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Hi, 

There has been various discussions and topics very similar (and probably the same if I keep looking) but I have a problem and hoping you lovelies can solve it (note solve: bot trample on). 

I want to be able to make a mug and bowl that is safe to drink and eat from without a traditional kiln. There, I said it haha! 

My friend and I are on a mission and have these things available to us:

wood- lots of it 

experience making a mini smelting oven 

clay (should we go stoneware or earthenware?!) 

time 

determination 

ability to achieve temperatures of 1200c for 6 hours 

please can someone clever think of how this can be done  outside, in nature without a proper kiln! I can get glazes! 

 

Thank you all in advance

kimmy xx 

 

 

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A kiln is just a fire with a box around it to confine and concentrate the heat.
For a starting point get some background:  I recommend you 
go the Steve Mills website and download his booklet on backyard kilns. 
https://stevemillsmudslinger.weebly.com/   
http://stevemillsmudslinger.weebly.com/uploads/1/8/9/8/18980597/backyard_kilns_steve_mills_(1).pdf
 
I have worked with a "kiln" built from an a piece of 18 inch concrete culvert pipe and some house bricks and mud,    It was  fired to cone 8-9 several times use dead wood from the nearby forest.   Started fire mid-morning done little after dark.   (we were having fun at a summer party and did not focus on managing the kiln.   Really quit for supper.)   Ware space about 30x30x50 cm.  
 
Also had a colleague who built a "kiln" out of clay ;  it held a single cup and was fired with twigs.  Kiln was about the size of a desktop printer.  I think she used cone 10 clay for the kiln, and fired to cone 3.   
 
Watched a video from a Southern Cal student group that made a "kiln" around a pile of pots using wood poles and wet newspapers and mud and propane burners.  
 
The idea is to stack your ware on fire bricks and wadding.  decide where to put your fire pit, Construct a "box" around the ware and fire pit to contain and focus the heat.  provide openings for the combustion gases to leave and openings for air and fuel to get in.  

LT

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Your post has left me feeling a little lighter and thoroughly optimistic!!! I love the idea of the little firing of a single mug. Are you able to gather any more information on this? 

 

Would you be able to tell me more about your firing? It sounds relaxed and fun! I’ve just read that fabulous e-book and at his website- what a great man he was! That’s still bigger and more of a commitment to space/materials than I wanted- hence the request for more information on your effort. We’re the plates glazed or unglazed? Foodsafe? Oh so exciting! I’m trying to scour the web for the twig firing incase there was a video! 

 

Thank you you so much xx 

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Jimmy are you saying you want to fire a few things? Maybe once in a while?

invest in making your own small kiln. There are videos here in some Long ago thread that you can search for. You can alsofind similar videos on YouTube.  

Hmmm 6 hours? Maybe not. I would imagine you want to once fire your ware instead of bisque and then glaze/no glaze fire.  6 hrs after a bisque is doable.  

Also depending on how you like to learn - either just jump in and figure out through failures or do some research.

you can do low woodfire - thus earthen ware.  

 

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8 hours ago, Magnolia Mud Research said:


A kiln is just a fire with a box around it to confine and concentrate the heat.
For a starting point get some background:  I recommend you 
go the Steve Mills website and download his booklet on backyard kilns. 
https://stevemillsmudslinger.weebly.com/   
http://stevemillsmudslinger.weebly.com/uploads/1/8/9/8/18980597/backyard_kilns_steve_mills_(1).pdf
 
I have worked with a "kiln" built from an a piece of 18 inch concrete culvert pipe and some house bricks and mud,    It was  fired to cone 8-9 several times use dead wood from the nearby forest.   Started fire mid-morning done little after dark.   (we were having fun at a summer party and did not focus on managing the kiln.   Really quit for supper.)   Ware space about 30x30x50 cm.  
 
Also had a colleague who built a "kiln" out of clay ;  it held a single cup and was fired with twigs.  Kiln was about the size of a desktop printer.  I think she used cone 10 clay for the kiln, and fired to cone 3.   
 
Watched a video from a Southern Cal student group that made a "kiln" around a pile of pots using wood poles and wet newspapers and mud and propane burners.  
 
The idea is to stack your ware on fire bricks and wadding.  decide where to put your fire pit, Construct a "box" around the ware and fire pit to contain and focus the heat.  provide openings for the combustion gases to leave and openings for air and fuel to get in.  

LT

LT do you have any pictures of this concrete culvert “kiln”?  I am assuming the firebricks were on the inside?  How did the concrete (with reinforcing or without?) hold up after a number of firings?    I have a few big culverts (42.5” interior diameter, 25” tall) sitting around which may have found a new purpose...

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Nope no photos.   the bricks were house bricks. 
   
about 10+ years ago my son had been burning tree limbs at his house.   The culvert pipe was a leftover from some driveway work and he was using it as part of his fire pit.  We decided to fire some pieces I or his wife had made, just to see if we could do it.  the culvert was laid horizontal and we made a sort of train kiln using house bricks and mud to contain the fire.   The "lid" bricks and mud.  pots were unglazed.   The culvert and the bricks survived the first firing and a second one the following weekend.  After that the bricks and culvert were rearranged for general garden burning.  The culvert lasted a long time.   
  
We were flying blind, no cones,  a jerry-riged thermocouple from 20 gauge wire,  and available scrounged wood from the woodlot back of the house.  I think we were also laying a brick patio in the yard as well.  
  
The design was certainly not optimized for anything, other that being consistent with the fuel entry being upwind (no one should have to stoke with smoke in their face);  we proved that firing pottery was possible to do using only Gunny Highway's "Hearbreak Ridge" guidelines: "Adapt, Improvise, Overcome" as guidelines with our own engineering backgrounds.  
  
LT
 

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Outstanding.  Kind of reminds me of the guy who  hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu armed only with a sheet of plastic and a can of beans.  

I had thought of the culvert being upright but I can imagine the train kiln set up.  So are you saying the culvert wasn’t lined inside with anything at all!?  That is, you were firing a concrete culvert to cone 8 or 9?  

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