Finished firing

After taking things slow for about 12 hours, we took the kiln up to cone 11 over the next 24. Finished up at about 4am Saturday morning, quite a bit earlier than I had planned. Earlier in the firing, I had thought it would take longer, because the kiln was not really responding to the stoking and seemed to be reducing strongly, making me think that I’d perhaps closed the flue channels a bit too much prior to firing. However, after cone 9 started to finally go down, we started to get that great growling roar following every stoke, and pretty soon cone 11 was bending. Here are some sequential pictures from the firing.

Nakayama kun stoking under the grates during the preheat, we kept it at around 250C or under for about 12 hours.

 After we got to about 1000C, we started getting smoke.

 The castable on the second chamber splitting along the line I was hoping for….

 Cone 11 is half over and Nakayama kun is starting a stoke.

 It almost feels as if the flames will push the stoke cover away from the kiln wall. Without the rod propped against the cover, the flames come out in all directions.

 The chimney after the stoke, it is about 3 am.

 After I clammed up the kiln for good, there was still enough fuel in the form of embers to keep burning pretty strongly. I was  a little worried about inadvertently over reducing when I saw this. Not sure if this was good or not, I decided to open up the rear damper again and let some of those excess calories exit the kiln, however the extra oxygen just cause the temp to start rising again and after about 10 minutes I shut the damper again. By then the flames subsided quite a bit.

 Here is the door all mudded up, because there was a good 5mm space all around the door where the kiln had expanded.

Notes from this firing:
-I may need to open up the flues a bit to get some more air flow.
-The insulating castable on the front wall and rear chamber is AWESOME! Even at cone 11, I could keep my hand on the castable surfaces.
-Pyrometers are not to be trusted. The highest reading I got the entire firing was 1056C, and this was when cone 6 was about half over. Moreover, as the kiln got hotter the range of the pyrometer readings actually became lower and lower. Not sure what this means yet. I’m thinking right now that the pyrometer is not extending into the kiln far enough, and pretty much is just responding when directly exposed to flame.

We will be unloading on Wed. I will post pictures shortly after… I can’t wait…

3 thoughts on “Finished firing”

  1. GOOD WORK Mike! Looks like your firing went pretty well! I wish you a good rest before the unloading.
    I participated at a my first wood fining myself just yesterday at a friend's place. I stoked and loaded wood for the first time. It's no surprise that I lovd it.
    happy unloading!

  2. Hi Carmen,
    Fun, is it not? I think this firing got a more even temp throughout, perhaps a little too hot in some places for the lower temp glazes. I really can't wait to unload on wed. morning. Tsuruta sensei will be there too to help me analyze what happened in the various zones of the kiln.

  3. Grate! I love reading about your adventures.
    I agree pyrometers are not to be trusted they "laguff and lie" and I think were created by the trickster gods.
    best and most scariest firing I did was when we took out the pyromter. but now we never use one. after a while you just get more in touch with the kiln and the flows of it.
    looking for word to seeing the unloading picks!

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