mel jacobson on fri 28 mar 08
david, as you may recall in the blur of clayart....since about
1980 i have said many times.
"every fuel kiln is a multi fuel kiln"
i have had so many detractors i can not count them.
many from clayart.
i have had people scream at me...`DON'T TURN ON THE
GAS FOR THE WOOD KILN..NO MATTER WHAT. IT IS CHEATING`
my point is, and i feel no shame in repeating it.
if you are going to use a new/unknown fuel to you....
learn and figure out a system to deliver it. efficiently.
just being noble does nothing. being smart and having a plan
is very noble...and it may save fuel, and make a great kiln
corn cobs fire very well. but you or anyone else will
have to figure out dry storage, find a way to throw them
into the kiln, or as we say...`a feeder system`.
it reminds me of our great fuel savior...ethenol.
well, `every action has an equal and opposite reaction`.
we now see 25 dollar a bushel wheat, water being
used at alarming rates to make ethenol. food prices
going out of the roof. the pheasants and partridge of this
state are being bushed right out. 60 years of conservation
being trashed. every marsh and ditch
is being planted in corn. the rush is on. destroy everything
to plant corn. right now, many are very upset with the rush.
kilns are basically fire boxes. whatever burns will make the
i have built along with kurt every kiln idea there is....including
roman circle kilns, primitive kilns, wood fired, oil...i have spent
a small fortune building kilns. no grants. my money. kurt has
lead many of these building adventures. we know a bit about
and, i have seen so many dreamers thinking they can get
free fuel just drop off the wayside. they waste so much energy and
time and money...on nothing. no research, no planning.
no free lunch.
building kilns to use any fuel takes study, planning, and
systems to store fuel, make delivery systems and make
sure the kiln fires well to the determined temp.
this is not about loading the kiln, turn on the computer. hit
the on button.
it is just as you have done. just as david hendley has done
to make a great `fast freddie` wood fired kiln work for him. every time.
it was not an accident. it will be a cornerstone chapter
in the new book.
but, i tell every potter that asks me about alternative fuels....
`step back, take a breath, start the planning...it is not going
to be easy or simple`.
as we found out yesterday...the young man is planning a wood
fired, oil fired, saw dust injector kiln. now we know.
but, he has a great deal of work ahead. some sawdust burners work,
others do not, some oil burners work well, some do not. his idea
of adding a hard brick fire box for wood is helpful. and, in my
private letter to him...i encouraged him to move forward, and
i offered him my help.
the best advice a teacher can give is:
plan, do research, test, test, test, read what others have
done....and then plan some more.
then do it...then step back and redesign. do it again.
just as you do david. every time.
if i rant a bit, it is because i have seen so much silly
unplanned kiln designing. many are in books that we
have all read. odes to brick piles with no system instructions
for firing, fuel and its delivery. a kiln fires perfectly because the fuel
and oxygen have been used in a timely manner. the pressure,
'the amount of feed balances perfectly with the chimney system.
the K factor is understood and the kiln fires to X cone without
wasting fuel. this would be a noble kiln.
and david, i always appreciate your sense of being a gentleman.
you discuss your ideas with the purpose of learning.
you never pounce.
there is so much to learn...it boggles the mind.
i spent an hour on the phone with the folks at `burners.inc.` in detroit.
they are going to add a great deal of information for the book.
they seem so pleased that someone really wanted information.
amazing huh? many are seeing that this new book is not
about me, my ideas...it is about finding many people with
great information and then sharing it. share the byline, give credit
to smart people that have solved the problems.
`adult shared learning`. the best kind of learning.