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blondegamergirl

Diy Pottery Kiln Idea? Blondegamergirl@hotmail.com

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I am interested in pottery but i don't have the $$ or electrical requirements to buy a commerical kiln.

I am looking at making a brick kiln but all the bricks could be kinda pricey. So, i had an idea that im not sure is entirely logical but i was thinking of using an old dishwasher or oven as the framework for a kiln. I would then line this with ceramic fiber blanket and use propane burners to fuel it. I would think that the insulation would prevent the outside metal from getting too hot. Logical?

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Logical and practical. Lots of raku kilns have been made using steel 55 gal drums lined like you suggest. If you keep the weather off them, they last quite awhile. Make sure that the ceramic fiber is rated for the max temperature you want to fire to. Three or four inches of insulation would be good, but you start really cutting into the volume. Another route would be patching up the soft bricks in an old (cheap) electric kiln and cutting burner ports and a flue hole and using the propane to fire it.

 

 

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DIY FYI FAC: There are some logistics with firing raw clay - not previously fired pots, art; e.g. "greenware" which are worth exploring. Heating must be gradual and slow until the work fires off all the steam, this makes it completely bone dry. This process is sometimes called "candeling" - it is one of the reason potters like to make their work thin. Now the firing can be somewaht more aggressive however the chemically combined H2O is not gone until the quartz inversion temperature is reached. This puts a visible glow in the clay when viewed at night for instance. Pots will have the appearance of glowing iron even when the heat is shut off, and then they have to be cooed gradually. In a nutshell this is "bisque" firing maybe in England and New Zealand you might say "biscuit"

Whatever design you concoct you have to go through this rather gentle process. If high fire is done in one firing, for example, still the kiln has to be able to negociate this low fire gradual heating stage at low fire temps.

 

So there are bisque fire options "pit fire" "raku" etc. With pit fire you have to ensure in some way that the pots are protected from cracking and breaking, so for instance if you are going to fire pots in a campfire a metal tray of sheet metal has to be placed over. Good results come from burning manure or straw, but there are certainly other fuels. with a gas fired raku kiln you need to keep the direct flame off of the pots, not normally a big issue with raku. The cost of building a small fiber kiln with gas equipment might actually be more expensive than taking your time and shopping for a used electric kiln.

 

Your comments about the cost of bricks - well many brick are free. Some requirements for good pavement bricks 100 years ago is that they had to be well-fired at cone 6. These you would probably have to get for free unless you know someone who has some for sale. The market for used brick is variable. They can be found as well. Additionally, many types of rock are refractory. Especially at lower temperatures certain types of rock are excellent for pit fires or small kilns. Anything like granite, or pumice stone, basalt, etc. depends on your location. Avoid limestone and sandstone, they explode. Also metal can be used in kiln design up to the point that it fails, depending on how high you fire.

 

If you have gently sloping land and access to a back hoe - well there is a kiln. See the Rhodes kiln and Tamba books

 

- h a n s e n -

ruddhess likes this

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You can often find used hobby kilns (often for sale by older ladies) of a reasonably small size. There is a yahoo group called "potterbarter" where people list wants and items for sale or free to pick up. Maybe give that a try? (I'm the moderator). Or look in your local paper, or on craigslist.

 

It's often a good idea to find a place, like a guild or art center or community college, where you can not only fire your work but have access to workshops, glazes and other resources.

 

Not that it isn't awesome to build a kiln. I just built a catenary with IFB and hard bricks I got for a hundred bucks on ebay ;0) Photos here: http://www.primalmommy.com/buildacat.html

 

 

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I agree with Kelly. Look for a used kiln first. Firing a bisque is a fiber kiln as you describe could be achieved but very cautiously. I have a small test kiln that runs on 120 home outlets. It is large enough for a dozen mugs if packed tight. I fire it for glaze tests to ^6.

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Firing a bisque is a fiber kiln as you describe could be achieved but very cautiously.

 

 

 

I guess I'm not real sure why you would say that. I have a fiber kiln I fire regularly to cone 10 with excellent results.

 

Regards,

Charles

 

 

Yes, but are the pieces bisqued first? Just saying that firing greenware in a fiber kiln should go slow because fiber kilns can heat up quickly.

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Firing a bisque is a fiber kiln as you describe could be achieved but very cautiously.

 

 

 

I guess I'm not real sure why you would say that. I have a fiber kiln I fire regularly to cone 10 with excellent results.

 

Regards,

Charles

 

 

Yes, but are the pieces bisqued first? Just saying that firing greenware in a fiber kiln should go slow because fiber kilns can heat up quickly.

 

 

Yes, I frequently bisque first; I like the way the bisqued surface accepts my glazes. I agree with you that one needs to ramp up very slowly with greenware to assure that the free and entrained water is completely eliminated: full adiabatic expansion is chaotic at best. Fiber kilns can indeed heat up way too fast. I just didn't know if you had other considerations. I also do all-in-one firings a la Dennis Parks to achieve a certain look and I have liked my results.

 

Regards,

Charles

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