Wildcat Creek Brick Company

Thursday, February 25, 2010

New stuff for the kiln.

My new pyrometer thermocouples came in yesterday! Thanks once again for Ebay. Ive been fighting using crappy old thermocouples and even went as far as making my own. Funny think was I learned alot about how they are made and work. Having these should make my kiln temp monitoring a bit easier now.

8mm type K thermocouples

Ive also made up some new clay mix. Just waiting for warmer temperatures and motivation to make some new pottery. I have some new ideas I want to try. Thinking about small clay bottles.
4 parts field clay, 1 part glass dust

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fire and snow.

Heavy snowfall tuesday. Spent the day on another 6.5 hour quickfire of the kiln. Salt glazed the last hour and half. Very good day watching the snow fall while gathering firewood and stoking the kiln.

I am very excited about the heat this firebox can generate in the small chamber.
I actually have to hold back on stoking speed sometimes. Thats still a new one for me.

And it can make alot of really black smoke if I put to much in to fast.

When I start in the morning, I use a kerosene heater in the barn for warmth. But after about an hour, the heat off the kiln becomes plenty in itself. So I turn off the heater for the rest of the day.

There were two pots on the left from the last firing that I refired to get a better glaze effect. I put in a few tiles too. They came out nice.

I liked this pot and plate.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pottery photos from latest wood kiln firing.

Here are the pots from the latest firing. My focus has been on improving my firing to a useful level where the resulting pots would be glazed fully. That is now possible. My next effort will be to improve the shape and style of the pottery to a more pleasing and useful level. The shapes may be crude, but the salt glaze is really getting close. Im excited like a little kid!

The darker pots are that way because of the naturally dug Cutler clay they are made of. There is a low percentage of glass dust in these.

This next little pot with a handle is made from Flora dug clay that has a slightly higher glass dust content than the ones above. It cracked becase it dryed out too fast in an earlier bisque firing.
The next ones are all Flora dug clay with a near 50 percent addition of bottle glass dust.

These are the two that were nearest the firebox flue. The heat was too much for them. I think that the high level of glass dust in them made the melting point lower for them. I think from now on I will either fire entirely one type of clay mix or the other. No more mixing the types in a single firing. Its too hard to comprimise between them on the firing needs. Obviously the higher glass dust clay bodies need a lower temp or shorter firing time than the near pure clay bodies do.

Heres a cool before and after photo set from the kiln to compare.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Huge success with pottery kiln modifications.

My kiln rebuild was the best thing I could have done. I am starting to realize just how gentle the balance is during a firing. All the variables have to be addressed and satisfied in order to create the best possible conditions for the fire to thrive. Expert I am not, but I am gaining on understanding how it works.
From what I can tell so far, I have gained alot on maximum temperature. I actually melted at least one pot into dripping gooo! I for the first time used cones. Not the correct ones, but close enough to get an idea. I bought an odd assortment of cones from ebay. I placed an 017, 016 , and a 6 near the spy brick. The 017 went first, then the 016. Then finally the 6 bent over. I melted all of them by the time I was ready to finish stoking the firebox. My pyrometer thermocouple is used and abused. It reported around 2000' deg F then failed. Then my front most pot in the chamber near the firebox flue started sagging down!

I thru a steel fitting into the ware chamber to see if it would melt. It glowed but didnt melt.

Notice the color progression from orange to yellow! Getting hotter.

Look at the clay gooo dripping down into the firebox from the chamber above.