Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Perfect time for another barrel firing - Part 2

Part 2 of our barrel firing week-end. All our wood was ready, neatly piled by wood sizes, from kindling to oak. Pots were all wrapped up, some in newspaper, others in aluminum foil. Time to stack the barrels!
Kindling and straw provided our first layer on top of which we proceeded with a layer of pots, followed by more straw and kindling. A little sprinkling of iron oxide, copper carbonate, and salt, then more pots, repeating layers until we reached the top.

Time to load !

Bottom layer

Layered pots

Top layer

A little pow-wow
 A bit of kindling, some lighter fluid, and gentle fanning was all that was required to get the fires started. One of the barrel produced a lot of smoke initially then subsided once the straw was all burned off. We surmised it was still a bit wet from the late rainy weather. We continued feeding the fires for about 2 hours, by adding bigger and bigger wood. Ultimately we used up all our stacks, with medium size oak logs put last for a slow burn. We moved a pyrometer around checking out the temperature at the base of the barrel where holes had been drilled for air supply. Not surprisingly, we noticed big variations while the wood was burning, with embers falling down inconsistently here and there. Readings were between 600 and 1200F ! But that was ok, because the top temperature is reached more evenly when the wood has all turned into hot embers surrounding all the pots. That was when we added sawdust on top to act as a plug, thus creating a reducing atmosphere while the embers are slowing cooling down.
It is fascinating to watch the fire dance on the logs. Once it gets hot enough, some chemicals are starting to melt and burn off, releasing streams of colors, notably various greens and some deep blues. That's when the magic of the firing is starting to weave its spell...    

Starting the fires

So pretty !

No comments:

Post a Comment