Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Firing XI

I fired off the wood kiln today, it was a nice day and seemed to be a good firing.  The cones were even throughout which tends to be a bad omen but I have a good feeling about this one, we'll see in a couple days!  I left my camera at home...didn't really have any good shots anyways.  Maybe I'll get them up tomorrow.

I used pallet slats for all the stokes above the grates(1600F - cone 9/10)...450 slats to be exact, I counted for curiosities sake.  Approximately +/- 12 slats to a pallet that is about 38 pallets.  I found there to be two positive aspects to this:
1) The kiln fired remarkably even, my guess is because of the consistent size of the wood (pallet slats vs. chopped wood.)  I'm used to having to adjust the dampers or wood size to even it out, not this time!
2) The pallet wood was primarily oak and there wasn't any dense smoke like there is with pine. No fire department this time!

The negative aspects:
1) Oak has a shorter, harsher flame than pine.  Pine has a slow lazy flame that penetrates all parts of the kiln, this means I get good surface on all sides of the pots.  Not sure how the oak will do.
2) Nails, lots of them.  I just bend them over but they still get caught on everything.
3) I can get about 10 pallets in the back of my truck, my source isn't too far but that's still several trips.
4) Stripping pallets is a bitch.  A lateral move from chopping I guess.  Most slats have nails that have to bent over and the slats still have to be cut to length. 

Overall I think for now I prefer stripping the pallets.  I'll let the pots be the final judgement. 

It's a bit foolish to have a wood fired kiln in a region where there's not much wood except mesquite. 

But...

It's my misery that I HAVE to wood fire.  So it is.

Cheers!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is a tool called a deck wrecker which would help with the pallets. Its like a crowbar with special claws that straddles the joists. I saw one handmade on another blog,I forget whose it was.

A quick image search would probably find one.

Enjoy your blog a lot!
Ross

KaratsuPots said...

I tried taking apart pallets once, said screw this, and got out my chainsaw. With the chainsaw you don't get long slats, but you do get them apart quick, and it is easy to avoid nails.

ang walford said...

brilliant,,, lets hope the pallets did a great job!!

Kings Creek Pottery said...

I admire your tenacity and look forward to photos.

Thanks for your helpful suggestions re) my firing...it helped!

Tracey Broome said...

Just a thought for wood sources: not sure if you have any theater programs near you, but the theater I sometimes work for builds sets with cheap pine and they have a dumpster out back that they toss scraps in. After the show they just break up the set and toss the whole thing in the wood pile. Such a waste, but now when I need wood, I go to that dumpster and get all I need.
We have taken the chain saw to pallets as well, what a pain they are to bust up!
Look forward to pics of the unload!! I use the bowls I got from you at the Clay and Blogs show every single day, such great bowls!

Joe and Christy said...

Pallets do sound like a pain... hopefully the pots come out looking good. I imagine that would make it all worth while.

Ron said...

Hope the pots turn out better than ever. You know what you're doing, sounds like the pallets are a good move for now. The consistency is a plus.

gz said...

I suppose oak pallets wouldn't be chemically treated like many pine pallets?

I helped fire a kiln with pine pallets...you only stayed in the smoke once.....

Ross Munro said...

OOPS, I see it was your blog that had
the deck wrecker. Guess its still a lot of sweat work!