2 July 2022

Lots of levels

The walls shoot up quickly during this phase of the kiln build as it’s pretty straight laying and each course is checked for level, square and vertical. Lots of levels helps as each course starts laying bricks from the highest point and works to the lowest point.

Walls getting taller
Header course

Another header course and the second round of soda pots and spies are included. It doesn’t take long to finish off the walls and start work on the arch. First the arch former is made, based on tracing out the curve of the arch on a flat wooden board. This template is used to create the D shaped formers and then the slats are nailed on, a note is also made of the skew angle

Walls finished

Once the former is made I like to check it with a dry lay of the bricks and a wooden block skewback to check that the span, rise and skew angle all produce a tight arch with no gaps between the bricks.

Arch former preparation

I’m also prepping the steel work, getting the lengths and placements all worked out. The skewbacks are cut and mortared into place with a fireclay/sand mix, any bumps are levelled on the angled face. The arch former is resting on brick pillars, which will end up as the wicket. It pays to be accurate in placing the arch former, any error here can make fitting the arch tricky, the last brick should need a gentle tap to get it into place

Steel placement
Skewbacks laid
Arch being laid

Now the chamber is ready for the steel cage to be welded up before the arch former can be dropped the spring the arch (and celebrate). In the meantime work progress on the chimney adobe layers – 4 so far, each a different formulation

Chimney ready for final adobe coat

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