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200+ Cups for a wedding





Well, finally getting around to getting this blog updated after many months. The workshop is finished and the kiln is in and getting fired.
I got a large (for me) order to do the presents for a wedding and have been busy with that for the last 5 weeks.
Here are some before/after shots of some of the cups in the kiln before being ground and cleaned. This was the first of 2 firings to get the number of cups needed for the order. I fired too quickly and as a result nearly everything in the top and outside of the setting ran onto the bisquits, requiring lots of grinding. The cool spots didn’t run enough. Ame-yu (brown glaze applied too thickly as well, which exacerbated the rampant runs. Argh!

Kiln Install 2





Here’s the kiln going into the space. Since the crane couldn’t put it in its final position, it is rolled in on steel rollers and situated by prying the corners with a prybar to make small position changes. There are I-Beams welded to the frame just for this purpose. Once the kiln is situated the beams will be cut off.

Finally the tracks for the car are attached and bolted down into the concrete. Once everything is bolted down, the chimney is constructed. A hole is cut in the awning and the chimney is put through. An extra section of chimney was added to get the top up and away from the building. There is a lot of wind blowing through our valley at times and we wanted to make sure the kiln would have enough pull. I think the chimney is around 6-7 meters tall, and we attached 3 wires to make sure it wouldn’t sway in the wind.

Once everything is set, they’re finished for the day. The next thing that needs to be done is to pour concrete to fill the space under the kiln and car tracks. Once that’s finished they’ll come back to rebuild the car, set the pyrometer up, etc… Then all I’ll need to do is get the gas company out to do the hookups. Can’t wait!

New Kiln Installed/Almost Finished Workshop



Alright! Here we are finally, with the workshop almost finished. The city inspection is finished, though I still need to do the trim around the windows, run the electricity(calling a pro for this), and finish the inside walls with cedar planking. I’ve built a kind of tall awning off of the south side to protect the kiln. Next week this will be fully enclosed with the same type of siding as the building. It’s about 4 meters tall at the top, so tall that rain comes right in if I don’t have those tarps tacked on.

The kiln weighs about 2 tons, apparently, so the regular hydraulic truck lift wasn’t beefy enough to lift it into the space. Takasago (the kiln folks) brought in a bigger crane to do the job. When it rolled onto the property the ground sagged and rebounded like a sponge under the wheels, interesting to see.


Roof finished, moisture barrier tacked on




Here , the roof is finally finished. The day after the roof was finished it started snowing, and didn’t stop for a week. During that week I tacked up the moisture barrier sheet, so now most precipitation doesn’t get into the building. About 8000 staples were used to tack all that sheeting on. Next step will be the siding, then I’ll be able to start putting insulation in and finishing the inside walls.

More workshop pics





Here are some more pics of the workshop going up, mostly the rafters being finished and the underlayment for the roof starting to go on. That’s me with the shit eating grin standing on the roof, and sitting on the huge upside down pot is my youngest helper. He’s 3 years old now. His older brother who is 5 always wants to help with the construction but I haven’t been able to find anything I think is safe enough for him to do yet, although he insists he’s old enough to climb the ladder and walk around on the roof.

The Workshop is going up!






Here are some pictures of the workshop going up. At the time of this writing, the roof is half covered with tar paper, and I’m waiting for the weather to improve so I can finish papering and tack on the galvanized sheets. Then I’ll tack on the vapor barrier and and siding and at that point it should be ok to start turning the inside into a workshop.

You may notice from the pics that this looks like a tall building. Well, due to several miscalculations it ended up being about 1 meter taller than I had envisioned (It’s about 385 cm tall at the shoulder), however this will work out great as I will be able to add a loft for storage in the future. The building is 4×10 meters. The foundation is 4×13. The extra 3 meters is for the kiln area. The kiln will rest under a roof angling down and out from the building itself. I am going to add detachable hinged walls that I will open during firing. Also there will be exhaust fans at each end of the building to vent and circulate air to prevent heat buildup during firing.
I’m also going to have a sliding door to separate the kiln area from the main structure. This way I’ll be able to slide the kiln car into the building and close the door behind it. This place will be cold enough in the winter anyway without having doors open for loading and unloading.

If you’ve never stood on a wobbly bare wood frame 4 meters up in the air I highly recommend it. 4 meters doesn’t sound like much, but it sure is scary when you’re actually up there. Especially when trying to tote around 3 meter long 5×5 beams. The largest cross beams we had to raise with a small crane, because they were too heavy for the 4 of us to hoist on our own. Those beams were 4x16in, and about 4 meters long. Oh, and they were still wet. How do you say ‘hernia’ in Japanese?