Friday, January 18, 2013

Slowly focusing kiln design ideas

Dan Finnegan flew from Boston last week, leaving Kim Medeiros and me here on Cape Cod, contemplating the kiln design discussion we had with him over 48 hours. (Oh, and we had a pretty damn good vegetarian potluck dinner party here with a number of local potters, many of them already FOFs ... Friends of Finnegan.)
Kim and I were left with some immediate homework: First, find wood. I mean, it seems like a given, but finding appropriate fuel for the kiln is a fairly crucial first step. Fortunately, I've lived here long enough to know the kind of people who know those kinds of people. That means we've got a line of a couple of sawmills not far from the Cape who create lots and lots of pine offcuts. OK, that's a start.
We also need the shelves around which the kiln will be built. Our initial decision is to use 14x28-inch shelves, configured to basically create a square and, vertically, a cube. We know we can buy the shelves new, but we're on the lookout for used silicon carbide. Anyone know of any? We'll travel to pick up, within reason. Lemme know.
The same goes for brick. I have about 800 used soft and hard brick, but we think most of the hard brick will go into the chimney. Again, we'll probably buy new, but are not averse to saving money. Lemme know.
After talking kiln with Dan for about two days, what we came up with - perhaps not remarkably - will look a lot like a single-chamber version of his two-chamber kiln outside Fredericksburg. A photo of that kiln is attached, as is one of Dan in consult mode. Dan led us through options for capacity, arch, firebox, etc. and something like this really seems to do what we want it to. Big enough to fire with others, not so big that one or the other of us couldn't do a single big firing if need be.
So, we're on the trail of all the details that need to be done before the planned June start date. Anyone who has advice, feel free.








9 comments:

Tracey Broome said...

So exciting! your work is going to take off in all sorts of new and wonderful directions. What a 2013 you are going to have!!!! aren't you glad the world didn't end?

Hollis Engley said...

I am indeed glad the world didn't end, Tracey.

Dennis Allen said...

Sounds great Hollis. Cattle Barn Clay above Indianapolis sells used shelves but the freight would probably offset the savings.

Hollis Engley said...

Thanks, Dennis

Michael Kline said...

This is exciting! Seems like Finnegan is hot as a kilnbuilder these days! looking forward to teaching with Dan at Penland this spring!

brandon phillips said...

WOOHOO! That's exciting! Consider the idea of using fireplace brick(low-duty firebrick) above the dampers. That's what I've used on both my wood kilns. Last time I purchased them they were something like .75 each from a local house brick supplier. That was a few years ago but surely still cheaper than new firebrick.

A bourry box?!!! What happened to wanting ash on your pots? ;)

Hollis Engley said...

Still talking about that, Brandon.

Kings Creek Pottery said...

Way exciting!! I have old soft and hard brick- need to do a count for you, that is- if you are interested in a visit to Schoharie?! What's your timeline?

Hollis Engley said...

We won't need the brick until the spring. Planning now. But when we get closer, maybe we can use it. Many thanks.