Saturday, February 6, 2010

virginia car kiln

Ok folks, here is the last kiln built by shane mickey kiln design services (yes it has a name and is a business). So will baker and I drove up to salem virginia to build a kiln for the powell family, seems it will be used for some classes, a little retirement fun, and by one of the sons as a distant kiln he can fire, since he lives in black mt. Trust me that is not odd to me, i have seen it more than once, potter building a kiln further away. So, I was contracted to build a three shelf car kiln, cone 10 reduction. I love building soft brick kilns, so much more fun and easier than moving a lot of hard brick. Upon arrival I noticed that the slab had been poured with a very healthy 4 inch drop for drainage, YIKES~ Since it was 14 degrees out and we only had 5 solid days to build I had to think outside the box. If you look carefully in this photo you will see the layer of brick that were cut at angles to make up for the 2.5 inch difference from side to side. I know, very lucky on that one. In this photo you can see the initial foundation, I solved the cart by using two different sized pieces of angle iron, it worked out very nicely and you can see by the two sides of the metal cart the difference in terms of the foundation, its way off, which we fixed, see above. Once we overcame that hurdle we moved into wall laying mode. Usually at this point i may send will back to the chimney to work on it, but this site already had an insulted system coming down from the roof, so will worked with me on the walls. Well about right after this pic above was taken and several hours after a killer mexican lunch (CHORIZO), I became violently ill, started vomiting around 6pm and it continued every 15 mins till 5 am. I languished in bed till around 9am. Eventually i got up and made myself go to the hardware store to get materials for the arch form and anything else we would need for the rest of the build. By the time we got back to the job site i was weak, so let will unload the truck and start on the arch layout while i went down to rest. I slept thru lunch and managed to work from around 3-5 that day, we got the arch form built and the run of bricks figured. I then let will lay all the brick but the keybrick. The next morning i was at 70% and was back at it! We managed to finish the arch, start the door and some of the small brick cuts under the arch. For the door i tried to add some more stability. Most car kiln doors, over time, will become loose if the frame is only welded together. Even if it is bolted together the wall can walk. I tried to stop this by running some rod thru the door in notched out brick, only time will tell i guess. you can see the door detail here: Ok, so I found the door to be very exciting, see when you build kilns that are very similar this business can get a bit boring. I try to add new and hopefully better design elements to every kiln i build. One thing this kiln site had that needed to be considered was overhead. The roof was only 8 feet high with two covered beams that hung down another 8 inches. The kiln was a little shorter in height than the average kiln. On top of that i decided to over insulate the arch. This kiln has three layers of ceramic fiber topped with stucco. I have to say that this was one of the best stucco jobs we have every done! I got smart and used a 2x6 wedged between the upright irons, set on top of the skewblocks, this allowed me to really work the edges of the stucco and end up with a very strong and clean edge. Here she is in all her glory: Well this kiln will go down in the books as one of the more interesting builds. When we finished the stucco at 3pm on day six we literally threw stuff in the back of bessie, grabbed a sandwich and left. We thought we would run into some snow, but we hit a helluva snow storm in southern VA. It made for a slow ride home, but a lot of time to talk business. So there you have it, the long story. I will update how she fires once the client sets a date and time for me to go back to fire her up. see ya round the blogosphere shane

Friday, February 5, 2010

cold wet snow

Just jumping on here, we were supposed to get hammered by a big storm, it actually shook out to be 4-6 inches with a healthy dose of rain. Now all the snow is slushy, wet, nasty stuff! My least favorite type of snow. I chose to start the day and spend the first half the day bringing in wood for the house, noticed some recyclables in the way and thought, "hmmmm, i should just load them up in the truck!" AFter unloading tools and misc brick pieces (why i save them is beyond me!) from the last kiln build. i loaded up all the recycling. Now to drive up to the recycle center to see if its even open. I know, I know, still wondering about that car kiln post. i am working on it. be safe out there shane

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

back at work

so, this potters life has been anything but pottery lately. I know i am giving tons of info and guidance to the potters of western piedmont CC's prof. crafts program, but i have not made pots for myself until yesterday! been a long break and it feels so good to be in the saddle again. On other fronts I the kiln business has been busy for the economic downturn. Will baker and I went up to salem Va to build a car kiln (images of that will come later!) It was a successful build even though we battled negative windchills every day, frozen wet saw, and i had either a stomach flue or food poisoning for 30 hours! WE pulled thru and still finished the kiln in 5-6 days. Upon return school started back up and the following weekend i spent at linda mcfarlings studio ripping up her floor, firebox castable and one of the door jamb walls, these are the pics you see here! The bricks in what i call the firewall had been eaten away so badly that the bagwall fell in during a firing. there are pics of a couple of these bricks, you can see how bad they were damaged. We replaced them with some andalusite brick which are high fire superduty, high alumina in content. The brick were 15" long so they made a nice replacement to the front of the floor where all the soda action takes place. After the demo and rebuild was finished i added some metal around the floor and cut a new hole since i moved the main side soda port higher. I still need to remud and add two pieces of threaded rod, but the kiln is functional, enjoy the pics. I will update the va kiln soon and some goings on at school. I need to keep this blog a rolling! happy potting the doctor