[Clayart] mel's book, kilns/story

Fredrick Paget fredrick at well.com
Wed Oct 5 15:22:41 EDT 2016


One thing that always bugs me about Nils kiln is the name “Flat Top”. It is not really flat! It is a shallow dome and as such is structurely sound if it is clamped at the edges by Nils design of the corner metal clamps and the torqued up metal rods that provide a counter force to the edges of the dome to take the resolved forces  of the incomplete shallow dome. A complete dome is a half of a sphere and the resolved force of all its weight go straight down to the support wall. In arches you have the same resolution of force but it is one dimentonal  and a dome is three dimensional. OK what is resolution of forces? It is covered in the division of physics called Mechanics.
 In Physics for Technical Students (a tough mathematical, 2 year course) required of all engineers in my day the first of physics courses we took we learned the several divisions of classical physics. That course explains how the world works - Mechanics, Optics, Electro magnetics, Sound, and so on. Later  courses covered so called modern physics which covers particle physics, etc.

Any way arches if not complete 180 degree, have to be braced by an immovable object on each side or a clamp system that is taking the sidewise force. Same on a shallow dome. Nils put flat bricks on each side between the rods and the dome in a few places . Those rods have to be torqued up to a set stretch too after the braced plywood under the roof is jacked up 2 inches in the center making a shallow dome. Then slip is poured on top of the roof to fill the cracks and make the dome solid.
 
When I built my “flat top” I was fresh from a 3 day workshop with Nills where we built his standard “flat top’ in three days up in the California foothills of the Sierra Mountains near Fresno. I made a slight modification in the torque rods - I put stacks of Belleville washers under the nuts that tightend the roda which act as strong springs and keep the torque constant even if temperature expansionstretches the rods.
 
Fred Paget

> On Oct 5, 2016, at 8:48 AM, mel jacobson <melpots2 at visi.com> wrote:
> 
> sumi gave me a great review on `our` book.  thank you.
> 
> a bit of history is in order about the kiln book. it is a 100 percent clayart project. nils was the instigator, and i finished the project.
> 
> we both had a very clear vision as to a small backyard kiln that was easy to build, was not very expensive and it gave the opportunity to both women and men to have their own gas kiln.
> 
> the mini minnesota flat top kiln was the answer. it can be made any size you wish.  it is made of standard bricks and almost no metal work, or complex welding. that was the birth of the flat top, and the reason nils and mel and kurt refined the size and shape. it was SIMPLE AND EASY AND INEXPENSIVE. that was our motivation.  and, to be non politically correct...i wanted women, without building experience to have equal rights.  and if any objects to that...well, go to hell.
> 
> i had available to me a vast army of well informed potters and clay artists. and, people trusted me to do the right thing...so, i decided to write a book, with the help of clayart friends, a book that represented the modern 21st century kiln.  all the facts.  (bill schran named the book)
> 
> we had about 40 fine experts stepping forward and wanted to help.  and, like very few books in history, the helpers got a by line.  we gave credit to the many authors. i was the assembler,  with the theories of mel, nils and kurt as the basis for the book.
> 
> of course donovan palmquist did the chapter on arches...of course. vince wrote a chapter on his kilns, david hendley wrote an amazing chapter on his wood fired kiln, included was a 45 minute video. amazing stuff. arnold howard did the last 30 pages on electric kiln firing and maintenance. who else should do it.????? 15 others chronicled the building of their own kilns.  at home, by themselves.
> they got bi lines too.
> 
> we made over two hours of videos of the kilns included. as often can happen, potters tend to be visual learners, so we gave them visuals.  that cd is really good. real people, showing real kilns that work. vital to the integrity of the book.
> 
> so, it is never my book, it is a `OUR` BOOK. CLAYART INSPIRED`. of course ron and john encouraged me and helded me.  as should be the case.  quality people with the world of clay folks as the experts.
> 
> so, we are very proud of the book.  we have sold a lot of them. and not one complaint.  (we had one, but it turned out to be `pilot error`...oppps.)
> 
> i have done other small books as free pdf's. and of course my original book `potter, a life a lifetime` by me is always available on amazon.
> 
> i try not be pimp my books etc.  they seem to find homes without that...but, a bit of history was important...and i love thanking those that made it possible. dedicated folks who want the teaching of clay and firing to be real and current.
> thank you all.
> mel
> 




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