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Stone Spiral

Raku Questions

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I am doing my first raku fire this Saturday and am feeling well prepared. I'm so excited!

I don't have a pyrometer.. . Do I just watch the pots (with protective eyewear) til glowing orange? How can I tell when they're ready for the reduction chamber?

Also, any suggestions for firing tiny finicky pieces? I realized after I made them that it won't be easy to grab them with tongs and move them over. I thought maybe just smoke fire them in a bowl but that means no glaze. If I use glaze without silica will they stick together if touching?

Any tips, tricks or advice is welcome!

Edited by Stone Spiral
Grammar Police

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Watch the pots. The glaze will bubble up and then flux smooth and shiny. I call the bubble up part, the pancake  batter stage... just when you should flip a pancake. Try putting the tiny pieces on a shallow bowl and pick them up in one shot. You don’t want the kiln open cooling for a long time. Glaze will be marred if it touches anything while fluxed. Avoid that. You could set the bowl with small pieces on a brick. Cover with newspaper and cover that with an inverted can. Use sand around the base to nestle it into a sealed position.

i use a pyrometers because I use Matt raku glazes. Know which glaze is a crackle white or a luster so you can watch that one specifically. 

I have been firing raku since 1968..almost 50 years. Still a great passion.

Marcia

 

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I really only use my pyrometer for the initial stages.  I do a small preheat, especially if it is cold outside, and then really crank up the heat.  You'll know you if you are increasing the fuel too quickly, if you get a lot of flames, shooting out of the exhaust.

Like Marcia said, watch for the bubbling, then shortly after, it will smooth out, and have a sheen.  Then, they are ready to go.

In regards to tiny things, I've picked up a piece, the size of a pea before, with the tongs.   Not something I want to do constantly, but it is possible...

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Find yourself a good color/temperature chart that shows the temps in comparison to the color of the color of the kiln heat. This will help a lot in understanding your temperatures.

 

 

best,

Pres

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