|Loading happened the day before|
Running on about four hours of sleep and shivering like a, well I don't know - something that shivers... it was very cold, I was instructed to go inside and stay warm while the kiln was heating up. Inside, the radiator offered no comfort to me, so I settled for the cushioned bench beside the soda machines. I fell into a state of of half-sleep and rested until the kiln was ready to be stoked.
Stoking the kiln requires a large, poking metal rod that rakes the bed of coal - it also requires, you know. Wood. We had some skinny pieces of wood to toss in the small hole in the side of the kiln, we also had to do some chopping. (Thankfully I was not responsible for swinging the ax.)
We use both softwood and hardwood in the kiln. Softwood is for atmospheric effect. Hardwood burns hotter and raises the temperature more dramatically. Since it's so hot, it also burns down the coal bed. Bonus: burning cedar is an irresistible smell.
|Action shot: my boss spraying soda chemical|