Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Just Another Way to Procrastinate Kiln Building

I often walk around in my life with the feeling that other people know something about living that I don't. Like, maybe there was an instruction manual, and my kit just didn't come with it. I always feel like I am just bluffing my way through, vastly relieved that so far no one has noticed that I am not, in fact, a grown-up at all.

I might buy that most people feel this way, more or less, but some clearly don't. I have a friend who, some 3o years ago, bought a shell of an old farmhouse, with no plumbing, wiring, or insulation. He proceeded to install all of those things himself, despite having no education in such matters. He just assumed he could do it, and then he did it.

I particularly envy people who have that kind of confidence about kiln building. My old kiln is demolished, and we took apart the plumbing today, and I have the brick, so there are really no obstacles to construction. Still I linger over The Kiln Book, hoping one more review will cause me to understand such passages as:

The K factor is a measure of orifice efficiency, based upon its shape and approach angles against a frictionless orifice. This efficiency has a value from 0.4 to 1.3. The best atmospheric burners have a value or 0.8 to 0.85

Actually typing it out seemed to have a salutatory effect of my comprehension. Perhaps instead of reading it, I should be copying it over!

Anyway sometimes naming my anxiety decreases it; and tomorrow I must decide the placement of the burners & ports, an necessary step after which I can begin placing and levelling the cinder blocks upon which the kiln will rest. Then come two layers of brick, and then the walls. I will begin by pretending to assume that I can do this thing, and then I will do it.


Unknown said...

I admire your honesty, courage and willingness to jump in the deep end anyway!

Keep us posted on your progress~and challenges, because there are always "growth experiences" ;)

Sue Pariseau Pottery said...

OMG - I'm not alone!!
Kln shed is built, floor was poured last summer, but no kiln has been started. Deciding I was over my head, I contacted a builder to build the kiln for me. Seemed like a good solution to my procrastination. But now, I never seem to find the time to call to schedule his work.

Let's make the leap - I'll make the call today and you decide on your burner locations. We need our kilns, we deserve our kilns and damn it, let's make it happen.

heidi haugen: days with clay said...

one step at a took me several years but i did it. i have a sprung arch downdraft car kiln with 4 venturi burners that fires with propane. i'm not sure what you are building...i think the arch form and skew bricks are the most challenging. you can see a picture of mine at mel jacobsen also has a brand new book on kiln building that might be more accessible than olson's. good luck.

Lori Watts said...

Sue: It's a deal. My burner ports are going 2 bricks back from the front wall, and 1 1/2 bricks forward from the back wall, with a single brick-length between them. I will need a 13 1/2 long hardbrick to bridge each of them.

Now you! Make the call, and thanks.

Lori Watts said...

Heidi -- I know Donovan! He built two kilns for a friend of mine in MN. We used to teach at NCC together.
Ceramics is such a small world. :)

Sue Pariseau Pottery said...

I actually live just a stones throw away from Donovan - he does great work! It really is a very small world.

Now, I'll be giving him a call this evening.

Sue Pariseau Pottery said...

Made the call - got voice mail. But an effort forward anyway. Thanks for the post that prompted the challenge Lori

Sue Pariseau Pottery said...

Just got back from a weekend away and received an e-mail indicated I'd receive a call later this week, but start of construction is anticipated in mid-July. That's almost the same as tomorrow for me.