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salt fumes

updated mon 31 mar 97


Nan Rothwell on sat 29 mar 97

Thanks for your response, Gavin. You wrote:

"I hope you don't begin salting below about cone 10."
In fact I begin salting around an average of cone 7/8 moving/going. (My kiln
isn't fully even, top to bottom.) I only fire to cone 9 at the bottom, 10 at
the top -- and if I waited until 9 was moving before beginning to salt, I
wouldn't be able to get it all in before the kiln got too hot. I fire quite a
large kiln (60+ cubic feet stacking space) and put 25+ pounds of salt in over
several saltings... I throw in quite a lot of wood during salting (as well
as earlier in my cycle) and like to let the kiln clear out, fully reoxidize,
and soak a while before turning it off.

"Hamada used to wrap the salt in paper packets, and then throw them in the
stoke hole, but that probably won't work with a gas kiln."
That is how I put my salt in. I wrap tortilla-style rolls in old
newspapers, secure them with rubber bands and toss them into the space behind
my bagwall, in front of the burners. (I built the kiln specifically for
salt, so left a larger-than-usual space for wood and salt and put in pull
bricks for this purpose.) Over the years, I have done it several ways -- but
this is the most tidy -- no more spillage or little piles of salt on the kiln
shed floor.

And as for the conclusions of your erstwhile neighbor, I agree.

"Do you experience your headaches and distress with other kiln firings, or
with salt firings alone?"
I think just with salting. But it has been a number of years since I fired
any other kind of kiln regularly enough to know. I have participated in
several wood-firings and ended up feeling somewhat hung-over the next day.
But I suspect that was more a result of staying up way past my bedtime and
hauling and heaving wood by the hour than from fumes.

Nan Rothwell