When I built the kiln last year I said, "my goal is to not fire this thing in July or August." The first firing last year was in August and we just did a firing in July. So much for that hope!
I loaded the kiln a little differently this time, which ultimately bit me in the butt, however, it was worth a try I suppose.
Rather than putting the shorter shelf in the front of the kiln, parallel to the front firebox opening, I placed it there on the left, and then lined up the 12x24 shelf in front of it.
What I realize in hindsight is that this essentially created the same atmosphere I struggled with for the first several firings, having the large shelf up front, creating a cooler space in the front corner.
See how the pots in the front left are dry? That's the cool corner. We also struggled a lot with this firing. Up until this week we've had fairly constant rain for almost three months, which has brought us high humidity levels, given me damp bricks, damp shelves, and never drying pots. It didn't matter where I put them, or kept them out of the elements, everything got damp. Including some of the wood. We fought and fought with that kiln at the end and gave up (or gave out really) before I would have normally called it good.
I was pleasantly surprised by the results. For the most part, everything reached temperature, and I only had a few issues with dry ash or really dry pots.
Nose dive mug
Only one piece made a sacrificial nose dive during the firing.