Sunday, September 10, 2006

Kiln Conversion

We got up early this morning, at least for a Sunday. I spent about twenty minutes loading assorted tools into my toolbox, and the stray oversized ones into a corregated box. The last thing that I tossed in was my glaze recipe notebook.

We went over to Ronnie's studio, to convert an old Sno Industries electric kiln to raku. It was an easy conversion, taking about an hour to pull off the kiln sitter and heating elements, cut the burner vent into the side of a kiln section (without taking the steel off of the kiln brick, tin snips for the metal, and using a hacksaw blade to cut through the kiln brick) and cutting vent holes into the top and bottom of the kiln. Ronnie's husband, Tom, was there to see how it was done, and to help out with the lifting and anywhere else he could.

Having another set of hands and another brain to throw at the process really speeded things up. About half way through, Tom and I started to talk about doing raku kiln conversion as a side business, since it was going so quickly. We decided that we needed a three and a half inch diameter cylindrical saw attachment to a drill, for the vent holes, that would be tall enough to allow us to cut through the side of the kiln in one pass, rather than fiddling with the tin snips and hacksaw.

We also placed the cinderblock pad, on top of the concrete slabs that Ronnie and Tom poured behind her studio. The kiln is inplace, with all of the pieces correctly stacked. The only thing left to do is to add swag chains to the lid, and to get their propane tank installed and plumbed.

Their kiln is not as deep as ours, but it is wider, so pieces that are of a larger diameter can be done.


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