Friday, June 18, 2010

El Gato del Diablo

and/or: The Devil Cat, The Cat of Satan, HellCat, the New Wood Kiln

Ohio University is famous for building huge kilns, three of the five kilns here could easily take 1 1/2-2 months for one person to fill. We are on the quarter system (ten weeks), and firing one of these beasts by yourself is almost a logistical improbability, given the time to make pots, split wood, fire, cool down, and present, all withstanding the inevitable rains storm Athens is blessed with.

I had been reading Brandon Phillips blog for many years, and following his firings. I decided that I liked his kiln design, and sensible approach to a one-man sized kiln with quick firing time, and efficient use of fuel. Also, the university lacked a kiln dedicated to Wood/Salt.

After firing the double catenary arch kiln ("The Double Bubble) twice, both times to disastrous results, I convinced Brad that we needed an new kiln. I pitched the idea to Brain, and we started researching plans, with much technical help via e-mail from Brandon.

Here's a picture of Brandon's former kiln down in Texas, my original inspiration...
Before we could proceed with construction of a new kiln, we needed to demolish the Double Bubble and salvage bricks from the floor and Bourry box...
Once the accursed old kiln was down, and the bricks sorted and counted, we began laying the cinder block for the foundation...
According to Appalachian tradition the setting of a perfectly square floor demands a hillbilly jig be danced
the arch goes up...

Brian Dieterle: ceramics deptartment tech, instructor, kiln building foreman, architectural designer, technical consultant, pro-am welder, and all around good guy.
skip ahead many moons, many welds, and many cursing fits...and voila:
My one request for this kiln against all others was that it have a swinging door. The very essence of woodfiring luxury. And per Brandon's advice we put stoke doors on both front and back sides...

Heres the kiln loaded for its maiden voyage...
The obligatory cone pack shot

James and I inspecting the finished work.
The firing was smooth, and easy. The results were great and continue to be. Thanks to Brandon Phillips, Brian Dieterle, Brian Pierce, Chelsea Ruwe, Paul Callahan, Elliot Marquette, John Fitz, Sara Reid, Britt Thorpe, and Bill Kravis for their efforts in making this kiln a successful addition to the OU stable.

1 comment:

  1. Do you have detailed plans for the kiln? I can see that I will have to build one in the next year or so, and I will need to know what materials, etc., so I can identify funding. Not to mention I will probably be building it by myself at the high school. I would appreciate any assistance you could provide! Thanks