Friday, March 16, 2012

Summer clouds...

Amazing.  Mid March, and we had a high of 80 degrees today here in southwest Missouri!  Not a record, but dang close... it felt like summer.  When I got home from work I put on some shorts and a t-shirt, and officially started my weekend!  We cooked out on our new grill this evening... burgers, brats, chicken and a few steaks, grilled taters and onions (Mmmmmm).  Most of it will go in the freezer for later.  It was a great evening. This beautiful summer cloud formation popped up at around 5:30, out to our east.  I'm almost tempted to get the garden ready (ha).  It's hard to believe that we could still see below freezing temperatures... and snow.  It's not that unusual in March, but I'm hoping that the possibility has just slipped away.  We really haven't had much of a winter here.  That's OK with me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What is that dog barking at now?....

A UPS delivery... that's what!  My new kiln elements and switches arrived this evening from Ohio! So tomorrow after work, I will probably get started with the installation.  From what I've read, I should be able to get the new elements in without much trouble (I hope)... as long as I take my time and pay attention to what I'm doing.  Wiring the switches may be a bit more than I am up for, however.  I'll look it over and see how quickly I get confused (ha).  I may just leave that to the professionals.  We'll see.  Whooohoooo... it's getting closer.  I've got a lot of greenware sitting in the basement, growing more impatient by the day.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Abby Someone

I think that's what I'm going to name this kiln after all the work is done.  Abby Normal.  Young Frankenstein... priceless.   
The process of converting our huge Vulcan 417G kiln over to a 50 amp unit is coming along nicely... albeit slow but sure.  There are times when I can be a fairly impatient guy, but for this, I don't mind slow.  This is all new territory for me.  Last week I called the Vulcan factory and ordered four new 12 amp elements to replace the old ones in the bottom half of the kiln.  In the course of my conversation with Jeff Williams, the president of the company, I expressed my concern that once it has been changed over, with the top half removed, the kiln will only have two manual on/off switches to control the elements.  I felt like that would leave me with far too little control over the temperature and subtle adjustments that can be necessary during the course of the firing process... especially the first few hours when a slow rise in temperature is crucial to avoid thermal shock to the pottery.  I had discussed the potential conversion of the 417G with him on several occasions over the past few months, but I think this was the first time that he had considered that aspect of it, and the fact that it would only have the two simple switches.  He suggested a few options, including replacing the current setup with 3-way switches.  Mr. Williams said he would do a search for the appropriate switches and figure out the wiring for me.  I thought that was very nice of him.
He called yesterday and had good new for me.  He located some used switches at a very reasonable price (the new ones are fairly expensive, apparently) and he is in the process of figuring out the wiring for them, to swap out with the old ones.  So far I've been very impressed with the president of the Vulcan Kiln Company.  The process is moving forward!  Part of me is excited and anxious to get this whole thing going... but the other part is a little freaked, because when I put that first load of pots in the kiln and flip the switch, as far as I'm concerned, there is no turning back.  My fledgling career as a potter (or clay artist) has begun.  And from everything I've seen and read, it's going to bring with it a whole new world of learning and challenges, setbacks, victories and the joy that is found within the creative process... and probably a lot of stuff I don't even see on the radar.  I think I'm ready for that, but there's only one way to find out.