Friday, 24 February 2012

It's all going on behind the scenes

Not much has changed externally to the kiln since last week. Any gaps between the hot face bricks and the tops of the insulation bricks have been filled with sand in preparation for the insulation layer to be laid which will be happening with the help of Rob and Alex, 2 of our 3D final year students on Wednesday. The insulation mix will be roughly :

6 parts Sand
1pts fireclay
1pt Portland cement
1 pt lime

4pts cotton fibres
5litres Pearlite

 Behind the scenes with many thanks to Chris and Pete the large RSJ which I plan to use as the uprights for the exterior bracing has been cut in half and has been marked up for cutting and drilling also next week, these can then be bolted to the ground and secured to the wall and the large horizontal brace bolted into place.

Another pallet of straights has been ordered for the floor, grate and door as well, so hopefully by the end of next week externally the kiln will be complete with just the secondary floor to lay. The first firing will be mid April, this gives the whole structure plenty of time to dry etc. and plenty of work will be made to fill it. More of this later :-)

Friday, 17 February 2012

Can you tell what it is yet?

Much better week this week, I managed to get lots of outstanding bits done. Early on, any gaps between bricks such as the chimney base were packed with castable along with any joints in the secondary arch. It was then time to get on with cementing the insulation blocks into place. These are ultra low density blocks which are able to take the heat from the fire brick wall as well as offer a good insulatory layer along the sides of the chamber. A bit fiddly on the wall side as it's quite narrow. Having completed that and the cement aloud to cure, the gap between the insulation blocks on the kiln and the yard wall was filled with concrete blocks and old bricks to butress that side of the kiln.

 It was then time to build up the chimney, despite an aptitude for dropping my trowl down it, it went up reasonably quickly, managing to lay about 4 courses each hour which doesn't sound much but there was also a lot of brick moving and cutting of small 1inch bits as spacers, 2 or 3 per course. I still need to add a few more courses, it's standing at about 11.5 feet at the moment and I reckon it needs another foot.

 I also put in a flame viewing hole / passive damper in the front of the chimny, bit of a narrow gap as the main chamber insulation will be built up level with the top of the blow hole pipe. The next major job will be to get the main insulation layer done, this will be a mixture of sand, lime, perlite, sawdust,  straw and cement and lots and lots and lots of shoveling; whooooop.

Friday, 10 February 2012


Unfortunately the weather has finally had a impact on the build. After snow last weekend the yard has been completely frozen up. The insulation blocks for the sides have now arrived and I was hoping to start on the insulation of the arch this week but the old insulation sand and pearlite mix has been frozen solid all week so I'll have to wait until it thaws before that job can be started. Also, the fireclay mortar between the secondary arch bricks is frozen so ramming and filling those gaps again, will have to wait until it defrosts a little. The other outstanding job is taking the chimney out through the roof which again has been put on hold until the ice on the roof has melted. Hopefully the firebricks for the floor, grate and door will be arriving soon so that is another job on the list.

Roll on the spring :-)

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Most of the heavy brickwork completed :-)

Well, it's been a very cold week here, the temperature in the yard has not got much above freezing for most of it so loads of clothes have been in order. Having completed all the fire clay filling on the hot face arch, Wednesday was a big day and the former came out. The space looks great and the rest of the day was spent clearing away excess mortar from the internal hot face and mixing up the refractory castable and packing all the supporting gaps inside.

Due to the cold and not wanting to compramise the curing of the castable, all the cast areas had to be covered with fibre and a small heater was put in the kiln over night to stop it all from freezing.
On Thursday and Friday Steve Parry again was over to help with the build of the secondary arch. Great help and much appreciated.

 Despite having to regularly defrost our buckets of mortar we managed at five PM on Friday to knock into place the last key brick. Very satisfying. So, most of the heavy brick work is done. Jobs left to do? Pack any gaps between the secondary arch bricks, complete the chimney, Lay the insulation blocks along the sides, mix and lay the insulation mix on the top, lay the second floor layer and finally sort out and fit the metal bracing on the outside wall. Plenty still left to do but this week was definitely a turning point.

On adifferent note, I'm starting to put together shows and exhibitions for 2012 and these can be seen on my website information page, hope to see you there :-)