Sunday, May 31, 2009
1000 F and Climbing
I finally got the pyrometer connected up, and the right sitter cones, and all my test tiles made. I doing my first firing right now - ALL BY MYSELF, YIKES.
I have a used Skutt 181 I was able to purchase well within my budget (for a song). I loaded the test tiles from three different clay bodies along with cones on each shelf. My thinking is to test the clay bodies and to see if any shelf is hotter than another. While I was loading the kiln, I was thinking, "This is really small, I need a bigger kiln". My, oh my, what's a gal to do?
I put the sitter cone in the sitter and turned the kiln on. I started at 12:30 and kept it on low with the lid propped and the top peep hole open for two hours. It already wanted to climb over 200 F. How am I going to slow candle my handbuilt pieces if it gets hot so fast on low? I kept holding a mirror in front of the peep hole but never saw any moisture on the mirror, perhaps because the lid was open? Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.
Next I turned it to medium, still with the lid propped open till I got over 650 F and all the smell seemed to disappate. This took another hour. Then I turned it up to high for about 10 minutes and closed the lid. The operating manual says to keep the top peep open at all times so that's the way it is now.
It is now 4:25 and I am already up to 750 F. At 4:30 I am at 1000 F. Maybe this means the kiln is in real good shape because it doesn't take very long to heat up. Maybe I'll post this and you can make comments and then I'll post some more - it's kind of scary here all by myself. Feel free to chime in now.
You're all probably all laughing and saying what's the big deal? But remember I am isolated out here in the middle of the country without a soul to give me any moral support or advice - all I have is YOU - what do you think - is it all ok?