The kiln is pretty much done except for some minor tweaking. Joe finished the firebox on Thanksgiving day, then traveled back to Wisconsin. A few days later, he expressed that he would like to rework the firebox to make it better. The tatami brick did not work out as well as planned. See Joe's post for more details on what did not work.
I was hoping to be completely done by now, but it will not take much to redo the firebox this spring before the first "entire kiln" firing. So this spring, Joe will come back, take off the top of the main firebox and do it again, most likely without any tatami bricks. It is sad that we worked so hard on the brick for them to not work out. Joe felt like they were too tapered. He thought that the ones I made were straighter and if we had more, it could have worked. Too bad I was a slow producer and didn't make as many as Joe and Matt (but I am secretly happy mine were the best). I think the tatami bricks will eventually find a place to work, just maybe not in my kiln.
Steven and I finished coating the first chamber today, much to his dismay. When coating it several weeks ago we ran out of clay and I had to go buy more. I have been trying to finish it for weeks, but needed a night where the temperatures did not dip below 30 at night. Today was the only one in weeks, and there do not seem to be any more coming any time soon. It is unseasonably cold! Steven tried to talk me out of it today, but I was as determined as a two year old that I wanted to do it and do it today, even if it didn't make sense. I know it didn't have to be done until spring but I hated to leave the kiln with a patch of kaowool showing.
Another view after coating the first chamber.
The state of the first chamber for the last 2 weeks. See, it just couldn't sit like this for months. Thanks to Steven for your help today and for the past 2 months!
That reminds me, I need to thank all those that helped throughout this process. Let's see, there is Joe Cole, a huge thank you, thank you, thank you. I could not have done this without your hard work, planning, and patience. You helped me fulfill a life dream, for that I will always be grateful. Thanks to Christy for allowing Joe to come help me for several weeks. Also for your help on your vacation. I am so glad you could visit for a little while! I'd like to thank Matt Hallyburton, Gaines Bailey, Kyle Miller, Wendy Neale and Spence Bardeen, Luke Studer and Elizabeth Hodgson, the Harlans, Bob Feth, Emily Cox, Trish Welsh, Lara O'Keefe, Ana Howard, Darren Sink, Stewart Waller, Gene Christian, Alex and Poli Garcia, Dave and Katherine, Rick Tufts, Andy Miller, Takuro Shibata and Greg Shuck. Thank you all so much!