I recently move back to Frederick after 6 years of both living and making pots in Baltimore. We hope to buy the house and property that we currently rent in the coming months. in the mean time, I have been looking for leads on inexpensive kiln materials in the hopes that I can keep my costs low when I do eventually build a kiln. The search had been slow going over the last year, getting a few things here and there, but back in July I got a call that put me way ahead of the brick scrounging game. I was asleep one morning when I got a call from Bill van Guilder, who knew I was in search of bricks, and who had actually just sold me 36 kiln shelves a few weeks before. He told me that there was a quarry in central Virginia that had gone out of business and were auctioning off their left over equipment. He also said that there were 17 pallets of fire brick on site. Of course that got my attention. I logged onto the live auction site that that Proxybid had set up and tried to find out as much as I could about the condition, size, temperature rating, and shape of the bricks before the auction began. By the time the bidding started, very little was clear and I didn't really know what I was bidding on. Apparently there wasn't any other potters participating in the auction because I was the only bidder! The next two lots were "refractory mortar," which I felt if I got them for cheap they might worth having too. Again, I was the only bidder and won what turned out to be two pallets (4800 lbs) of extremely high temp castible, which is essentially fire proof concert, a great (very expensive) kiln building material for $10... The other auction participants were fighting over enormous dump trucks and conveyer belt systems, and I was lucky enough to slip in under the radar. The bricks turned out to be 9"x6"x4"x3" superduty #2 arch bricks. When put thick side to thick side they make a barrel arch 5'6" in diameter, which is very close to the size and shape of kiln that I would have built anyway! I have already picked up half of the bricks and have them stacked behind what will eventually become my studio and gallery building. With just the bricks I have already trucked home, there is enough to build a arch 22' long and 5'6" wide. Needless to say I will be making some very big pots in the future. I will use the others I have (still in VA) to build the floors and stack. Thanks to Bill for keeping me in mind, and I encourage anyone out there that wants to build a kiln to keep their ears and eyes open, and leave your phone on!
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