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Firing Log

ancient kiln | 21st century logbook

April 2, 2006

Firing Update, #5

Filed under: anagama, 6th,Firing — odin @ 1:45 am

11:06 pm, April 1.

I’m hoping if I write a bit, I’ll be able to stay awake till dawn. At this point, it isn’t clear to me that I’ll make it. Exhaustion is catching up with me. OK, take a deep breath. This is fun, an adventure. The sort of thing that makes good stories later. I enjoy this. The longer I stay up, the better bed will feel.

So I need some topic — how about “worrying”. I’m a worry wart (wort?). There isn’t anything I can’t worry about. A glass half empty guy and I’m noticing that the glass is cracked and leaking.

So today I gathered up all the bricks I could find. I don’t have a ton of leftovers. I came up with 24 bricks though, enough for four courses at the top of the chimney. So I raised the chimney 10 inches this afternoon. Here’s what I was thinking — the wind that I’m missing helps increase the draft. If there is no wind, increase the chimney.

So I do that (as if 10″ on 96″ chimney will have a significant impact) and immediately start worrying about black crud on the pottery. Here’s the worry:

I’ve been thinking about building a wood fired bathtub out here. FYI, my last shower was Tuesday, so — yeah, it would be nice to be able to take a bath. I won’t go into the plans but it involves a natural siphon, metal cow trough, old stove, and some piping. Anyway, in my research I ran across some wood stove discussion on the net in which it was mentioned that controling the burn rate of a stove by the air vents instead of a damper causes a sooty chimney. Well — this kiln has no damper, the air vents control the burn. So I was thinking that may be the cause of my black crud. Seems the same principles would apply.

So, to come back from that tangent, I no sooner had 10″ more chimney when it hit me — that effectively makes my air inlet smaller and there might be soot buildup. I’ve been concerned about that for the last few hours. I took off one course a little while ago — I’ll probably take more off later.

All this because the kiln monitor doesn’t want to break 44 mV reliably, and instead hangs out at 42-43 mV and I want to go to 50. Drat! But make that a real swear word.

On the other hand, there are two loose bricks on the bottom side of the upper fire mouth — the stoke hole. They’re constantly being knocked in a little and then I pull them back with the hook on the pole if I remember. The tips of these bricks have become glazed. If I can glaze bricks that have air coming in over them from the edges around the door to the firemouth — things should be OK inside the kiln. Really. I tell myself this but I still worry.

Well, I haven’t checked my email in two days and I’m worried about what disaster will have happened at work, so I better do that now. Besides, I need to go fill the wheelbarrow again. At least I feel “awaker”.

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