Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Some last touches

Today a few items got tied up on the kiln.

Photo on the left shows the pipes/plumbing for the propane. Yesterday, I met Howard at Lowe's to select the black iron nipples, bell reducers, tee's, an elbow and a cross. We laid out the pieces we wanted on the floor to make sure they were all there. Did very good, too, as there was one iron nipple left-over.

The green thingy is a pressure reducer for my raku kiln. My old gas kiln ran on low-pressure propane burners, the new kiln will run on hi-pressure propane burners. All the connections between the propane tank and the kiln burners themselves had been like a "black box" to my brain. The parts needed to get propane from point A to point B was a big mystery to me. I don't begin to "know it all" at this time, but I have greatly improved my understanding of how & why one uses particular pieces to "plumb" a kiln. And the raku kiln is now operable!

On the right side photo, the angle-iron braces on the sides of the upper chimney were installed today. The original design called for the braces to be longer, but they didn't fit with the rain flashing on the chimney above the roof. So we had Claude cut the angle-iron, and it was reconfigured as pictured above. Threaded tie rods go around the chimney at the top & bottom of the metal braces.

Time to go back to making pots - there's nearly enough for the first firing...

Kiln Door & more

The short story is the photo on the right. Soft bricks were mortared next to the corbelled chimney bricks and against the kiln wall. This is the only place on the side walls that did not have kaowool (fiber insulation) for added insulation.

On the left, is a brick-up of the kiln entrance. Hard bricks are next to the hot-face interior of the kiln, and soft bricks are the back-up layer. If you look close, you can see that I ran out of soft bricks half way up the doorway. I still have some soft bricks, but they all need to be mortared together. That means they are halves (or in more pieces). It took many tries of bricks going up and down to come up with what is pictured. To get the peep holes in position to line up with the holes cut in the sheet-metal/kaowool door cover was one obstacle.

I had not planned for the number of half bricks I would need in the door. Renting a brick saw, hauling it out here, then back to town just to cut a small number of bricks seemed like over-kill and a lot of time spent for a little amount to get done. Sutherlin Rentals was open on Monday's holiday, and consented to let me bring my bricks in to be cut. They knew me from previous rentals, and set up the brick saw in back. It didn't take me long to cut the bricks I needed (and a few spares). Not watching the time, I can't say for sure, but I'm sure it was not more than 15 minutes.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Today, a brick mason, Randy, came to help me finish the chimney. He could definitely lay bricks much faster than I could. I learned a few brick-laying tricks now - at the end of my brick-laying.

The rain flashing as the chimney came through the roof seemed to be the greatest challenge to me. Randy knew what to do. We had many discussions, as I wanted to have much more air through the roof next to the chimney. Claude brought a can of spray rust-o-leum primer to protect the galvanized metal rain flashing.

The chimney now rises at least 24" above the roof. We ended up placing a board weighted down with a couple of bricks on top of the chimney to prevent rain from coming down the hole.

I keep making a few more pots for the kiln...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Out of Mortar - Again

Thursday & Friday (New Year's Eve & Day) the chimney got mortared to within 10 rows of the kiln shed roof. The top row of bricks has only 3 of the 7 bricks mortared before the mortar ran out.

See how much higher than the blue ladder the chimney goes to, now. It is getting difficult to lift the bricks onto the chimney stack. It is much easier to lift a brick over one's head if the brick starts from a lower position. An 8.5 pound brick lifted from head level feels much heavier than the same brick lifted from knee or waist height - try it if you don't believe me.

The photo on the left shows the chimney not in alignment with the rough cut hole in the shed roof. Looks like I will have to rent a Sawz-All to cut the hole bigger. Some more of the support wood needs to be cut, as well the aluminum roofing needs to have corners squared for the chimney bricks.

I checked into renting a "person"-lift to work above the kiln shed roof - obviously the blue ladder is not tall enough. And the 'lift' should extend over the roof edge to just where the bricks will come through the roof.