- The flame was much happier this time from the burners - blue and strong, with a good sound.
- I did get the kiln to cone 6 without using a single piece of wood.
- The firing was quite even, compared to previous efforts (range of soft cone 5 to hard cone 6).
- I did get some reduction, albeit on one shelf.
- I did get lovely soda, albeit on the same one shelf. (Because I didn't clog the sprayer - finally!)
It took 16 hours or so. (All but one piece had been fired before, so there wasn't the need for slowness at the beginning.) This really helped, to assure my brain still worked by the end.
Marc Ward has told me it takes between five and eight firings to figure out a gas-fueled kiln. But I've read elsewhere it takes some folks years. Having never fired a gas kiln (besides my own two small ones) before this, or even witnessed someone else fire theirs, I'm very, very happy things are starting to look up already, after only three firings. I credit it solely to an awful lot of help from afar.
So, here's what I need to work on:
- The burners were maxed out hours before the cones fell. Things were very, very, very slow at the end. It's perfectly fine if this is the way it's always going to go, but it just makes me nervous that it won't work if the kiln is more tightly stacked, or it's less windy, or if I stand on one foot too long, etc.
- The flame came into the kiln hard and fast, hit the bag wall, went straight up. I had no way of seeing the flame at the top, but further down the kiln I had a hole where I could see that it was now very, very soft and licking, and it had gone over the bag wall, through one shelf, then down, under another shelf, and out the flue. This one shelf the flame touched is the only one with any reduction, and it received most of the soda, as well. (I'd like that soft flame to make its way throughout the entire kiln, not just one shelf.)
- A couple of the pots (all on that one shelf) have some small cracks.
- Reduction is still a mystery. I'm attempting a body reduction from 1623°F to 1800°F, and I believe I was not able to achieve it this time. Although the last few hours of the firing it was in reduction the entire time - and I couldn't make it not reduce.
- I have to fire with the damper open only half an inch or less. This just doesn't seem right to me.
And! Here's what I hope will help answer these questions:
- Peter. He's bringing a group of his students to the area next week, to visit a handful of potters. They're coming here first, and I have high hopes I can bribe him with cookies for some detailed kiln help.
- Apparently I need target bricks in front of the burners. And hopefully Peter can explain why!
- I had very few pots on the kiln. Partly because I figured it wasn't going to work and didn't want to ruin more pots, partly because I just don't make enough. But packing it more evenly, and tightly, should help.
This is the top back shelf, the one that saw the least soda/flame/reduction (D in drawing above).
The two creamy white pieces on the right were glaze with Malcolm Davis' shino - this is what this glaze looks like in reduction.
Next to it, the top front shelf, which did receive some soda (C):
Bottom back shelf (B):
The shelf that saw all the action (A):
The two mugs on the left were put into the kiln completely dry on the outside - no slip, glaze. The three you can see on the right had a couple different slips on them. Both of these slips, throughout the kiln, actually repelled soda (which was not my goal) and left some colours behind, depending on the clay body and the placement in the kiln.
Some of the better pieces, mostly from that shelf:
Yes, I'm aware the photos above aren't exactly professional. Neither is my setup.
Although it's handy to have a banjo case hold up your light reflector thingie. And who doesn't need an accordion in their photo studio, really?
Did a Spring Cleaning of the workshop yesterday, hoping to do the same for the kiln shed today. Photos coming soon.