Saturday, December 4, 2010

The story of the firebox

Sorry to keep you all waiting on the firebox story/pictures.
Things got a little crazy in NC as I was pushing hard to get everything done by Thanksgiving. We unloaded the tatami bricks and started working toward finishing the firebox right away. I went a little higher with standard firebrick than necessary as I was concerned about running out of tatami brick. Also I wanted to make sure there were enough tatamis left at the end that I could pick and choose the exact shape of tatami brick that I wanted.
So the day before Thanksgiving I started laying the tatami brick. And I have to say laying the tatami brick was a blast in comparison to laying straight brick to fit the dome shape. You can see from the picture below that the mortar joints were getting pretty huge and the brick slivers that I was using before were getting pretty substantial. Not really a problem, just seems to slow everything down. So I was having a lot of fun laying the tatami brick and things seemed to be moving along well.

As things progressed and it started to close in I realized with horror that I had created the "ANTI-KEY". A kiln builders worst nightmare..... and a term which I happily just made up.

So I ended up spending the evening before Thanksgiving tearing down the firebox. I then spent Thanksgiving rebuilding the top of the firebox. This time I built it using a combination of firebrick and tatami brick. Ana Howard was kind enough to come out and help me Thanksgiving morning. The work seemed a little rushed specially considering this is the first dome I've ever built without an arch form. Definitely a learning experience.
I'm headed down in spring to help with the first firing.... It may seem a little crazy, but I may head down a couple of days early and redo the top of the dome. Julie and Steve are good friends, and I would like to leave them with a kiln I'm proud of. I don't want to leave them with a "learning experience". Either way here's where it stands now.

I think it actually looks pretty nice in these small pictures that Julie emailed me.... 'The devil is in the details' though.... that's what they say at least....

In other news we plan on building our little test kiln this weekend. After that we have a lot of glaze testing to do this winter. More on that latter.



Ron said...

Hey Joe, Cool to see the firebox all finished up. Anti-key is a good new term for kiln building. One to avoid.
Good luck w. the little kiln.

ang said...

wow what a challenge i did come across a small amount of info on the tatami bricks in a book at our club...are they just for the firebox?

Michael Mahan said...

Very interesting design. I'm no kiln expert, though. I'd love to see it in person.

On another note, is there a way you could display pictures on your blog so when you click, you see a larger picture?



Joe and Christy said...

yeah, the tatami brick are just for the top of the domed firebox.

I think the pictures on this post are the only ones you can't click for a larger image (I think... maybe there are some other exceptions). The images in this post I got via email from Julie. What you see in the post is the largest size I have on my computer.

Julie Jones said...

@Michael and @ Joe, these were likely smaller photos than usual, I took them with an iphone. I kept forgetting to take the camera out, then just decided to use my phone. Sorry about that.

The anti-key is a funny term, but I much prefer the happy good keys.