I was able to build the entire first layer -- soft brick to protect the cinder blocks -- out of salvaged brick. Sweet! I got all the way to the last course before I had cut a brick. I took it as as my sign to take a break, since my coping saw needs a blade. Doug and I took a walk to the hardware store, which happens to be across the street from our neighborhood pub...you can see where this story is going. Doug likes to order oddball drinks, that small town bartenders won't see often; this young lady was easily stumped by a Vodka Gimlet. Anyway we are done kiln building for the day. Tomorrow it's back to the IPTOG, so I won't make any progress until Thursday. Maybe Wednesday night, if the weather cooperates.
It's not a technical, kiln building tip, but I do want to suggest: if you, like me, suffer from anxiety when faced with a challenge, try writing it out! I experinced a paralyzing anxiety from the moment I ordered the brick (notice how few blog posts in March, April, and May) until I wrote out my fears. Now I can't wait to build! If it doesn't reach temperature, well, hell -- I'll keep adjusting it until it does! If need be, I'll tear it down and rebuld it! But that won't happen. I've got Fred Olsen (and a few other knowledgable friends) on my side. This is gonna be good.