BARBARA’S BLOG: BRUNO’S FIRST CLEAN UP

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Saturday, August 27, a group of us got together at NEC/MCW to clean-up after our first Bruno firing.  Firing Bruno has four steps ~ Preparation, Firing, Unloading and Clean-Up.

Thank you Barbara Costanzo, Don Orr, Rachel Garrison, Connie LaPorta, Harriet Hauser, Theresa Zubretzy and Susan Nowogrodzki.

Everyone arrived early and got right to work.  With brushes, chisels, scrapers and buckets of kiln wash everyone began scraping, brushing clean and kiln washing shelves and posts.

We were struck by how clean Bruno was after our first firing.  There were only three firebrick and one shelf that needed grinding!

Don and Theresa began taking down the bagwall and then they scraped and kiln washed every brick.  The heat of the day plus the weight of sixty-plus firebrick resulted in the picnic table buckling.  The wood picnic table has plastic legs and so with the sun beating down on the table and the weight of the firebrick Don and Theresa said there was a groaning noise and then the table lowered several inches! It was surprising and funny all at once.

After kiln washing all the bagwall firebrick ,we stacked them on the chamber ware cart and in the firebox to dry.  Taking down, cleaning and kiln washing the bagwall turned out to be 50% of the clean-up work.

72bruno clean up barbara c, rachel, connie and harriet_

Connie, Rachel, Barbara and Harriet cleaned all the kiln shelves and posts.  After scraping and brushing clean every surface needing kiln wash was they brushed kiln wash on the shelves and posts.  Barbara used a paint roller to coat the kiln shelves which resulted in a very smooth and even application.  The shelves and posts look new again!

72bruno clean up susan kiln washing chamber

Susan got the task of brushing out all leftover ash from the bagwall and chamber fireboxes.  After cleaning these spaces Susan then brushed on a coat of kiln wash on these areas plus several layers of brick on the main arch that we hadn’t previously kiln washed.

72bruno clean up connie making cone packs

As Connie finished cleaning posts she asked if there were any other clean-up tasks.  I thought about the few jobs needed and asked if I could teach her how to make cone packs.  Connie is a natural at making cone packs and had a dozen made in 30 minutes.

Barbara finished kiln washing shelves and asked if there was another job she could help with to get Bruno ready for the second firing.  I quickly got some cone 10 clay and we sat side by side pinching drawbaskets.  It was fun working together and our conversation kept us laughing.

In two hours time we had finished “Clean-Up”.  It is amazing how cheerfully everyone worked.  Thank you all so much for your time, labor and friendship.