Sunday, February 19, 2017

Flames Good, Flames Bad

A dramatization
Ugh, there is SO much to learn, in clay, so many new things to go wrong! The best that we can hope for is for things to go wrong when they don't do any harm, and by that measure I am a winner today.

I finally had a chance to fire the kiln I loaded last week. Candled just fine, no of the valves was locked in ice, but I chipped/ melted it out, all good. Reached body reduction, all good...but when I went out to check if  ^05 was falling yet, I noticed one of my burners was behaving weirdly.

It's a measure of how dedicated I am to you, my darling readers, that I almost went for the camera before shutting it down, but then I thought: no, when propane and fire are doing unexpected things, the time to put an end to it is right freaking now. So I turned it off, then waited a bit and relit it - and it did it again.

The flame, which ought to come out the end of the burner and (mostly) into the kiln, was igniting way down at the primary air. I have never had that happen before, and I don't know what has caused it to happen, but in addition to just not being a safe state of affairs, it meant that a bunch of the heat was not going into the kiln. The firing was not going to proceed properly no matter what.

Luckily I have no urgency about this firing - it's always good to have pots but nobody pounding down my door in the middle of February. I have time to ask people way smarter than I am (Hi, Tyler Gulden!) what the problem might be and how to fix it.

So, now I have a sunny Sunday afternoon off, with just a tiny nagging worry that I might have to invest in a new burner. It's pushing 50°, and in February in Maine, it's criminal to let such a day go to waste.


Philadelphia Gardener said...

Lori, check your propane pressure (is your tank low?) and make sure your burners are clear of spider webs and other debris. The gas pressure coming through that burner was insufficient for a proper venturi effect. Good luck!

Lori Watts said...

Thanks - this seems to the consensus. The pressure was all the way up, but I did notice just before the AAAAAHHHHH FIRE! moment that it did not seem as high as it ought to be. We are thinking a bit of rust or scale obstructing the orifice.

My next step here is to disassemble and clean the burner, and make sure the orifice is clear.

I appreciate your answer! This is exactly what I hoped would happen when I posted this: people smarter than I am would have ideas.