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Sawdust kiln?


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#1 Margaret_Yakoda

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 11:51 PM

Hi Folks,

I'm new here. I have decided it's time to put some serious effort into creating my own studio at home.

I've done a little bit of pottery before, but am by no means A Potter. Not yet. I hope to buy a second hand electric kiln and wheel soon. I've read here that having a kiln in your house can be all kinds of problematic. Because of that, I plan on running a 220 line underground to a concrete pad we have in our back yard. Not sure what kind of structure I'll build to house the kiln, so advice there is appreciated. That building won't be the main studio. I have space inside the house for that, and I have a medium size wooden out building which will also be used for some studio and office space.

Anyhow, the very first thing I want to try is a sawdust kiln. I'll fire it on the concrete pad..... That much I know. Exactly how it's done, well, that's what I need to learn. :D I have ordered "The Complete Potter: Sawdust Firing" by Karin Hessenberg, but I don't have it yet.
And I've seen Simon Leach's video on sawdust firing. http://www.youtube.c...h?v=6xI-xjv5mPk But that's the sum total of my knowlege about sawdust kilns. Does anyone here have anything they'd like to share about sawdust kilns? Thanks.

Almost forgot to mention that I got an old galvinized steel trash can off Freecycle to use for my sawdust klin. I don't even know how many holes to poke in it, or how big they need to be! LOL. I'm such a Newb!

#2 DAY

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 07:08 AM

Welcome!
First off, a (electric) "kiln in the house" is not a problem- if it is properly vented. Nasty fumes occur when clay is returned to rock via heat. Ever smell a volcano?Posted Image

Hessenberg's sawdust book has good info, and lots of inspiration. Also look for
Alternative Kilns & Firing Techniques (a Lark Book) by Watkins and Wandless. Google Sumi von Dassow.
You don't need a kiln to pit/sawdust fire,(our ancestors, circa 5,000 BC, didn't!) but it will prevent a lot of breakage.

#3 Margaret_Yakoda

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 01:38 PM

Welcome!
First off, a (electric) "kiln in the house" is not a problem- if it is properly vented. Nasty fumes occur when clay is returned to rock via heat. Ever smell a volcano?Posted Image

Hessenberg's sawdust book has good info, and lots of inspiration. Also look for
Alternative Kilns & Firing Techniques (a Lark Book) by Watkins and Wandless. Google Sumi von Dassow.
You don't need a kiln to pit/sawdust fire,(our ancestors, circa 5,000 BC, didn't!) but it will prevent a lot of breakage.



Thanks for the book recomendations. I'll see if I can get copies of them.

As for having a hood for my kiln, well... there are other considerations in my house that are probably a bit unusual. First off, the house itself was built in the late 30's by a Wobbly who was sqatting on what was at the time paper company land. The walls are concrete block, but the ceiling is very low, and... let's just say "non-standard" wood. The room where the kiln would have otherwise gone also houses the oil heater, which supplies heat to the rest of the bungalow through ducts in the cieling. Since the heater is designed to draw in air from the room, it would make a perfect delivery system for nasty gasses to the whole house. If I put the kiln itself outside, it leaves the heater room available for a wedging table, and lots and lots of shelving. This room has the door which leads to our back yard, and the walk from our back door to the concrete pad is smooth and not very far.

But the largest reason for not putting the kiln anywhere in the main house is that my husband has recently been diagnosed with a progressive illness similar to Alzheimers. Right now he wouldn't mess with a kiln, but as his disease progresses I can't be sure he'd be safe around one. Bisque ware and raw clay just don't pose the risk a hot kiln does. So the kiln will go on the concrete pad that's twenty feet on the other side of a lockable gate in a six foot tall chain link fence.

#4 neilestrick

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 02:12 PM

If you do decide to go outdoors with the electric kiln, you'll need a building large enough to move around in during loading and unloading, and to store all your kiln furniture. A small shed could work, as long as you figure out a way to vent out all the heat coming off the kiln. Leaving the door open won't cut it, because that will let the weather in. You do not want rain or snow blowing on the kiln. A kiln in an 8x8 shed could reach over 120 degrees inside very easily, more at the peak, if it's not vented. Maybe 2 wall mounted fans, one pulling in and one blowing out?
Neil Estrick
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Owner, Neil Estrick Gallery, LLC
www.neilestrickgallery.com

neil@neilestrickgallery.com

#5 Guest_The Unknown Craftsman_*

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 04:28 PM

Don't hang around and breathe the zinc fumes from that galvanized can as it is burning, you might get the "Galvie flu."
I like the book by Hessenberg, particularly the pieces from Pierre Bayle and Ruth Allen.
Also, if I remember correctly, that book has a picture of the late Judy Trim, firing her kiln with her baby in a carrier on her back! Try doing something like that today!

#6 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 05:58 PM

Hi Folks,

I'm new here. I have decided it's time to put some serious effort into creating my own studio at home.

I've done a little bit of pottery before, but am by no means A Potter. Not yet. I hope to buy a second hand electric kiln and wheel soon. I've read here that having a kiln in your house can be all kinds of problematic. Because of that, I plan on running a 220 line underground to a concrete pad we have in our back yard. Not sure what kind of structure I'll build to house the kiln, so advice there is appreciated. That building won't be the main studio. I have space inside the house for that, and I have a medium size wooden out building which will also be used for some studio and office space.

Anyhow, the very first thing I want to try is a sawdust kiln. I'll fire it on the concrete pad..... That much I know. Exactly how it's done, well, that's what I need to learn. :D I have ordered "The Complete Potter: Sawdust Firing" by Karin Hessenberg, but I don't have it yet.
And I've seen Simon Leach's video on sawdust firing. http://www.youtube.c...h?v=6xI-xjv5mPk But that's the sum total of my knowlege about sawdust kilns. Does anyone here have anything they'd like to share about sawdust kilns? Thanks.

Almost forgot to mention that I got an old galvinized steel trash can off Freecycle to use for my sawdust klin. I don't even know how many holes to poke in it, or how big they need to be! LOL. I'm such a Newb!


Lowell Baker has done 20 years or more of experimenting with sawdust kilns. If you com to NCECA you could hear him talk on the subject. His recent workshop was at Cochise college
http://magickcanoe.c...llege-pit-fire-
Marci




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