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oil burners and father doug

updated fri 22 jan 10


Rimas VisGirda on thu 21 jan 10

Vince's story about Father Doug reminded me of my beginnings in kiln buildi=
ng. When we, Dick Hotchkiss and I, started H&V Pottery around 1967, our fir=
st kiln was a combination of oil and wood. The kiln was a 2 opposing firebo=
xes downdraft -by downdraft I mean a flue opening under the floor, not thos=
e hole in the back-side that are considered 'downdrafts' these days... We f=
ound that oil was difficult to burn at ambient temperatures, whereas wood w=
as easy to burn, wood was plentiful in the Sierra foothills. So we started =
the firings with wood up to past red heat. We had a piece of channel iron a=
bout 8in wide by 2in high and about 12in long between the fireboxes and the=
chamber. When we got past red heat, we inserted a copper tube into the kil=
n to drip onto the channel iron and it went like gangbusters. We had 2 15ga=
l barrels raised on about 6ft wooden scaffolds, one on each side of the kil=
n, with a tap for the tubing at the bottom of the can and a valve on
the tube to control the oil flow. Our biggest problem was building up clin=
kers just inside the chamber that clogged the channel iron if we over oiled=
it. Sometimes we were able to reach in with an iron rod to break up the cl=
inkers. A typical c/10 firing would take about 5 hours. We started with mot=
or oil, but changed to fuel oil, it was easier to deal with and the cost wa=
s minimal regarding the time it took to gather the motor oil and filter it,=
plus it was lot cleaner...