15 July 2012

The final firing

The final firing of this little kiln that is.
Number 27, 7th July 2012

That was the Wimbledon weekend when Andy Murray finally made it to the final and I realised on Friday that I had to fire on Saturday in order to watch the tennis on Sunday. Only the realisation happened on Friday evening after he won the semi, which I had been watching instead of packing the kiln (keep up there).

If I packed in the morning and fired into the night I would get enough sleep to be awake again in time for the final. That's if the forecast bad weather held off long enough.

Another fairly loose pack. Flat black clay tiles on the bottom shelf 'wadded' on silica sand, two more shelves, large platter on the top shelf. Cones 7, 8, 9, 10.

Midday Saturday, high cloud, gusting from the North and North East, a bit chilly really but DRY and NO midgies.  Lit the gas to get it going. The gas blew out so for the first time I started with wood alone. Usually the kiln has absorbed so much moisture from the humidity that I have to dry it out for at least a couple of hours on gas. However whilst the covers have been going on at Wimbledon and England is doing an impression of Atlantis this corner of The Misty Isle is having a drought.

Five hours later with the pyro reading 993ºC I reckoned it was as good a time as any to let the kiln do a fast fire!
After 7 hours it was at 1158ºC after which it started to slow a little
After 8 hours it was at 1168ºC but touching 1200º so I put the soda in, about 250g
          9 hours               1212ºC  cone 7 bending
         10 hours              1220ºC  cones 8 & 9 softening, getting a good temperature rise with thin pine branches about 2 - 3 inches diameter.

After 10 and 1/2 hours it reached 1251ºC with cone 10 softening. End of firing.  At least 3 hours shorter than normal.

Bed, sleep then sit back and watch Andy lose! But just like woodfiring it's the taking part that counts not just the results.