On Friday after finishing some orders, John and Jannine helped me drag glass from the pots in the furnace. The glass that we dump from the pots goes into a bucket to be reused when the furnace gets hot again.
Patrick came in later to help tip the big crucible. This pot is 24 inches in diameter, 15 inches high, and about 200 pounds. From normal overflow and spillage of hot glass, the crucible becomes fused to the pedestal that keeps it off the floor of the furnace. We use a 2 inch pipe that’s about 7 feet long to pry it up, giving us good leverage and distance from the heat. At the same time, I slip a long piece of metal through the drain door in front of the furnace and position it under the pot. That way, when we release the pry bar, it rests on the metal, preventing the crucible from fusing to the pedestal again (allowing us to rearrange the pots when the furnace is cool enough on Monday).
Then the part that I hate doing- I shut off the power to the furnace. It is always a little unnerving to me because the furnace is like the heartbeat of the studio. It stays on 24/7, and now it is quiet. Sigh. The good news is that we should only have minor repairs to do before relighting. Our goal is to repair on Monday, let it dry overnight, then relight on Tuesday. It will take 3 days to get hot enough to charge the furnace with glass again. We should be blowing again by Friday or Saturday.