After a day of torrential rain and the gales blowing today there was a (fortuitous rather than anticipated) window of rather gentle dry and often sunny weather, where the beginnings of Spring can be felt pushing through the hard shell of winter. What a great time to fire the kiln!
On the whole it was a pretty cruisy first day - lit at 7am, red heat starting at the front at noon and kicking into reduction at 3pm. Once reduction is settled I aim for a good steady rise in temperature till cone 8's start going down throughout the kiln.
It is soaked overnight at this temperature, and typically cone 9's and cone 10's slowly tip during these shifts. The firebox area is not that big and, when the fire and embers are up close to the stack, the front tends to be a little cooler than the rear chamber. That was certainly the case this time, with cone 8 still not quite over at the front by 8am. Sidestoking is only to build up an ember bed mid-kiln and care must be taken not to heat up the back chamber too much.
The next morning it's still red hot inside the kiln + with aching muscles I braced the rising wind to walk the local fens. The long wait has started.