Sunday, June 8, 2008

The silver lining in the rain cloud.

It started raining the evening after we put the post holes in the ground, and has been raining off and on ever since. The post holes quickly filled up with rain. You can see from the picture that our firebox quickly filled up as well. The water in the firebox has now risen up even farther to cover a portion of the first chamber. This picture was taken as we were finishing up the last of the work that we could do on the roof. Charlie went for a swim in our firebox shortly after the picture was taken. So we have come to a halt on our kiln shed until things start to dry out. Maybe next week.

Things worked out for the best though as Christy used the free time to track down some used firebrick. We had gotten a name and number from our pottery instructor at Cornell College of a couple who had property with some old beehive kilns on it. Unfortunately, both the name and the number were incorrect. Christy did some fantastic sleuthing though and tracked them down. We left for their property as soon as we got off of the phone with them. Jere and Kate Huffman bought land in What Cheer, Iowa, setting up a pottery on what used to be an old sewer pipe factory that closed down in the 1960's. It's quite an incredible site to see. There are 19 behive kilns each on measuring somewhere are 25 feet in diameter. I don't recall all the exact details but I believe there were four or five kilns per chimney, and they were fired in succesion not allowing the chimney to cool down between firings. Jere said it took seven men to fire the kilns with coal and they were fired in seven days. It was all pretty fascinating. Anyway, here is a picture of the kiln we got our bricks from. The kilns were salted so it took a little hammering to get the bricks apart. The bricks are a little cruddy on the ends, but should be fine for a chimney. I've also included a picture of a kiln that has not been taken apart, and has been slightly renovated. There seem to be a limitless number of bricks here and we are trying to figure out the best way to transport them the seven hour round trip drive (we spent $200 dollars for gas to get the 400 bricks we got yesterday), and how many to get as they are not free, nor are they clean. Certainly though we have found ourselves bricks for the chimney. As well as enjoyed seeing how the factory worked, and enjoying Jere and Kate's incredible hospitality.

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