I'm working on a couple of tile-inlay projects, and thus looking to firing some 40+ tiles over the next week (most of which are 4*4).
I'd like to streamline and improve the process. There are two areas in particular I'd like to tweak...
1) Maximizing output from each firing.
If I lay the tiles flat, I can get nine tiles on the shelf. I've never tried to use stacked shelves, or fire the tiles on their sides (with support) but I'd consider this if the outcomes would be good. I'd worry that shelves might change the temp gradient or the reduction/oxidation conditions within the kiln, and that side-firing might lead to warping or cracking.
2) Efficiently moving the tiles to the post-fire reduction chamber.
As of now, I'm scootching each tile to the edge, grabbing it with my tongs, and placing it in the reduction bucket. It's a frustratingly slow process... by the time I get all nine tiles bucketed (three to a chamber) I worry that I've missed out on the best of the reduction effects. Picking the tiles up with my kevlar gloves does not speed things up. I've considered placing the reduction chamber next to the kiln and 'flicking' the tiles into the bucket... but I worry about fracturing.
Anyhow, if anyone has grappled with this and has suggestions, I'd love to hear them.