Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Learning My Lesson...

again...the hard way...again. I finished my firing about 1/2 hour ago. Things went well up until the point I got ready to spray in my third round of soda solution. That's when the sprayer clogged. I took the nozzle assemble apart, cleared it and reassembled. It still wouldn't spray. So I tried again and still no luck. Time was moving along and I needed to get some soda in the kiln. So I just decided to forget the soda and put in 4 lbs of salt. And then another 1.5 lbs just for good measure. The draw rings looked good, the pots looked shiny, and I saw build up on the shelves, so I think I did okay and things should be fine.

Okay so I need to back up a little, I said I was going to use the 'chunk' method and only spray a little, mainly for the back of the kiln. Well since I got the new sprayer I thought I'd just spray it all, no chunk, and see how that would go. Now I know the answer. I think the problem was that I had my solution too saturated with material. I used 3.5 lbs of soda ash, 2 lbs of baking soda, and .5 lbs of borax in 2 gallons of water. I heated all this up on my propane burner and it dissolved fine. Little did I know it would start to crystallize once it was in the sprayer. So that was not good.

I started out as a salt glaze potter. That's what I am, that's what I know. I can put salt on a piece of angle iron, dump it in the fire box and it does the rest. No sprayer, no mixing stuff up, no problem. I do like the chunk method of soda introduction (that post is a few weeks back), because I can just dump it in. If it would disperse a little more I'd go with that. Why do I want to use soda anyway? Mainly because it's less damaging to the kiln and I do like the directional quality of it. I'm done with trying to spray it in even though that seems to be the most popular way. I do know some potters who blow it in dry, but that involves an air compressor, etc, etc, ie more stuff to malfunction AND make noise.

Okay so I am through venting. I think (hope) (pray) that this was a good firing regardless of the sprayer dilemma. I'll keep ya posted.