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Brian Reed

First Firing

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OK so with much anticipation I have just lit my first glaze kiln this morning in my own studio. It is a refurbished Crucible Gas updraft. I put together all my glaze test tiles and some pots in last night and then this morning at 10:30 I lit the pilot light. Started my kiln log and am going to follow the kiln schedule that I think I need. It is honestly nerve wracking thinking about finally doing this all by myself. We shall see how it goes over the next 12 hours. the Goal of Cone 10 down. I will let everyone know how it goes and maybe even post pictures and maybe a youtube of the opening.

Dinah likes this

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Alright I had mistake number 1.

 

The clay I used to make a cone stand to hold my ^9^10^11 cones must not have been totally dry I only tried it for 2 days.

 

After firing for about a hour I looked and the cones had fallen over. They are sitting on the kiln shelf. Now decision time

 

1. Do I shut it down and start all over again

2. Keep going and rely on the pyrometer instead of cones for final temp.

 

 

I called someone to talk through it and decided on number 2. I will just track it with the pyrometer...not the best plan, but what I decided. We shall see if it was a mistake.

 

I am currently at hour 4 and at 1650 and the temp seems to have levled off. I have the damper at 1/2 open and closed the primary air just a little. Next step will be to turm the gas up and I should start the reduction cycle.

 

 

Beginners unite!!!!

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see, you learned something already!

 

you do have a kiln god on there, right?

 

being a beginner is great, my first raku i stacked up a beehive of hardbricks, and pushed a weedburner in there...in a montana snowstorm!...didnt work, almost though, lol, and it was fun

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Did your cone packs blow up due to moisture, or did they just fall over?

You can wedge a bit of the pearlite packing material that comes in the cone box into the clay, or poke holes into them with a needle tool.

I always make my cone packs first before I start to load the kiln. This gives them a chance to dry out.

TJR

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Thanks for the advice Neil, I will try that. I now wish I would have stopped the firing and let it cool then refired everything. I did not have any issue tracking without cones, but that exploded clay from the pack went everywhere and ruined 80% of the pots in the Kiln. Very disappointing, but a lesson I had the learn the hard way. However I did learn a few things other than that.

 

 

 

1. The Red glaze that I was testing came out way wrong in a wonderful way. Not sure how, but once I rechecked the recipe I wrote it down wrong. I started to use Insight which has helped me with some custom formulas. Now to test the red I wanted to test, and now I have found a nice metallic runny brown. Now to name the new glaze.

 

2. The shino that I was testing was too thick as I suspected, but the nice part was even as thick as it was it still did not crawl.. Good news.

 

3. Even if the cone pack had not fallen it would have been hard to see through the small peep hole. I will fix that before my next firing.

 

 

 

Well now on to the next one.

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I would like to add a few points on this

Lesson 1-when cone pads blow up -as you learned the pieces fly everywhere and you also now know what that can do to glaze wares.

Lesson 2 is the cones measure time and temperature on your glazes something the pyrometer cannot do-hence this is why we need cones.

As noted make some cone pads and have them dry sitting around for the next fire-I tend to make 10 at a time but as I fire each week I always need dry ones.

If you have to use wet ones go slow first 800 degrees or so.

The great thing about ceramics is one is always learning from ones mistakes.

The hard thing about ceramics is one is always learning from ones mistakes.

Mark

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