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Chambers for Reducing Large Raku Pieces


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#1 Kohaku

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 06:18 PM

As a raku artist, I've been increasingly gravitating towards larger forms. These are starting to butt up against the limitations of the trashcans I've been using as reduction chambers.

The problem is that the dimensions of these objects vary a great deal- I've made some broad, flat forms (plates, for instance) as well as some taller, sculptural forms.

I was hoping for some suggestions on how to reduce these larger objects (other than having a welding shop make up a series of hideously expensive metal containers for me). Are there mass produced alternatives (other than trash cans) that people have used successfully? Alternatively, has anyone used covered pits for raku firings? I'd worry about maintaining a good enough seal, and about the sides of the pit collapsing... plus my wife might not appreciate having a series of cavities all over the yard).

Thanks in advance.
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#2 fierybeards

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 09:06 AM

Hey there. I'm also a raku potter. I reduce in a pit formed out of cinder blocks and filled with wood shavings (not sawdust). It's not terribly expensive to make and completely customizable in terms of size. Plus, it won't upset the wife for digging huge holes in the yard...although she may not like the cinder block pit. :)

I attached a picture here from the construction of my kiln yard. It shows the pit. Hope this is helpful.

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#3 Cass

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 12:58 PM

digging a pit, or several in varied shapes and sizes... great solution, and 'free'

55 gallon drums for larger, taller shapes...ask an oil change place or waste removal co.

metal washtub for flat forms

#4 Kohaku

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 07:22 PM

Thanks guys. For both of you- what have you been using as a cover (for the pits, or for the concrete block system)? Just a bit piece of sheet metal?

Also- for the cinder block option, do you do anything else to render it air-tight, or does it seem to block enough air movement as is?

Really appreciate the ideas!
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#5 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 11:41 PM

I put straw or paper in a large trash can, tape newsprint paper around the top. Pull the piece from the kiln and lower the trash can over the piece. The paper holds the combustibles long enough to get the can over the piece. For my slab I got 2 containers in Mexico larger than I can find here. Put straw on the ground, lay the piece face down on the straw and cover with a large 36" contaner
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