Time to dust off the old tile saw. For anybody who is looking to build a kiln I would certainly recommend looking into getting a saw. We got this little number:
The cheapest tile saw you can get from harbor freight, along with the extended warranty. Good thing to since we are on tile saw number four (Luckily the good people at harbor freight didn't seem to concerned with our repeated visits with broken tile saws).
Anyways, the project for today was reorganizing the grates for the first chamber. Last firing we had two main problems with the main grate system. Firstly, during the first part of the firing, we like to keep the stoking to below the grates until around 1400F. However during this period embers started to build up in the channel below the grates at around 1100F. With no where for the embers to go the temp stalled and we were forced to start stoking above the grates. So for this firing we are making room for the embers to spread to underneath the two side grates during the early stages of the firing.
The second change was due to the lack of ash we had on our pots in the front of the kiln. We had surprisingly little ash on our pots after a 48 hour firing. Most of our pots are decorated and glazed, so don't really need any ash. However we always have some unglazed pots that we put in the first stack of shelves and always hope for some nice flashing and a little ash build up on those. So we have also raised the grates up 5" (closer in height to the ware chamber) and closed the space between our grate bricks from 2" to 1.25".
The front corner with the fiber is an area that, due to the shape of the front chamber never has wood stoked onto it. So we've covered it with bricks, then fiber, tomorrow we will seal it all over with a clay/sand mixture. That way when we open up the side air inlets we know the air is reaching the grates where we want it.
Julie Jones arrived safe and sound from NC today, and tomorrow we'll all start loading the first chamber.