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Firing Log

ancient kiln | 21st century logbook

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March 30, 2006

Firing Update, #2

Filed under: anagama, 6th,Firing — odin @ 10:41 am

Wood” (in quotes because I actually start w/ charcoal briquettes — insert while burner is running a couple at a time) started going into the kiln on March 29 at 5:50 am. Right now, March 30, 2006 at 10:15 am, the kiln is hovering around 40-41 mV and has been since the middle of last night — giving off some color as well:

First flame from 6th anagama firing

The ground is mostly done steaming and burning. That new dirt I spread? Well, I’ve spent the last day smelling all the organic components burn off. Even earlier this morning the ground was steaming strongly but I think it’s about dried out now. When it dries out enough, the kiln temperature should rise again. Pushing it doesn’t make it happen faster, but it will tire you out. The kiln get to the temperature it wants to be at, whenever it wants to get there. Here’s a steam shot taken before the wood burning really got underway:

anagama steams during heat up -- cats love it

I think the ground is pretty well dried because the “stripe” effect is gone. The ground right above the center-line of the kiln dries first. Then, the ground to the outside of the point above the kiln’s foundation dries. Finally, the area directly above the foundation also dries out. Deep water moves up through that region and keeps it moist. When that area dries out, the deep water is also dried.

Here’s a shot of the stripe effect:

anagama pushing up groundwater during preheat

I’m going to bed now, 10:47 am.

March 28, 2006

Firing Update, #1

Filed under: anagama, 6th,Firing — odin @ 11:08 pm

The gas burner is howling away. The loading mess is all taken care of … at least insofar as I ever take care of mess. My dual tank regulator is awesome. When one tank starts to freeze up, I just throw the switch to the second. By the time that one is freezing up, the other has thawed and I throw it back. When one gets too low, I can switch it out without shutting off the burner. It’s really lightened the work of tank switching — tanks are heavy and my back thinks this regulator was a great investment. Here’s the setup:

preheating anagama with propane

preheating anagama with propane

My temperature at present is around 8 mV (millivolts) in the front. It’s too cold to go back outside and check the temperature in the back Perhaps for the next firing I’ll network my kiln monitor so I can check it from inside — not during the wood firing portion of course — but the gas preheat stage doesn’t take much “in person” time.

So what’s with the temperature in mV? Find me a dual port pyrometer with digital output which allows a time and temperature graph to be generated in real time and displayed on a monitor for $80 or less. Good luck. Hmmm — make that $140 (I got mine on sale three years ago) but still, I suspect it is difficult to find a two port pyrometer with data output for that price. For what it’s worth, a pyrometer is nothing more than a voltmeter with a scale in degrees. Besides, I’m only interesting in what the temperature is doing (rising or falling) — I don’t care what temperature a pyrometer reads. Pyrometers are notoriously inaccurate at high temps anyway.

Whatever temperature 8 mV is, the chimney has been steaming all day and earlier, I know I smelled the smoke of the rice bran in the wadding burning off:

anagama chimney steaming during preheat

And isn’t this a great picture of spot? Obviously pre-loading but still:

spot inspects anagama before firing

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