We finished up the seventh firing yesterday evening, and it was a bit of a mixed bag. The first chamber was great. With the added stoking holes under the grates, we were easily able to stoke under the grate until around 1200 degrees. Later on the new grate spacing made a much bigger difference than I would have guessed for only being a 1/4" change. Christy and I are both pretty excited to open the first chamber.
The second chamber on the other hand.... We'll see how it turned out after we unload, but it certainly didn't fire perfectly. While the new stack in the back of the chamber allowed us to squeeze quite a few more pots into the kiln, it impacted the draft much more than we could have guessed. The top of the second chamber ended up being fairly cool despite our best efforts. This is something that can be easily solved for the next firing by simply lowering the bag wall. The lower part of the chamber should still be nice, but we may have to refire some of the pots near the top of the stack.
The firing started off Wednesday. The first day is always easy and gives time to rest up and organize for the second day of the firing. We invited friends to join us for some brats and beer to finish off the first day of the firing.
Christy's brother John came out for the party and stoked while Christy and I enjoyed some brats:
Our friend Paul Elgin lent a hand as well:
Christy took the overnight shift and I came out first thing in the morning to start pushing the kiln into reduction.
Don Hammond came out in the afternoon to help us transition into the second chamber. He did some serious ember fluffing--thanks, Don!
Christy stoking the second chamber:
And my mom Pat got her first taste of wood firing:
Thanks to all who helped us with this firing. We're unloading first thing Saturday morning, and we'll post pictures of the pots soon.