Sunday, December 19, 2010

Winter time kiln work

Winter has fully set in, and as our large kiln lay dormant under the snow, we've put together our little test kiln.

It's a bit of a Frankstien-esque kiln, built around bricks that were collecting dust around here. I think it should work well though. Certainly it will cool slower.

All of the grate bricks that were used for the walls were filled with equal parts clay, sand, and wheat bran (we didn't have any saw dust handy, and wheat bran can be had for cheap from feed stores).

Here you can see the start of the kiln, the floor of which is a kiln shelf with holes cut into it for the burners. I also added a small area for an external wood firebox, just in case. I'm not 100 percent sure that I will use the firebox, as I'm not sure about our ability to keep the kiln even temperature and reduction wise when using the firebox. I'm sure it will take a little experimentation to figure that one out.... or maybe we'll never use it.... it's there if we ever want it though.

Here you can see the front door for loading.

Looking in the front door. Unfortunately the shelf wasn't quite wide enough to cover the whole interior space while using full size grate bricks. I've filled the voids in with shelf scraps. Before the first firing I'll seal it up with a clay/sand mixture. Not an ideal situation... I imagine this will be a maintenance intensive area.

We'll cob it during the first firing to keep the cob from freezing as it's being applied to the kiln. I kept the burners going while I put together the kiln itself, and still had issues with freezing mortar.... cold work to say the least.

We've ball milled up some sands from local quarries and hopefully will start glaze testing soon.


Sue Pariseau Pottery said...

You guys are always busy with something. It will be interesting to hear how the small kiln works for you. Thanks for sharing.

Ron said...

You should name it Little Monster. Nice that you have it now and can do some tests. Love the pic of your round chimney.

cookingwithgas said...

this should be fun!
And look at that snow- I don't think I would even go out of the house!

deanandmartinpottery said...

That new test kiln looks good. Can't wait to see some new clay and glaze test out of it. We hope you two have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year as well. Ya'll will absolutely be having a white Christmas. We wish we were there. We really enjoyed spending time with you both during your trip to N.C. Good luck with the new test kiln. It will help greatly in new exploration of surfaces.