We also cut shelves to replace the scraps of shelving that we had used for the very back row before. We were able to get quite a few more pots in the kiln with the new shelves.
After loading the second chamber we took some time to rework the first chamber firebox. We like to stoke under the grates for as long as possible. When we stoke beneath the grate early in the firing, the pots don't experience as many of the temperature fluctuations that come from firing with wood. This is because the grate structure absorbs quite a bit of the heat and flame.
We were a little disappointed in previous firings, as we were only able to get the temperature up to around 700 degrees (Fahrenheit) stoking under the grates. Before this firing we decided to open up two more holes in the front of the kiln to allow for better preheating across the entire firebox, instead of just preheating the center of the firebox as we had it before.
We now have three holes open on either side: one for air at the floor, one for preheating right below the grate, and one right above the grate in case we ever have unevenness side to side in the first chamber.
Here's how the inside of the firebox looks now on the side.
We also added the spacers that I had made before. This shrinks the spacing between the grates about a 1/4" (apparently the "kiln clay" has 0% shrinkage). We hope this little change will keep more embers above the grate and generate more ash on the pots during the latter part of the firing. We didn't end up having time to add the new spy hole covers, though. Hopefully we can do this before the next firing.
not much to say about this picture, I was pretty pleased though how well the kiln shelf broke on the curve.
We loaded the third chamber with various earthen ware tests. We are hoping this chamber will reach between cone 04-02 with out any stoking... we'll see.
And of course the first chamber.
We ended up coming a few pots short of a full load. No worries though, the first chamber is actually easier to fire when pots aren't stacked quite all the way to the ceiling. We do need to find more space in our studio for storing pots.... our kiln seems to be bigger than our studio. Something to look into in the future, especially when Christy makes the switch to wood-fired earthenware. She is excited about that possibility.