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woodfiring/ u.p. spring kiln construction

updated tue 6 jun 06


Gary Navarre on mon 5 jun 06

Hay Crew,

Don’t know where I left off in the telling so I‘ll begin with having
picked up the second pallet of Alsey unbranded high heat duty firebrick. I
had to break it up into three trips since total weight is a little more
than 3000 lbs. I have hauled 1100 lbs. and an over weight trailer in my
’91 Ford Aerostar before and it is only a 7 mile run to Millers so three
loads of about 150 bricks over a couple of days did the trick. Besides the
day I paid for them and got the first load was the last of two days off
Wally*World. When I told Marty at work about hauling the brick he tells me
his daughter has a bunch of brick in the garage of the house she bought
and he had a sample bordering the garden at his place. That sounded great
because I wanted to see the collection of Rock Wood and other American
pottery he mentioned having. I stopped over just before my next few days
off to take a look and sure enough stamped right there on the side was
“Mo. Flint”. He also had an “Empire” found while digging in the front
yard. The next day with my last load of new brick we went to his daughters
to look at the pile. What a wreck the garage was but they got a good deal
and I was glad to move some 250 whole and pieces of useable brick. I
grabbed some and went back the next day for the rest. The pieces will help
to fill in half brick spots and not have to cut new. I’ll still have to
cut a bunch but as an old lover once said, “Every little bit helps.” When
I got all the brick off loaded and stacked it rained a lot and mushroom
season started so I had to take a break.

When the weather cleared I started futzing around with the bricks adding
to the start I made last year before the snow. Guess all that shoveling
off the snow was a waste of time since I just now uncovered the site. Oh
well! So I started thinking in 3D like my buddy Bruce Dibboll calls it and
set out the walls dry to get an idea of what fit where. Then I thought to
take Hanks suggestion to our friend up in Alaska and set some shelves up
for better visualization of possibly shelf configurations and chamber
width. The main change from my last kiln is the removal of the steps in
the floor. The Bourry generated a lot of heat, as one can see from the
deterioration of the floor in the old kiln, and could have easily fired 50
cu. ft. I wanted more space so opening up the floor seemed the logical
solution. Then I would be able to use the 1”x11”x24” shelves Dart gave me
for the first layer of shelf in place of the old floor and load pots
underneath. Since the kiln floor has a slight pitch down toward the front
and the shelves will be set level there will be somewhat of a tapering
effect going on to compress the gasses as they reach the rear of the
chamber thereby extracting the remaining heat. I decided to chop a couple
feet off the rear of the old design, because it was a real pain in the ass
to crawl back there, and add height and volume to the front. Now I have
room for a door on the front corner and won’t have to climb in and out of
the firebox to load the sucker. Here is the shots of this stuff;

My buddy Rick hooked me up with Dave (Mase) who got some Red Pine saw
logs for lumber and he gave me ¾ of a cord of slabs. Guess I need to build
me a decent saw buck now. Mase is building on the other side of Pine Creek
and made most all the lumber with a portable mill. I added this to the
Gathering fuel album;

The spring flowers are exciting;

The critters are coming out, I even have my own kiln spider;

If there are any Fotkis out there stay tuned to one of the contests
getting entries right now. It is called "Lifestyles" and I'm made another
entry for the fun of it called "Side Stoke" about the lifestyle of
independent woodfiring studio potters. Entries end in a week or so, if you
have a membership you can enter and/or vote pictures that strike your
fancy. For me it's just a hobby to keep on the beam while learning to
capture, edit, and post shots I think would make nice to hang on a wall.
Some of what I started learning about this digital photography was here on
these clay lists, some of the people in photo and electronics at Wal*Mart,
and now some members of Fotki in a list like this in
Yahoogroups. I really appreciate that because I like learnin new things.
That's what is so interesting about changing jobs often. Makes me stay
humble and realize I don't know all there is to know, I'm not much of an
authority on anything practicle, I'm not enlightened just like the rest of
you, and I would imagine just like 85% of the worlds population I too pee
off the back porch. Love ya, stay in there!

G in Da UP
Navarre Pottery
Navarre Enterprises
Norway, Michigan, USA