Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ready, Aim ... Splice!?!

Do what, now?

In the continuing saga of "Will I ever get to fire some Picasso glass?", the kiln expert called me yesterday afternoon, and told me "all" I needed to do was cut the thermocouple off my old pyrometer, remove the new pyrometer from its ceramic base, and then splice my old pyrometer onto that ceramic base.

Come again? What is this splice you speak of?

So he walked me through it over the phone, and it really wasn't horrible, and I did it correctly the first time (there was a 50-50 chance I would connect the wires backward, since they weren't labeled;  if connected backwards, the temperatures would run backward. Hmmm. You learn something new everyday!)

I guess you learn more than one new thing some days, because now I know how to splice thermocouples. But the kiln rep was quick to point out that I'm not ready for my electrician's license yet. At some point during the phone call, he commented "I don't know what to think about you .... you ain't right." This after listening to me talk to myself while splicing. See? Even over the phone, people pick up on my subtle quirks.

It was too late to run the kiln, but I decided to go ahead and load it, so no time would be wasted this morning.

And, par for the course, I ran into another roadblock.

When I was lowering the kiln shelf into the kiln, I noticed a little bit of whitish debris in the bottom of the kiln.No big deal - I picked it up, and it crumbled, and my arm touched the wall of the kiln, and more debris crumbled to the bottom of the kiln.


I inspected, and touched the wall again, and a huge hunk of the firebrick fell off in my hand, leaving this:

front wall of kiln, with missing firebrick, exposed coil

chunk of firebrick

Now I'm panicking a little, because I truly cannot afford a new kiln. And I just bought this expensive controller - and for what!?! My mind went from 2000 to 0 in a nanosecond.Nobody does pessimism like I do!

By now, the kiln place was closed for the day, for which I'm sure the nice kiln expert was very grateful, because I would have been calling, in full panic mode.

I took the pics, e-mailed him, and set about to fill some time.

I stacked one more piece of glass, using the dichroic I etched earlier this week - remember the loopy piece I made?
gold dichroic loops

I cut a strip of this, and made this stack:

Later yesterday evening, I heard back from the kiln knight (I have now elevated him to now Knight in Shining Armor). After several e-mail back and forths, he said I could go ahead and fire, and that he would send me some kiln-safe cement with which I could replace the chunk of firebrick. But most importantly: I can go ahead and fire!

Upon arriving at the shop this morning, I loaded the kiln with the sacrificial stack I made from non-dichroic glass - if it fails, I'm not out huge $$, like with dichroic.
non-dichroic stack

I almost loaded it in face up - it seems really weird to put it on the shelf face down.

glass stack, face down in kiln

I turned everything on, checked the program specs for the 50th time, and hit "start" at 10:03AM.

Here's my kiln, with the controller off to the right.

I'll be anxiously waiting out this run - the firing will take 8 - 9 hours, and then the piece will need to anneal for hours, so I won't get to see my results until tomorrow. If everything goes well, I'll have a piece to practice engraving on by this time tomorrow!

To fill the time today, I've reversed my earlier decision, and decided to make some more stacks of glass - might as well fill the kiln next time. After all, I have all that glass, and the tools, piled on my workbench anyway!

1 comment: said...

dont worry about pieces falling off - I've got a chunk out of one of my kilns where the wire sort of hangs an one that I took a chunk out of when I over fired and glass stuck

glass is looking good - its hard to tell what it will look like till its fired and cant wait to see your first piece