22 September 2009

final tweaks and we're hot

A quick update for those that do not follow on facebook as to the tweaking of the kiln.

First...I took apart my door and car bed so that we could lift it up (way heavy) to get the rails in. Also, I could rebuild the door with the car in place to make sure and have a tight seal where before it was losing way too much heat around the front and also not reducing well in that area because too much air was getting sucked in during the firing.

I bought 1/2" angle iron for the rails and rolled the car up on it so that it fit well. I then welded the rails together with strap steel so that they would be parallel ( I seem to have a problem with parallel). Leif drilled holes through the strap and rotohammered into the concrete so that we could drop bolts through the straps and hold the rails in place.

I rebuilt the bed much tighter to the walls and then the door. raw fingertips because apparently I am also allergic to gloves :). and those bricks are rough. The door fits mucho bettero now. Before, I was stuffing the obvious leaks with kaowool...not so good.

During this time, the new retention tips arrived and were easily attached to the burners with a 2" coupler. This lengthened the burners substantially and is where the difficult (perceived) task came about. The plumbing (black pipe) had to be completely taken apart and revised to that the burners sat properly at the ports. We paid the plumbers 1000 dollars for the initial work and I was not in the mood to have them back so we tackled it ourselves.

Getting everything unscrewed was the toughest part. Leif and I and 2 pipe wrenches and a bucket of sweat got the job done. .then off to the hardware store for me and back to the lookout for Leif. I got my pipe and pipe dope (to seal not to smoke) and put her all back together. (not hard at all). Called the propane company ( the woman was NOT psyched that i did it myself) and had them fill the tank and test for leaks. A-OK was the word...(visualize the heidi happy dance).

I finally got the load glazed and she's off and running as I type. crap....I just realized that I am sans kiln god/goddess for this firing. better get on that...i really don't need to piss off that crowd.


09 September 2009

kilnbuilder report and the work begins

so...if you read my last post, you may recall that i was a little on the nervous nellie side waiting for donovan (masterkilnbuilders.com) to take a peek at my kiln. i really was prepared to do some explaining (make excuses) regarding certain elements like the damper that doesn't quite close off the chimney and the strange look of my stack and exit flue but alas....no explanations necessary. there was no audible laughing or snickers and he was very complementary...blush.

that said....there is still work to be done. the first thing he noticed was that my ancient venturi burners did not possess 'flame retention tips'. i totally thought that i had them. (their function is to create turbulence at the burner tip, which mixes the air and gas and keeps the flame right on the tip, reducing the chances of flash-back into the burner tube.)*
essentially...they will make my flames much more efficient and cut down on firing time. i'll let you know when they get here. they were $300+ but should prove to cut my propane use considerably.

the tips will just screw on to my burners with a coupler but the challenge is that we have to extend the pipe on both sides. i'm a little hesitant to mess with the plumbing but it must be done.

the second task at hand is to rebuild my door and car bed and install the rails for it to ride on. i thought that because the car was soooo heavy that rails were unnecessary if it rolled smoothly on the concrete but donovan said that it jostles slightly every time it is pushed in and eventually really gets off kilter..i got the 1/4" angle iron yesterday and rolled the car onto it and then welded strap metal between to hold them parallel and today we will rotohammer holes into the concrete and drop bolts through the strap to secure the tracks. that way, we can lift up the tracks easily at any time by pulling out the pins.

next...i will use a level across the front of the kiln shell to make certain that all the face bricks are flush to facilitate a tight seal with the door. i've already completely unstacked the door to move the car around...(i forgot how many bricks it took to build the door....200+).

all the pots are done for the next firing so i just have to get this work done and glaze and should be good to go. the only part i'm dreading a bit is the pipe work....those things thread all different directions it seems.