Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Kiln Diary

I've been taking photos of the kiln load as I unpack it and posting it on facebook, but the images get lost among the rest of the facebook flurry.  So I've decided to log the photos here, so I can write commentary and keep track of developments...

Here's the latest load, most of which sold at Kings Mountain this past weekend or was part of Sara & Jerry's wedding registry.

And here's the load before that (minus a shelf-full of mugs which doesn't really look that exciting from above):

This cone, set in place when loading the kiln for firing,
holds up a switch for the kiln
It gives you a sense of the volume of the kiln.

   To fire one glaze load, I turn the kiln on Low for 3.5 hours, Medium for 1 hour, then it takes another 10 for the kiln to get hot enough at High to melt the kiln sitter cone and turn it off.  Then I have to leave it alone for 15 hours, minimum, and slowly cool it after that so I can unpack and start again.  Most people seem to have computer controlled kilns these days, but there's something extremely attractive and natural about the melting of the kiln sitter cone, controlling when the correct temperature has been reached.   Very easy to fix too, unlike the computer.  Same with the electric elements.  If the firings start to take too long, I can test the voltage to find a break and fairly simply replace them.
      Bisque fires, the kiln firing before the pots get glazed, take just as long to warm up but are on High for only about 6 hours, depending on how much moisture is in the air and the clay.  As always, chaos reigns supreme.

When the kiln gets to the desired temperature,
the cone melts and the switch drops,
turning off the kiln,

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