Monday, October 4, 2010

Kiln Day 5, "The Firebox Floor and Primary Air"

Waking up early after a long week of work for our Kiln Day felt as if I’d slept in all weekend. The night before I was up until the late hours reviewing the plans and doing some drawings of what I thought we’d get to. I’ve noticed that this kiln has kept me up late into the night with my head running around in circles. I’ve been dreaming of it, other kilns and firings more often then normal… if I don’t work out what’s on my mind with some drawings or notes... I can count on only a few hours of sleep.

Scott told me, after the excitement of building half of the beautiful new shed, “Bobby… I’ve done my part and most of what I can do for now. The ball’s in your court, dude. Make it pretty and lay those bricks!!”

Now comes the slow, tedious, methodical and troublesome act of laying reused brick for our soon to be finished kiln. It was just the boys yesterday: Matt, Andrew, Scott, Clayton and I. Emily and Crista took the day to work on their own ceramic art, undisturbed, which doesn’t seem to happen very often. Andrew and I were on brick duty, laying down the first courses of soft brick, while the others worked on moving some wood, cleaning the place up, and pouring two more supports for the other side of the kiln shed.

Once the two layers of soft were down, we attached a heavy duty grit, 32 or 36, to a piece of 2x4 to really get that top layer zeroed and leveled for the first layers of hard brick. Boy that worked out well. By 1 pm we had the firebox floor in and the primary airs worked out.

Back in August when we dismantled those two kilns, we ended up with a lot of different sized bricks. A good chunk of those bricks are 3” x 4½” x 13”. The 13s are nice long guys which I want to use when I can but with the normal bricks (2½ ”x 4 ½” x 9”) we’re ½” too tall to throw them into any normal course. So the plan, as of now, is to use them when we have any kind of opening, like here for our ash removal. All we have to do is make a little shelf in the other bricks, ½” down and the 13 will line right up with the 2½"s.

Andrew and I took off around 3 pm to make our soccer practice and didn’t get back until about 6:30 pm, a bit later then we had planned. But we had enough time to level out our last course before it got too dark to see. Well, it got too dark to see real quick… so when we make it back out there we’ll really get to see how straight it ended up…and if Andrew can really see in the dark.

I’m headed to Washington State next week and won’t be back for the next Sunday’s Kiln Day. We’re all taking that Sunday off…it wont be until the 16th that we get back up there. It's going to kill me!! I’ll make an entry about what I’m up to, which is still about clay. My special lady-friend is having a show back there in her home town. Until then…

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