in Maine.

And the answer is, "Yes!" 80 pounds of sand looks like about the right abount to level an approximately 4' x 4' kiln. It does make me wonder, though: What is to stop the sand from slowly washing away, over years? I should think of a way to protect against that. Othe people don't use as much sand, I think, because they probably start with more level concrete pads.

And now for the slow process of levelling the blocks. They beed to be levelled both the long way and the short way, individually and relative to each other. This is looking to take longer than I expected, so I am publishing now, against the possibility that this will take all day, and I won't feel like typing anymore, when I am done.
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