Preparation for Loading

The day before loading the kiln, I clean up around the kiln shed and scrape all the shelves. There is usually a build up of salt on the shelves from the previous firing as well as some bits of wadding. All this gets scraped off and then I blast each shelf with the air hose to get all the dust off. Wadding is made from alumnia hydrate and kaolin, a 50/50 mix. I make up about 10 lbs of this at a time and that lasts me a while. All the pots in the kiln have to sit on little balls of wadding, if they did not the salt glaze may stick the pots to the shelves. It also allows the pots to get some sodium vapour underneath the pots and glaze the bottoms somewhat. I make wads by rolling out a coil of wadding mixture and cutting it into pea sized pieces with my fettling knife. I'll make up 2 batts worth of wadding and that usually is enough to wad all the ware.
If time permits, I'll pre-wad most of the smaller pots before loading. The alternative is to wad as I load the kiln. Here I have applied a little white glue dot where I want the wads and then applied the wadding. If I don't use the glue the wadding will fall off when it dries. Pre-wadding makes loading go a bit faster.