Monday, 30 January 2012

It got cold!

Another productive week last week, managed to spend a good couple of days working on the kiln.  Finished off keying in the back of the arch which involved plenty of niggly cutting of bricks in order to get them all tight and supported both in the arch itself and also into the front wall of the chimney.  Once that had been completed, I began building up the chimney. Raising up the collection box at the base several more layers before beginning to corble in to the final dimensions (somewhere there must be a natural law which dictates that the chimney dimensions will never quite match the dimensions of whole bricks, each layer required two small cut sections to be inserted which made each course slow: this is also directly proportional to the number of times the builder will hit their head on the roof :-(  ). I took the chimney up to just below the board which covers the hole in the roof and will leave it there until the rest of the kiln is finished to keep the rain out.

Once  finished, I  addressed finishing the main arch structure. This involves cleaning off all the excess fireclay mortar and ramming the gaps with dry fireclay using a small wooden wedge. This ensures that all the arch bricks are compressed together.  A time consuming and tedious job although very important for the final integrity of the arch, it took me five hours just to do half of one side of the structure.

So, for this week I have to finish ramming the arch and mix up some refactory castable to fill some voids at the base of the chimney as well as around the blow hole tubes in the top of the arch and then the job of laying the secondary arch can begin. Plenty of clothes on as it's set to get even colder. Joy :-)

Monday, 23 January 2012

More progress

Managed another good couple of days on the kiln with much appreciated help from Steve last week. The hot face arch is now 97% keyed in with just the back end (where it locks into the chimney base), to try and complete this week.

We've positioned 3 blow hoe tubes in the top which should provide us with plenty of information about the atmosphere in various parts of the chamber while firing as well as giving us a useful stoking guide.

View from the front which shows how the arch tapers down to the door.

We managed to build a little more than this image shows, putting in another blow hole tube at the top, and a cone viewing hole in the side arch wall.
So, lots more cutting to do this week to get all those tail bricks to fit good and strong and then filling any external gaps with slithers of brick and ramming with dry fireclay. Then, continue to build up the chimney and start the secondary arch. :-)

Monday, 16 January 2012

Happy new year

I managed to spend 3 days last week working on the kiln with the help of  Steve Parry. We had a little delay due to storms having blown the cover off the chimney hole in the roof and the former getting wet and losing rigidity, but eventually with plenty of make shift supports which made climbing inside the structure feel a little like desending into an old mine: we managed to make a start on the arch.
Having corbled in the first layers of lateral bricks we are now laying front to back stepping in from the front and back to get the two sides of the arch to meet. I'll then brick back out forward and back to tie the arch into the door arch and into the bottom of the chimney.

I'm hoping that this week we should be able to get most of the key bricks cut and in place.  There are also about 15 dense concrete hollows to carry to the other side of the kiln for buttressing before the chimney gets too high. The outside of the whole hot face arch will then need to be dry rammed with fireclay in preparation for the secondary arch to be laid. It's finally starting to take shape.