Friday, August 18, 2006

Day 7 + 8. Objective: Levels 3 and 4 of the wall.

Yesterday's task was to create the third level of the wall, starting the inwards contour of the pot.

Suprisingly, this all seemed fairly easy - particularly because my wife provided a very able pair of hands holding the clay slabs in place as I worked my way round.

I used the handle of the knife as a measuring stick to ensure I was getting a consistent distance from the edge of the oil drum to the clay. I then cut each piece to fit as each slab needed to be wider at the bottom than at the top. I needed help to hold the pieces in place as I trimmed them, but once each slab had another piece of clay on each side they all seemed pretty stable.

After drying the third level overnight, the fourth level also went in without too many troubles using the same approach (and helpful wifely assistance).

Cutting each piece to shape seems to provide a lot of strength to the pot. It feels quite stable and strong.

After the photos I worked my way round again to fill the gaps and make the clay nice and smooth between each slab. I need to decide how much more time to spend smoothing off the clay before we start firing.

To help get the angles right, my wife suggested we create a template with a cutout the same as we want the inner diameter of the top of the pot. The template also helps make sure the pot is being built up dead centre in the oil drum.

So I'm really happy. Not far to go - we are about 5-7cm from where the top needs to be and the pot feels relatively strong and sound, and is looking like the right shape! The bottom layers are feeling quite dry now. I think it will take 2-3 days to fully dry out, depending on the weather.

We have been looking at suppliers of wood or charcoal as it is going to take quite a bit to fire the pot. Some of the local supermarket supplies of charcoal have been of low quality - lots of sparks and all the coals burn out very quickly. Our local coal merchants might be able to do charcoal...

We also haven't had much luck with skewers. I might try popping to Southall or Wembley over the next few days.


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