The first firing showed some of the flaws in the stoke hole cover for the front of the kiln, the first being not enough extra overlap around the edges, and the second more dramatic one being the loosening of the frame in the heat, causing the cover to fall out of its frame in the middle of the firing, which was an exciting event.
I cast a new, larger cover for the front stoke, and moved the original to the rear chamber stoke hole, where it is looking quite sharp and happy. The implementation of the frame for the front stoke was done a bit differently, just to see how it plays. I think it will be more stable, balanced and less likely to come apart during firing. At some point, I’d like to do a welded door, but for now this will work.
Here is the cover assembly. I had to drill holes for the rods, but it allows for the angle iron to be oriented across the center line of the slab.
Detail of the angle iron, threaded rod, and shims. My plan is that the shims allow for the angle iron to be tightened to a slight bow, and hence to be in a state of tension, so that when the frame heats up in the firing, there may/will be a loss of tension, but the frame will remain tight and secure around the slab.
Here it is hanging in place. Twisted 2.1mm stainless iwire on the cover assembly. 3.2mm stainless wire twisted around another threaded rod, connected from the overhead beam. In the first firing there was no discernible softening or stretch in the wire (2.1mm) from the heat, so this 3.2mm wire should last a good long time.
The next improvement is by mother nature, who is giving us our first really good bunch of wisteria blossoms:
The coverage is a little sparse, but with a few good prunings over the next couple of years, this little gal should fill in nicely. I’ll post pictures again when the blossoms are in full bloom.