Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's Christmas tomorrow

Finally got around to firing my finished copper pieces. I only had three of them done but decided that I might as well get them fired. If I waited until they were all done it could be next year.

Copper clay is fired in coconut charcoal (no, it's not acorn charcoal!) The charcoal has to be fired for three and a half hours before using it. Not sure why, that's just what I was told.

I've heard all different methods of firing the copper clay, but went with the method that Jan Durkin (from my metal clay guild) used. I fired the pieces flat on a shelf for one hour at 500 degrees F. As soon as they were cool enough to handle, I put them in the stainless steel container on top of one inch of the charcoal. All the pieces were laid around the center. Then I poured the rest of the charcoal on top, (used a one pound bag) and ramped the kiln at full speed to 1650 degrees. I fired them for three hours and forty-five minutes. (The directions were for one hour and thirty minutes but I just thought I'd be different.)

I did learn that my kiln won't get to 500 degrees and hold for one hour if I use full speed. I had to use speed number two (500 degrees per hour) for it to work. Using full speed kept shutting my kiln off as soon as it reached temp. (Hopefully this isn't an omen of more problems with my controller. The book never has my problem listed.)

Now begins the wait. The kiln is supposed to cool down on its own, so I just left the studio without peeking. Hopefully all works out well. We'll see tomorrow. The anticipation is just like Christmas. I'll share (hopefully good news) tomorrow night.

No comments: