I finished firing #5 today at about 5pm. It's been loaded for sometime now but has been dutifully waiting for it's turn to be fired. I had originally intended to fire it before our holiday sale but upon organizing the showroom I discovered that I didn't need those extra pots nor did I have room for them. I did however have an order that needed to come out so I went ahead and fired it off today.
The firing was a little more erratic than most. It fired unevenly most of the way and ended up with cone 10 down evenly on the bottom, 9 3/4 top-back, and 11 top-front. Since this firing wasn't meant to be salted I packed it tighter which I'm sure was the cause for the erratic behavior. It also used more wood, again I think because of the tighter packing, more pots=more thermal mass.
Firewood. The small stuff in front is for below the grates, up to about 14-1500 and then I begin stoking above the grates in conjunction with below until cone 08 falls and then it's just above the grates until the end.
Photo through the stokehole at about 600 degrees.
The pyrometer...a tool I've become way too dependent on, but certainly nice to have.
The passive damper is a feature on this kiln that I rarely use, usually only when the kiln is uneven. It's purpose it to reduce the drawing power of the chimney, the result is that it slows down the kiln and can make evening it out a bit easier. It has seven bricks in total but I've never pulled all 7. Since this firing was all glazed work I wanted to have at least 2 hours from cone 7 to cone 10, it usually flies through in about 50-60 minutes. So I pulled all 7 bricks and it slowed it to my desired rate. I've tried a number of different methods in the past to slow it down/soak it but nothing else works as effectively.
Cone 10 down. So hot you can barely see it.
Unloading on wednesday morning. This was something new and a big gamble, so I'm not keeping my hopes up too high. Hopefully there will be a few gems though.