Dear Father Dick,
The plastic company delivered 500 plastic water receptacles yesterday. We will begin printing instruction labels for them very soon.
Much appreciation for all your efforts on the water filter project. Atamora will host eighty students from The University of Ibadan from Friday to Sunday. These are students from the sociology department. Their mission is to understudy the water filter project from production to distribution to help the way of life of rural dwellers and help them adapt to modern solutions and technologies. Atamora is now the ceramic resource center for the southwest of Nigeria, the Craft Potters Association of Nigeria (CPAN) and now the water filter factory. Apart from periodic workshops students come from all over the country to visit the factory at Atamora. These eighty students will be camping here in Atamora for three days.
We, in Nigeria, urgently need to develop our own glaze technology. Michael Cardew did a good research in Nigeria. Some of his efforts are documented in his book Pioneer Potter. His triaxial glaze system is very helpful for jungle potters like us.
The water filters naturally brought back our water pot business. Unglazed water pots becomes white and difficult to wash. We need a simple base glaze in the range of 1080 to 1100 centigrade. Things in Nigeria have gone backwards since the time of Cardew’s work, but we need to fast-forward things now. We need all the help we can get. Ceramic teachers in Nigeria buy imported glazes without adequate knowledge of character and purpose. We have feldspar, kaolin, ball clay, fine granite dust because of the quarry nearby. Borax is used for many purposes other than ceramics. All of that will change if we have the right technology to develop our own glaze. Unfortunately for us, we do not have the luxury of time.
Thanks for the blog on the project a lot more people now visit Atamora because of the information online!
Dear Fr Dick
We loaded The big kiln yesterday with 250 filters and a few pots. By my estimate, the kiln will contain 300 filters if well arranged. We have to redesign our props to be a little wider and thicker to bear the weight of 11 filters on a stalk. Humidity is relatively high but we manage to find a way forward with wet sawdust and slows drying filters.
The big kiln firing was successful with 250 filters and a few pots in a single firing. Too much moisture in the air made the kiln steam like a steam locomotive even at 600 degrees centigrade. We pushed to 820 degrees centigrade. 220 filters came out clean. We had 30 casualties due to damp. So far today, the tested ones for flow rate gave between 1.5 to 2 liters of water per hour.
Thank you for your advice and most especially your magical equation because I can calculate the amount of sawdust needed for any size of clay now.
From the last flow rate test yesterday – we repeated test for the third time to be sure.
12% sawdust gave less than a liter of water. 14% sawdust gave 1.3 liters 16% sawdust gave 2.5 liters of water. we did not try 18% sawdust.
We began firing three filters at a time in the barrel kiln to avoid waste similar to the first attempt where 60 filters did not pass the flow rate test. We do not have firing problem because apart from my experience firing pottery, Fr Dick Wukich gave me the best thermometer in the world to make sure. We have since commenced production and ‘am happy to tell you that the morale of my team is high now. It was depressing enough for 60 fired filters to fail the test.Your equation and the use of the barrel kiln will guide us with minimal wastage. at the moment we are working with 15% and 16% sawdust. we are producing 100 filters a week .
I will update you on progress. Thanks.
Plans are shaping up for the water filter receptacle event on April 17 and 18th at the SRU POT SHOP. We make water filters on Friday and a hands on event for Saturday. The Potters Guild is all in to help raise money and awareness for IBK and the Nigerian Water filter factory. We are POTTERS AT WAR AGAINST WATER BORNE DISEASE!!!
I am happy to inform you of my progress in the last few days. We had to reduce the hammer mill screen again. It is very true that very dry sawdust will mill better. Sawdust from hard woods are finer from the sawmill, dry quickly and mill better. Sawdust mill slowly compared to clay though I believe we need to change the design of the milling hammers just as professor Manny said.
We are good to go now. CPAN members started arriving today. We begin sawdust processing tomorrow.
I will post pictures of members in action as the official flag off ceremony of ceramic water filter production is on Saturday. I am very confident that we will get “there” quickly with the calibre of support I have from you all.
Did you hear Fr Dick say Amen?!! Thank you for your support sir.
Work is progressing. Although not as fast as we wanted
because of financial constraint. We have finished the twelve bags of cement I bought last week. The initial twenty bags I budgeted will not do.
The work load was tiring us down and just at the time I was going to stop to take a few days rest, potters from Ogun state arrived on Saturday to help boost the man power for a week. See group photo by the two jeeps. You can see me smiling. The hand of God brought potters to help.
We are making progress now. The Hammer mill will commence work on Friday. We will begin milling
five tons of clay and sawdust to the right grain size. The Hammer mill is not bolted down like the mixers but mounted on a frame with the drive.
we conclude the low walls tomorrow and cast the top for strength and sitting.
Dear Father Dick,
The casting of the concrete base for the machines began today as scheduled. We had to make wooden boxes for the mixers because they are the heavy ones. The machine bases had to be deeper and stronger than the rest of the floor. We hope to finish the low walls and the floor in the coming week. I shall keep you posted. Please be patent.