Kiln Fun!

Reports from my artist wife indicated an issue with the kiln not heating up – like staying at 1775 degrees F for 3 hours yesterday. Never saw 2,000, much less 2,200.

We partially unloaded the still pretty hot pieces this morning – enough to see all of the elements, then turned up the infinity switches to high and turned off the lights. Only two sets of elements lit up, the bottom two.


So I turned those two off, since they seem to work fine.

Then I fiddled with the next switch up (#4 from the top), twisting the knob back and fourth, with the theory that it is highly unlikely the remaining elements all burned out at the same time, and that it may just be dust and buildup on the switch contacts.

Sure enough, those elements lit up, a good sign, as each element goes for $30.15.

Now to work on the remaining three switches.

Boom! (not literally). Everyone is working, except the elements on switch 2.

I’ll return with some tools and a can of deox-it and clean that switch, and may as well do the others while I’m at it.

My artist wife noted that she is very careful with the switches, and never turns them past high. Indeed all of the recent firings have been bisque or cone 2, so those knobs never saw 5, 6, or high settings. This means the contacts never got cleaned by switch action, and that coupled with the dusty environ left them pretty crunchy.  That’s my theory, anyway. Gotta work those switches.

Funny, it was almost 6 years ago exactly the last time this fella misbehaved.


Old Atlanta

I found this photo in the GSU Library archives. We used to live here, but much later than September 23, 1951 – when this photo was taken.  The building still exists, last I checked.

I don’t remember a whole lot about this place, except it’s where we decided to get married. That makes it pretty significant, though.

It’s also where “Sharla” lived. I don’t think I ever met “Sharla”, but late on Friday/Saturday nights, a very drunk guy would drive up (!), and from the street, would yell “SHARLA!” over and over.

We don’t live far from here now. It’s an easy walk. Funny how far we’ve gone, but have wound up in about the same place ~30 years later.

Why yes, it is the front panel of a Yaesu FT-2400

The memory battery, behind the white circle, was dead. I replaced it, so now the radio can return to the shelf in the bedroom closet for another 25 years.

Problem is, I’m not a Chatty Cathy(TM?) on the radio. I really don’t have much to say. “I’m heading to work now”. “I’m at work now”. “Kind of cloudy”.

I love the technology, but I hate how everything is turn-key now. Just rack up the credit card charges, plug in the matching pieces, and yap away. Being an introvert, the only way I’d babble over the airwaves is if it was on something I cobbled together myself. I’ll even settle for a kit – I’m not that uppity.

I admit, yapping on the FT-2400 would give me a lot of street cred, just by virtue of the age of the thing, but I’m not ready to drill a hole in the roof of Weston (the car) for an ego trip.

Get something new?

I’m really turned off by the proprietary radio schemes out there now. Star-bellied Sneetches and all. Icom camp, or Yaesu? or Kenwood?

Something like 1/2 of the newly licensed radio amateurs never go on the air, according to the ARRL. Small wonder.

Oddly, I keep current on my local club membership. Never been to a meeting. They don’t seem to mind.

So, a 40M radio is in my future. QRP, of course. I mean, I like sailboats and canoes.

I’ve ordered a QRP Labs QCX mono band. It has built-in calibration gizmos, so no scope or other doodads needed – just the usual power supply, antenna, and key, or computer.  Should be here early next year.

So now I have a few months to figure out an antenna and such. Probably stick with JT65, or 9, or whatever.  I’m an introvert, after all.

If I ever do get a new 2M radio, it’ll be something I can use for satellites. A Kenwood 2M/440. – Okay, what’s up with that? Why do we use the wavelength for one band, and the frequency for the next?  Because it’s easier to say than 2M/70CM? or 144/440? Or easier to say, and also a barrier to entry for new people?

Eh, maybe I’ll just stick to the canoe.



Atlanta History Center Folk Festival

Bright and early (8-ish AM) we were unloading our wares at the Atlanta History Center for the 2017 Fall Folk Fest.

24 artists, live music, cooking demonstrations (and samples), and many fascinating people. Being a the History Center, it attracted a lot of history buffs, and being one myself, I had a great time talking to them .

By 4:30 PM we were packing up, pretty tired, but very happy.

Note the Angora goat! They have two.

A lot of people commented on the cotton (it was growing behind our tent), noting it was taller than what they had seen before, and just looked different.  I’ll have to find out about that.

In the main Smith house (vs the kitchen) is a wonderful loom. Woven items from this loom are available in the bookstore at way too cheap prices.


I don’t have an axe to grind

The Small Forest Axe arrived today, sharp as can be.  I got it from Rivendell Bikes, because that’s the kind of bike company they are.

Now I just need a small forest.  Well, we do have a 1/4 acre lot with lots of trees. This will be good for trimming branches from fallen trees, not so good for felling trees.

Peachtree Road Race 2017

Winners for best costumes. Locals to Atlanta know all about the I-85 fire debacle, though not with fond memories, so kudos to Ms. I-85.

Something like a billion people run this race each year, and today was especially hot and humid. Heavy, voluminous costumes were discouraged for security reasons, but most people ditched them for practical reasons.

These people stood out for their energy levels. Some couldn’t be photographed, as they appeared and disappeared in a flash, bouncing down Peachtree as if partially filled with helium, then topped off rocket fuel. Gravity, humidity, hills – those were not of their world.