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Please help with saggar question


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#1 o2jmpr

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 10:53 PM

Hello all!

I really need some help with understanding how to proceed. I'm new to this and don't have a kiln available in my city.

I would like to fire some clay pipes in a homemade kiln using charcoal. I'm planning on getting a 6 gallon steel pail with a vent pipe at the bottom to two stacked paint cans inside, the middle space filled with volcanic rock for a grill and the paint cans filled with charcoal briquettes for firing.

My main problem here is that although I'm "pit firing" or smoke firing, I want the pipes to stay clean and white so I'll require a saggar which I intended to make myself from the same clay as the pipes in a long narrow cylinder ( I'll fire this first of course and don't care if it takes on any colors) or sometimes using a smaller quart sized paint can as the saggar.

1. Will this work at all?

2. Should the saggar be vented since I'm firing greenware? I'll go from bone dry to preheating in my baking oven at 500 degrees before
trying to fire, but I'm still worried about steam or off-gassing in a sealed saggar maybe causing them to explode.

3. Would you anticipate any other potential problems I may not have considered since I'm greenware myself :Dsrc="http://ceramicartsda...t/biggrin.gif">

I really appreciate anyone's ability to help with these questions.

Thanks very much!

#2 weeble

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:03 AM

Honestly, I doubt you'll get hot enough in that set up to vitrify your pipes. I'm assuming you mean smoking pipes, as opposed to plumbing pipes, so even if you DO manage to keep them from getting smokey, they'll pick up smoke from whatever you're smoking. Of course that all depends on what clay you're using.

You're going to have to check your can seams to see if they're soldered or crimped, and if they're soldered you really can't use them (most solder melts somewhere between 300F and 400F, and brazing melts somewhere around 900F)

Best thing I can suggest is go ahead and try it out, see what happens. A large enough controlled wood fire can get quite hot, but a small one like you're talking about or in a barbeque grill will give you pottery something akin to a terra cotta flower pot. I've done a lot of smoke firing with a grill, the clay stays porous.
Maryjane Carlson

Whistling Fish Pottery

#3 o2jmpr

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:24 AM

I think 1100-1200 should be plenty hot. They don't need to vitrify. I want them to be as porous as possible, that way they smoke cool and accept the moisture and tars from the tobacco. They can be cleaned back to original state by refiring.

I did not consider the can construction. THANK YOU! Ill have to see just how a paint can is put together. Maybe that's not an option.

How do you feel about the venting issue?

#4 o2jmpr

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:21 AM

It's been suggested to consider a rocket stove kiln vs charcoal burn down. Could I also get your thoughts on this as well as the saggar question? Thanks again everyone!

#5 o2jmpr

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 05:37 PM

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Here is my fire pit at home. It's 2x2x2 interior and the bottom is dug deep, lined with gravel, then pea gravel, then about 4-5 inches of sand.

Could I get away with just placing a saggar atop some wood coals and then building a big campfire on top and letting it burn down overnight instead of trying to build an elaborate bucket kiln and using charcoal briquettes?

#6 weeble

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:30 PM

Its really hard to say exactly how well it will work, there are a lot of variables! How dry your wood is, how hot it burns, how LONG it actually stays hot, what the air moisture is on the day you fire, the phase of the moon, the mood of your kiln goddess...

All I can say is try it and see if you get the results you want! I can guarantee you'll get SOME sort of results, but that's about all. The bigger the fire, the longer it burns, USUALLY the hotter your stuff will get. It sounds like you're at least thinking of possible options and working through potential results, so why not give it a whirl?

ETA: I WILL suggest though, that you be cautious of water in those bricks.... they could pop and cause some damage, so...
Maryjane Carlson

Whistling Fish Pottery




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