The date for the fall firing is official! 2011/11/11. There must be some sort of astrological significance to this, be it good or bad.
Since I’ve been making a lot or work to go into the kiln for this firing, I’ve been constantly short on ware boards, so decided the best way to free some up would be to get the pots off of them by loading them into the kiln. This has the added benefit of breaking up the loading process so it is not so danged exhausting.
This afternoon saw the completion of the rear setting, all cone 6 ware give or take. E-Karatsu, Kawakujira, and Kohiki. Most everything is smaller and doesn’t have much height, so to fill in the higher spaces many of the pots were balanced on kiln posts. The added benefit to this is that if the temperature gets too high, the pots will collapse, invert around the posts and stick to them completely and utterly. Post-In-A-Cup.
The two jars are refires that had a lot of unmelted ash on the shoulders. In order to melt it, I’ve applied an ash glaze that should melt and flux the sintered ash underneath, hopefully. And, if I’m really lucky, they will slump or split in the firing, sticking to everything around them.
Started making pots for the wood kiln today, after spending some time making a list of what needed making, and working on some sketches and sizing.
These are the beginning of the first items on the list, I wanted to get more done but spent much of the day cleaning up the studio after the gas kiln unloading. This is a very typical Karatsu shape, and you see them from very small all the way up to very large. These are 19cm and 16cm sizes. As you can see from the pictures most of these plates will probably get brush deco and feldspar glaze (cone 6, give or take), some others will get rice straw ash glaze (cone 11, give or take)
The concrete combined with the sump pump is doing its job admirably. I took these pictures this morning after a night of med/heavy rain (but nothing close to the storm last evening). Water has started to seep in places, and since the part in the foreground is not under cover, some rain falls right in, but that will only be a problem during firing. Last firing there was some rain and I strung a tarp down at an angle from the cover which worked alright, if not very elegant.
Here are the pictures of everything when it is moderately wet. Water is collecting around the edges of the concrete, but even in the heavy rain yesterday, was unable to reach the top. The sump pump has activated at least once, judging from the wetness of the concrete in the sump. When the top float goes up the pump turns on, and when the bottom float goes down, the pump turns off. It takes about 25 seconds to pump the water out, MUCH faster than the previous pond pump. The sump form collapsed under the weight of the concrete so is not the oval I had planned, but looking at this pic now, the sump really resembles a fish, don’t you think. Especially with the corrugated edges where the tail would be.
I installed a tube into the concrete through which to run the pump hose and power line, so it would be hidden. There is a drain about one meter to the right of where the hose and line emerge. Once a trough is dug between the two, the hose will be almost hidden. A trough will also prevent water from traveling along the surface toward the workshop path and kiln.
The unfortunate casualties of all this improvement are the frogs, and I am going to miss them. Hopefully they will find other low wet areas in the yard to hang out.
The kiln is finished. Yep, you heard right. Done. I can hardly believe it myself.
Cleaning up the front area and getting the concrete in was the last job, and it is done. Now, working on the kiln will consist of playing with the flue dimensions and firing it, something I am looking forward to, and have started getting work ready for the upcoming October firing.
I pulled the forms off this morning and cleaned up the concrete. The sump form had collapsed under the weight of the concrete, so I didn’t get the nice oval I was aiming for, and I had to go in with a hammer drill and concrete bit to clean out some of the concrete that had encroached into the sump area. It was still not quite cured, so not too difficult to break up.
Though I imagine water will still rise in the mouth of the kiln, it won’t be dirty runoff, and the walls of the stoking area will not be eroding every time we get rain. Once I get my hands on an automatic sump pump, I’ll be able to cover the sump and forget about it. Yay!
Actually, looking at the front area again, if we could think of a way to create a waterproof wall across the front of the kiln, we could have the first kiln heated jacuzzi. In fact, we could probably ‘soak and stoke’, relaxing in the hot tub while simultaneously firing the kiln to cone 13.
The concrete truck delivered 1.6 yards of concrete today, and it was a happy thing. I think this will finally solve most of the flooding problem when the heavy rains come, though the water will still probably come up from underneath. So, the sump was left in, and an automated pump will be installed. Best of all, no more muddy mess when firing the kiln!
The truck came at 8:30 and we finished up just before 11:00. The forms held up well with just one shifting a bit. The biggest problem was the sump form which started to crumple from the weight. It all turned out ok in the end, though. Just out of paranoia, I put a layer of ceramic fiber between the slab and the front wall of the kiln to insulate the slab. Also, there is a tube installed so the pump hose and plug will be out of sight for the most part.
There was some crete left over, so I was able to put in a bit of a walkway/work area out the door of the studio. This previously had a step down, which made it very difficult to roll heavy objects like my lathe stand, etc… in and out of the door. Now the step has been eliminated, and a small work area created between the kiln and the studio.
How do you know your kiln is a luxury model? When you built it/had it built, did you really think of everything? How do you know that you have THE KILN that shows everyone you are a winner? a behemoth in the clay world? a demigod of ceramic art? Why, cup-holders, of course.