Bertha

As if it wasn’t hot enough on Friday (hottest day of the year so far), I spent the whole day at the UCA firing the wood kiln with the Kiln Club (I am now a member!)…..What a great day we had.

The wood kiln, affectionatley known as Bertha, was lit at 4.30 am (I wasn’t there for that part).  She consumed more than 1/2 tonne of wood during the day, before finally reaching the desired temperature at about 9.30pm.

This was my initiation into the world of wood firing and I can see why people get hooked.  You are involved in every part of the firing, obsessing about the temperature rise, the shape and size of the pieces of wood.  Stoking is a constant and precise process, it doesn’t pay to take your eye off the ball for a moment.  For a big old kiln, the sensitivity was amazing.  There are the long periods where it just didn’t seem to rise in temperature at all, and it felt like it was stuck at 1100 degrees for a couple of hours.  A bit of tickling here and there with the dampers and mouseholes, some gentle adgitation, some carefully chosen pieces of wood and the break through came.

Interestingly the bottom of the kiln was considerably hotter.  Cone 10 was down by the end at the bottom and the middle, however at the top it finished up with cone 9 bent half way.

A kiln club member cleverly brought some potatoes, which were perfectly cooked in the embers..delicious.

A met a really great group of people, and look forward to the next firing.  The kiln should be opened on Thursday, so am intrigued to see the result of my Celedon glazed bowl.  Whatever the result I gained a lot from the experience.

Sealing up the door

Stoking

Raking out the ash box

Watching the wood pile quickly diminish

Tucking into jacket potatoes cooked in the embers

Raking out the ash box

Clearing the ash box..agian. Towards the end when the kiln is consuming so much wood, this is a regular and very hot job

Checking the top cones and revelling in the large reduction flame

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