Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Firing after a shaky start

This is the first firing of this little, Olympic, gas test kiln. Yesterday I changed my plan to take it easy, when I remembered that I had purchased a diamond blade. So I headed to the studio and put the blade on my ancient, way too heavy, circular saw. It took a while but I was able to make two cuts on an old 5/8" thick silicon carbide shelf. Now that I had two more shelves, I decided to batch up a few more tests. Needless to say there was no time to rest my aching back.

At 4 o'clock I came in to get started on dinner and after dinner and a Netflix movie (The Greatest Game Ever Played), went back to the studio to put some things away. I covered the kiln for the night and went in to play with kitty, and read for a bit. I wound up falling asleep a little after 9, woke at 10, stayed up about 10 minutes and went right back to sleep. I was up a bit before 4am, so I worked on  the glazes notes and a bit before daybreak went out to turn on the kiln. The kiln kept kicking off after a minute or so and I was afraid that something was wrong with either the regulator or the pilot; but after about 6 tries and turning the gas up a hair more it stayed on; but that kiln is running away. At 8am it's over 850F; and those two small burners don't seem to be on that high.

Once it seemed to be holding, I came in to make breakfast and then went back out to the studio to get my soda/salt mix ready. At the rate this kiln is climbing it will be done before dinner! If it were pots instead of test tiles, mostly slips, in there I'd be worried about how rapidly this kiln is firing!


  1. Sounds good, can't wait to see the results, when you fire pots, how will you slow it down?

  2. Slowing down is easy - just turn the valve at the tank down a hair. Gotta check it again. It was over 1900F 15 minutes ago!

  3. PS: I just realized you meant in the beginning. I will probably have to play with the valve and get it as low as it will go without shutting off and then mark the spot with a fine magic marker. It's just that after about 6 tries with it constantly going off after a minute or two, I decided to just turn it up a bit more. I just didn't want to sit there in the dark and keep playing with it, since I wanted to get it fired today and be done fairly early. There are thunder storms in tomorrows forecast so this was the only day I could be assured of now rain and I didn't want to wheel a loaded cart with unfired work, back into the garage.

  4. Sounds like an interesting start...

    One thing I did after I bisque fired my Olympic 2831 was have a water column gauge installed just before the main burner. I also put a long extension pipe on the handle of my gas valve. Both of these things will enable me to fire slower, and more precisely. I do a SLOW bisque usually for very large (28") platters. When I did my maiden bisque firing I too noticed that it was climbing too fast.

    Anyway, hope it helps...

  5. Thanks Rob for your input. I have a gauze installed on the tank but at the lowest setting it kept going off. I wanted to fire fast so I could unload this morning, which I have. We're expecting thunder storms so I need to fire, unload and wheel the kiln back in the kiln room. I have Skutt for bisquing; but this Olympic is basically for re-fires of my soda/salt pots. Once I get wheels installed on it and get it off the big cart, I'll be able to shield it better from the wind. Yesterday it kept shutting off. AARGH!