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Go to Production Methods -> My techniques for making pottery
Go to Pictures of Production methods #1->
Pictures of production #1:
Mixing clay,Wedging, Throwing clay
Go to Pictures of Production methods # 2 -> Pictures of Production #2
Trimming pots, Making handles, Sieving glazes
Go to Pictures of Production methods #3 -> Pictures of Production #3
Siphoning glazes, Making Cone Packs, Glazing
Go to Pictures of Production methods #4 -> Pictures of Production #4:
Bricking Door, Firing Kiln, Unloading Kiln

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 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 of the kiln's interior height.
      I like to fire a schedual like this: I start the kiln about 10pm( after loading all day) I set my burners just high enough to not go out. My kiln is in a tin shed and does not get wind on it. There is no danger of this kilns' burners going out or the pilot lights going off.
      At about 3am, I turn my burners up to 10 cubic feet of gas per minute. The primary air is turned all the way out. At about 7am, I turn the gas up to 20 cf/m. I turn the primary air on each burner to 8 turns open.
      When cone 08 has gone down, I reduce the kiln for 45 minutes by pushing in the dampers in the stack and causing the unburned gases to recirculate in the kiln and seek oxygen from the ware. After 45minutes of this reduction bath, I pull the dampers back out and fire the kiln in oxidation. The kiln now has a neutral draft to it. That is, there is no flame comming out of the door peeps. There may even be a positive draft to the kiln: Air is being sucked in. I leave the kiln in this condition until the kiln reaches cone 9 in the middle of the kiln. When cone 9 is down in the middle, I again push the dampers in to reduce glazes in for 2 hours with back pressure of the unburned gases.
      After 2 hours, I pull the dampers out and give the kiln more gas and turn the primary air cocks out to nine turns open. I leave the kiln in this condition until cone 11 has gone down in the middle of the kiln. If cone 9 has not gone down on the bottom shelf in the front of the kiln, I open the air ports further and push in the damper slightly and turn the gas up a little more. When cone 12 is flat anywhere in the kiln or cone 9 has gone down, I turn the gas all the way down to just barely on and open the airports all the way up. I leave the kiln in this condition for 45 minutes to clean out the kiln and help heal pinholing.
      I turn off the kiln and then I seal up the burner ports and 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..