Friday, March 26, 2010

Wired up and ready to go

When I called the tech guy at L&L and told him what happened that fateful night, he said "that sure sucks" and sent us a free Brick Repair Kit. It took us a few tries, but we finally succeeded in patching the kiln floor. For all of you trying this at home, here are two helpful hints: (1) don't confuse "cement" with "grout," and (2) don't believe the instructions: wait way more than 24 hours for the cement to cure, and help it along with a heat gun.

Being married to an engineer who will spend upwards of two hours lovingly designing, cutting, smoothing, assembling, and mounting an elegant, weather-proof brass bracket outside the kitchen window to hold a cheapo $2 thermometer--the sort of engineer who defines "vacation" as visiting friends and relatives and repairing their broken doors and bathroom fixtures--has its advantages when it comes to making busted kiln floors look as good as new.

With the helpful upper-body strength of a few neighbors, we finally set the kiln walls atop the repaired floor last weekend. Our electrician came this morning to finish the wiring. He started two weeks ago, but was leery of mounting an outlet until we had completely assembled the kiln. His leericism* was well founded. In order to maximize the distance between the kiln (which will get mighty hot) and our combustible porch walls (protected by a free-standing non-combustible cement-board heat shield built by the aforementioned talented engineer), we ended up positioning the kiln too far from the wall for the cable to reach an outlet there. So as of this morning, the kiln plugs into the porch floor.

This weekend we'll assemble the vent system, and then it's just a matter of finding 16-19 hours when I can be constantly present for the initial test firing. For that, I will be vigilantly armed with my spiffy new infrared thermometer (a gift from my beloved engineer), so I can see how hot (or cool) various parts of the combustible porch get when the kiln is running.

*Not a real word, but it should be.


Nancy Kimberly said...

Sounds like a meal or two will be needed during this maiden firing (don't be firing any maidens now--they all need their jobs!). Oh, and some champagne or something to really do the job right. Are there cermic niceties to be placed inside and heated? And what about additives--minerals, etc. to make beeyootiful colors? Looking forward to seeing what comes out!

prucker said...

The phone number you need to have at hand: 911 (Good luck).

Lisa B. said...

Oooh, shiny!

mom2homer said...

Nancy, the first firing will just be the kiln furniture (stilts and shelves), as the electric elements need to be tempered--but you're welcome to come over and see how the kiln wash turns out! (Kiln wash gets painted onto the shelves to protect them in future firings).

Thanks for the tip, Ossi!

Lisa, yes--but not for long!