Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Do work son.

Not much going on with clay but I have been dealing with wood for the kiln and the kiln itself. I have been having trouble finding wood, not much construction going on here. There have been a rash of thefts amongst construction sites here so the builders that are working won't allow anyone but their contractors on the site. Bummer. I did get two trailer loads of wood(3-4 firings?) from a guy cleaning up his farm outside of town. Most of the wood in the first photo is from that. I'm trying my best to get enough wood cut and stacked for 3-4 firings which should get me through the spring.

My kiln is designed to burn relatively straight pieces of lumber, soft wood does best because the coals burn down faster and don't clog the firebox. Mesquite is probably 80% of the native wood here and is completely unsuitable for my kiln. It is a gnarly, twisted, short tree. The wood is extremely hard(and hard to cut!) and takes FOREVER to burn down. The best wood for a wood stove or fireplace, terrible for my kiln. I've been looking for sawmills, pallet factories, etc. but haven't been able to find anything suitable closer than 4 hours away. Guess I'll keep looking, I'll find a solution to this problem eventually.

Here is the cutting station. On the right is the stack of firebox length wood, still needs to be chopped into thinner pieces, the great thing about pine is that it splits super easy, makes life a little easier. Behind the sawhorses is a pile of blocks that will be split into thinner pieces for stoking under the firebox and immediately to the left of that is a pile that I call f**k-up wood. It is wood that is less than firebox length for correcting temperature imbalance that can't be corrected with just the dampers.

The mess of a wood pile that I'm slowly working my way through. I've made a dent in it and I'll just have to hunker down and get through it. Look at whose name that is on that container back there.

A friend of mine commented that the goats didn't seem to be doing their jobs. They don't leave a perfectly manicured lawn and they don't eat everything but they clear the land pretty well. Here is a picture of our fence line. That is our neighbors back yard which is what ours looked like pre-goats. I have terrible allergies like you wouldn't believe and I avoid mowing whenever possible so we let the goats take care of the back acre. Not too bad, eh?

I've been in the barn/kiln shed in the evenings cleaning it up. I never really cleaned up after demolishing the old kiln because I ran out of time and had to get firing so about 1/3 of the barn was sort of out of commission. So I've been taking care of that mess as well as the goat disaster. I'm also doing a bit of reorganizing in the barn as well for wood stacks and such. I have no photos at this time of that but I'll take some soon.

That's all I have for now.

I hope all my American readers have a pleasant thanksgiving!



jbf said...

We used to burn mesquite all the time in our fireplace. The ranchers would let my Dad and our neighbor take all they wanted --as long as they took the mistletoe too since it made the cattle sick. Free mesquite logs to burn in the fireplace and we pay $10 a bag in NC for mesquite chips for the grill. Go figure.

Brian said...

Try looking behind grocery stores, discount clubs, home/hardware stores. A lot of them receive inventory on pallets.
Good luck!

Craig Edwards said...

Hey Brandon: I feel your pain, getting and keeping a good wood source is a constant battle. Right now I have a good sawmill contact...
One source that sometimes works are tree cutting services. I've found that some will give you the wood from the trees, they cut.
There is snow here... where is yours?

Lori Buff said...

Have you tried landfills? The Energy Exchange in NC uses pallets from the landfill behind them and I know of another potter that gets her wood from the local dump also. It's worth a look.
Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving.

Ron said...

You could always convert to drip feed oil if your wood supply runs out. Nice long dirty flame. Lots of oil in Texas right?
Can't believe you've got a whole trailer full of Kline down there!