Saturday, July 10, 2010

Quick Kiln Updates

1)Like so many things, plumbing turns out to be not half the big deal I thought it was going to be, It helps that Home Depot will cut and thread pipe for you, at a ridiculously small price. (I did have an amusing incident at the register, when the cashier accidentally rung up my 37 inches of pipe as 37 feet. She was a little huffy and said the tag was written wrong, but really, does this look like 37 feet of pipe?) Any case the plumbing is ready to go. If I'd known it was so easy (and so cheap!) I might have repositioned the two burners that remained as they were in the old configuration, but what I've got will work just fine. Just storing it away in my Big Book o' Lessons.

2)We had to fire our free welder, for repeatedly (and persistently, after several requests to stop) making racist and homophobic remarks. You think you know someone...Anyway. That sucked, but some things are more important than kiln building. (Not too many, but some.) We have another friend who can help if we get ahold of him; if not, I do know a professional I can hire. Welding is not a task I'd try to learn on the fly. I am kicking myself for not learning to weld during either my undergraduate or graduate programs, when the metals sculpture studio was right next door. (I wasn't too interested in the metals, although I remember having an interest in one or two of the sculptors...)

Salad days at Watershed today! Hopefully photos tomorrow. 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Get it Right the Second Time

I had to tear down one wall of the kiln this week, due to a 'clever" design change I made to the flue. I'm not sure what inspired me to re-work my original flue design, but I suspect that it was a desire to avoid having to manually cut soaps (lengthwise halves) from 3-inch brick. The second design looked like this:
I built all the way to the top layer of straights before I realized the problem. As you can see, if you follow the vertical line of the edge of the flue upwards, it butts right against the soda ports. Which means the soda ports will be hidden behind the stack wall. Nice going there, Ace! I spent a day trying to figure out how to rework the stack or the ports before I decided that was too much power to give to a mistake: better to correct my error than compound it.

So Thursday I took the back wall down, built the flue as I should have in the first place, soap-cuts and all. By this time I am an old hand at cutting hardbrick with a chisel, and though it was slow going it wasn't really difficult. 

Lessons learned: 1) Don't make design changes on the fly; and 2) the difficulty I am trying to avoid might not be the big deal I think it is.