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Kiln Building

Building and firing kilns

There are several good books on the subject of building


kilns. Fred Olson, Michael Cardew, Paul Soldner and Bernard
Leach all have much to say about building and firing kilns.
The kiln and its operation give the pottery life. The trial by
fire completes the work. Here are some pictures of my kiln.
The flue to down draft kiln should be at least as large as all
the combined size of the burner ports. The stack should be at
least twice the height of the kiln and twice the size of the exit
Index of all Pages flue. This will ensure that your kiln has adquit draft to the
bottom of the kiln. The bagwall should be at least 1/3 the size
<- Go to Back to Index of the kiln's interior height.
Page -> I like to fire a schedual like this: I start the kiln about
Index of all Pages 10pm( after loading all day) I set my burners just high enough
<- Go to Directory of to not go out. My kiln is in a tin shed and does not get wind on
Categories Page -> it. There is no danger of this kilns' burners going out or the
: Directory of pilot lights going off.
Categories Page At about 3am, I turn my burners up to 10 cubic feet of gas
Go to the Ceramics per minute. The primary air is turned all the way out. At about
Directory -> 7am, I turn the gas up to 20 cf/m. I turn the primary air on
The index of each burner to 8 turns open.
Ceramic Pages When cone 08 has gone down, I reduce the kiln for 45
Go to Production minutes by pushing in the dampers in the stack and causing
Methods -> My techniques the unburned gases to recirculate in the kiln and seek oxygen
for making pottery from the ware. After 45minutes of this reduction bath, I pull
Go to Pictures of the dampers back out and fire the kiln in oxidation. The kiln
Production methods #1-> now has a neutral draft to it. That is, there is no flame
Pictures of comming out of the door peeps. There may even be a positive
production #1: draft to the kiln: Air is being sucked in. I leave the kiln in this
Mixing condition until the kiln reaches cone 9 in the middle of the
clay,Wedging, kiln. When cone 9 is down in the middle, I again push the
Throwing clay dampers in to reduce glazes in for 2 hours with back pressure
Go to Pictures of of the unburned gases.
Production methods # 2 -> After 2 hours, I pull the dampers out and give the kiln
Pictures of Production #2 more gas and turn the primary air cocks out to nine turns open.
Trimming pots, Making I leave the kiln in this condition until cone 11 has gone down
handles, Sieving glazes in the middle of the kiln. If cone 9 has not gone down on the
Go to Pictures of bottom shelf in the front of the kiln, I open the air ports further
Production methods #3 -> and push in the damper slightly and turn the gas up a little
Pictures of Production #3 more. When cone 12 is flat anywhere in the kiln or cone 9 has
Siphoning glazes, Making gone down, I turn the gas all the way down to just barely on
Cone Packs, Glazing
Go to Pictures of and open the airports all the way up. I leave the kiln in this
Production methods #4 -> condition for 45 minutes to clean out the kiln and help heal
Pictures of Production #4: pinholing.
Bricking Door, Firing Kiln, I turn off the kiln and then I seal up the burner ports and
Unloading Kiln the peepholes of the kiln. I cool the kiln for and two days. I
cant see working for weeks and weeks to make a kiln load of
pots and then running shelves and ware by unloading too
soon. It is very hard on the ware to cool the first time. So I am
patient and wait.

Russell Andavall

You are the th apprentice to travel this path and seek


knowledge..