31 July 2022
The big job that remained was to install the steel cage around the kiln to support the arches. The local engineer was engaged to supply both the steel and the skills in welding it together. Some of the steel was reused, but the crucial skew support beams were new.
Once the steel was in place I attached the chains and turnbuckles – my preferred way of linking the sides together as I can adjust the skew support steel with millimetre accuracy and continue adjusting during firings if necessary. You can also get a feel for the tension on the chains as the heat expands the bricks and the force of the arch starts to push against the steel frame.
The packing brick work was then laid to ensure the skew bricks were fully supported by the steel. Then the arch former was finally dropped and the arch was sprung – always a glorious moment (unless you got it wrong and it falls down).
Now for the final push and the many small jobs to finish. First up was to cut and dry lay the bagwall – which will be removed, kiln washed and wadded back in place once the kiln is clean. Then the wicket was built and all the bricks cut as necessary, this will make the job of wicketing up after the first load that much quicker.