With my kiln being fairly new, I've been changing a little something each firing to try to find a firing process and schedule that works the best for me and my work. The first firing was... well, it was the first firing. So kinda set the baseline. The second firing we did a stronger reduction around 1350* and then again when we bricked up. That firing had a great deal more reduction color changes in the glazes (not necessarily in a positive way) and more ash than the first firing.
So now in firing #3, we did a little less reduction than firing #2 and fired for an additional couple hours. The pieces didn't have as much ash on them as the previous two firings, but also didn't have the same unwanted reduction effects.
Here are a few things I learned from this firing:
- Sawdust has the amazing ability to get in all kinds of places it doesn't belong. When you first realize sawdust has gotten into one of those places, stop everything and remove it. The fight to get the 50 degrees back the kiln dropped while you're cleaning out your sports bra is well worth it compared to the irritation the "girls" experience if you leave the sawdust. (I know, too much info!)
- It doesn't matter if the weather is great (July firing had 100+ degree heat index when we were reaching top temp) - the last few hours are still tiring.
- I'm still not really getting the result I'd hoped for from the Laura's Turquoise glaze so I think that will be abandon for future firings. Always need to re-evaluate glaze, what works well, what doesn't and what you don't need to deal with anymore.
- Unloading is still like Christmas.
- You can't have enough little kiln fillers like pendants and buttons.
- It's fun having visitors during the firing, but if I actually had a couple beers with them, I'd not be able to stay awake to fire. Tough decision.
The next firing is anticipated to be Thanksgiving weekend and I'm thinking of trying a shorter firing like maybe 18 hours. Start around 6am and close up at 2am the following morning. I can hardly wait!!