THE PYROMETER

October 20, 2017

THE PYROMETER

"But now, O Lord, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand." - Isaiah 645:8 

Over the last thirty-some years I have learned a lot about pottery processes. For me, it is important to share this knowledge with the next generation of young potters. My hope is that the potter might glean something useful for their practice and the general public might receive a little insight to the challenges of crafting handmade stoneware pottery.

The pyrometer is a device used to measure very high temperatures in furnaces or kilns. It uses a thermocouple connected to wires going to the temperature gauge and it provides a fairly accurate reading as the kiln comes up to temperature. In this way, we can monitor the speed at which the kiln comes up to temperature. If heated too slowly then the kiln stalls; too quickly and we put undue stress on the pots as it is fired. 

The challenge with the pyrometer is age old; anything that is bolted together and exposed to extreme heating and cooling eventually loosens up, resulting in an inaccurate reading. 

For +25 years I struggled with this challenge of not really knowing if the gauge is accurate. One morning at about 2:30 a.m. the Lord wanted to have a conversation. It was as if He said, "About the pyrometers..." I took off explaining to Him, as if He didn't know, all about the difficulties of the pyrometers. He listened patiently to my litany, and when I finally finished He said "Why don't you weld them?" 

Now, I have welded many things together over the years, but I had never thought of that. The next morning when I went to the studio, I braised the wires from the thermocouple to the wires going to the gauge and it worked! 

So many solutions in the past thirty years have just 'come to me' in this way. When I try them, they work! I have to give credit where credit is due; as I am the student and we all know who is the Master Potter.

Many Blessings, 
Dave Lockie



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