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Frustrating 16 Hour Firing! But…Great Results!

Frustrating 16 Hour Firing!  But…Great Results!

Firing a gas kiln in reduction successfully requires learning your kiln’s moods, character, quirks, and happy spots.

I thought I knew Thelma, my older fiber gas kiln, pretty well.  But then I did the unthinkable!  I MOVED a shelf!

So the bottom shelf was cracked and when Malcolm Greenwood saw where it was positioned recently, he suggested that I raise it up a bit…so I did.  When it was raised up, it left a gap that I thought might allow the flames to escape through – and right up the flue.  So I added a small piece of kiln shelf to cover this gap.

The firing seemed to be going fine until about 1100 degrees celsius…then things went wonky.  The firing took 16 hours and I never got cone 10 to fall – I finally just gave up after trying everything!

I dreaded opening the kiln and actually waited two days before opening it… an all time record for me!

But….to my amazement, the firing was great – one of my recent bests!  I guess the heat and time did the work!

cone 10 gas reduction firing results cone 10 gas reduction firing results cone 10 gas reduction firing results cone 10 gas reduction firing results cone 10 gas reduction firing results cone 10 gas reduction firing results cone 10 gas reduction firing results cone 10 gas reduction firing results cone 10 gas reduction firing results cone 10 gas reduction firing results cone 10 gas reduction firing results cone 10 gas reduction firing results

I also saw what the problem was!  The little bag wall/gap filler had fallen over the burner ports covering them by half!  So, no wonder I couldn’t get to temp!

I did learn some good lessons:

  1.  Even though the kiln was in oxidation at the end of the firing, all of my copper reds looked great!
  2.  Cone 9 might be a happier place for some of my glazes!

The moral to this little story is:  You NEVER quit learning! And Just when you think you know your kiln, you don’t!

Good firing to you all!

Marian

Written by Marian Williams

4 Comments

  1. Anna · March 8, 2017

    some beautiful colours in those bowls! even with an electric kiln there can be unexpected happenings in the kiln.. it keeps us guessing (and learning)

  2. Clay Blog Review: March 2017 - Pottery Making Info · April 7, 2017

    […] Marian Williams: Frustrating 16 Hour Firing! But…Great Results! […]

  3. katrina wheeler · June 19, 2017

    I’m sitting with my kiln and started firing at 1100 yesterday. It’s now three thirty and I’m stuck at 1236. At this rate it will be another four or five hours to get to 1280 and I’m worried it will have over fired. I’m on full gas and burners are firing well. I can’t believe it’s taking so long. Sadly I baslou positioned my cones above the spy hole and am struggling to see them properly so am relying on my pyrometer which I know is pretty accurate. Any ideas. I don’t think I’ll be going to bed tonight.

    • Marian Williams · August 26, 2017

      Hi, I JUST saw your post! I hope that your firing was ok! Give me a call if you have any further questions as I know it can be so frustrating with no one to help you! 0408684567 Where are you located?
      All the best,
      Marian

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