It's been a day of trying to recharge my battery after an 18 hour day firing the soda kiln. It was a struggle to get it to fire evenly with the the new T shaped bag wall and smaller flues. I know this works well with normal downdrafts; but it definitely did not work well with the hard brick cross draft. The early part of the firing went fine, pretty even for a cross draft; but once I had to up the power I could not get the top hot enough no matter what I did - burner adjustment, active and passive damper adjustments, etc.etc. Even turning off the front burner and upping the others only made the bottom hotter. It did give me one top hot spot on one side at the back of the kiln. Then one of the thermocouples on my double fluke digital pyrometer stopped working - for hours, so I had to dig through cabinets to find a possible replacement and get it hooked up . Needless to stay it was a bit of a frustrating day, ending with me stepping on and breaking the wand on my best sprayers (the one with the power pack that you don't have to manually pump).
Because of the bag wall and flue changes, I put a lot more cones throughout the kiln. It's going to be an interesting unloading!
At one point I seriously considered aborting the firing but the thought of un-bricking and emptying the kiln, re-doing the bag wall, opening the flues,reloading and re-firing was a more dismal prospect than trying to baby this it with the hope of getting it hot enough in some areas without getting too hot in others to save the firing. I know I reached cone 12 in a couple of spots, cone 10 in others and cone 9 only starting in at least one spot - crazy.
I turned the kiln off at 11 o'clock after only doing a couple of rounds of spraying and throwing in about a pound and a half of salt burritos. Between the glitches, a bad headache, strained back, and rushing the time between spraying to end my misery, I'm hoping for the best. My liner glazes have a pretty wide firing range, so I'm hoping for the best. The draw rings showed some gloss which should be fine since I don't aim for heavy salting; and adding 1/2 lb more salt than my usual one pound addition was my frantic attempt to just get the firing over with without straining my back any further.
It's time to start seriously looking at cone 6 soda in these twilight years as well as scaling down this kiln a bit which should make for more even firing.