Thursday, October 25, 2012

Coldest Firing Ever, Hoping Not to Repeat!

If I would have had a choice this wouldn't have happened on the cold night last Sunday. The weather forecast is for more of the same and worse so I had to go for it. I still have one more firing before craft sale season begins on the 17th of November. Those pots are cooling right now in the electric kiln at the school. Hopefully there will be a break in the cold so I can fire them in relative comfort!!
I started the fire at about 8 pm on Sunday night. Going out every hour or so until 12:30 to add to my 'campfire'. At 12:30 I filled the firebox to the top with huge hunks of wood, put in the damper and closed the front up. Tried to take a an hour or so in. At 4 am was back out in the -18 to ramp up the kiln. Luckily my shop was warm so I could go in there and try to get something done in between stokes. A Bourry box firebox is very handy. After a couple of hours I only need to fill it up every 15 to 20 minutes. It was about every 10 at the start.
This firing I did almost completely on very small pine and pine limbs. Big surprise-I checked cones at 2pm and 8 and 9 were down and 10 was going!! Usually 8 starts around 5 pm and the rest by about 7 pm. I opened up the mouse holes under the firebox to get the ember pile burnt off and continued until 3pm. Clammed everything but the mouseholes and went inside the house for an hour. Came back out and plugged them up and called it a day (and a half).
Wasn't so sure what to expect by going this fast. VERY pleasantly surprised. Glazes look good. Last firing was a bit over-fired so some of the glazes washed out a bit. I had one totally ugly pot that I will refire before consigning it to the hammer, but the rest look pretty good. Looking forward to the next one!!
We went over yesterday and got another truckload of that skinny pine. No one wants it for firewood and there is tons of it. Three hours work for one firing?? My kind of work!

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