Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pick Myself Up, Dust Myself Off...

Start all over again.

Well, not all over. As you can perhaps imagine after reading this, I was pretty discouraged last night. Like a cork in the ocean, however, I don't stay down for long. I took some comfort in Nina's reassuring words, and started looking for my silver lining. I found a few:

  • I turned the burners off around midnight, at barely ▲05. I didn't bother to block the burner ports or shut the damper. When I went out in the morning, I still had color in the chamber. Whatever the issue is, it is not that this kiln is shedding heat. 
  • The laws of physics apply to me as well as anyone else. If I get the physical properties of the thing right, this kiln will reach temperature. There's no such thing as a curse.
  • The most likely culprit -- the stack height -- is the easiest fix. 
  • The necessary cost of not letting the possibility of failure daunt one, is, well, the occasional reality of failure, however temporary. It's a high price but a fair one.

My plan -- and I do have one -- is to leave the kiln loaded (I already blocked up the ports & damper), get a bunch more hardbrick, and build the stack another...3 feet, say. 

And try, try again. 


Unknown said...

Your kiln didn't get hot enough because you will always be the hottest thing in the room, it just bowed it's kiln head in honor of your ultimate "hotness".
So increasing the stack will give stronger draft, but how does that make more heat? Is the reduction too strong? Did the bisque get to temp easily? Could your bag wall be too much like the "Iron Curtain"? It's been so long since I fired my gas kiln..... I wish I could give you a Mimosa and a quick fix.
My sympathies.... you are a wonderful potter and artist you will come out the other side and if you don't hop a plane and I will help you with that Mimosa.

Lori Watts said...

Paul -- Greater draw helps with the temp climb because it pulls in oxygen through the burner ports, which is necessary for combustion. Increasing the burner pressure does no good if there is insufficient oxygen to combust it; the unburned fuel just blows out the stack or the spies, when I close off the damper. The back pressure was bright blue, a clue that there was too much fuel not producing heat.

Given my vaunted hotness (Thanks XO) maybe I should just blow into the ports.
It's not a mimosa but we're enjoyimg a nice pinot now, & wishing you were here.

DirtKicker Pottery said...

Hey Lori, Sorry about the firing. I'm sure you will work out the kinks and get that baby firing awesome soon.

Unknown said...

"Great post, very useful for a beginner like me"