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High Bridge Pottery

Making Burners Do's And Don't's

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I would like to start building burners, all kinds of burners. Big ones, small ones, round ones and flat ones.

 

Any tips from your journeys into making or testing out burner devices? Any good source information that I could look at to get me started?

 

It doesn't have to be 100% kiln related, just related to making fire with gas. I have two kilns that are waiting to be converted and fired this summer when the weather improves but also other ideas none kiln related.

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Guest JBaymore

I've been doing it since the 70's.  Worked with Harry DeDell back when god was a kid. 

 

Are you talking commercially... or for your own use?  EDIT:  oops... own use, sorry.

 

Down and dirty is simple.... sophisticated is very technical.

 

Olsen's Kiln Book has some good info for that kind of thing.

 

best,

 

...............john

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Nothing commercial, just for my own use and enjoyment. I guess I will be aiming somewhere in between down and dirty and sophisticated. 

 

I will have to crack out the olsen book and read up on his info.

 

I have a small, probably 20 litre kiln and a 70-80 litre kiln sitting around doing nothing.

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http://www.wardburner.com/

 

(warning above link is information dense an may steal hours of your life)

 

 

is your friend

 

 

im  dont know Harry  but i imagine Mr. Ward would have spoke the same language....

On this side of the pond he is one of the GO TO guys.... if not the.....

 

 

im working on building/rebuilding a  forced air  burners  from part s .... adding thermostat/basso valve.  

 

keep us updated with progress

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I have built Bendel propane burners 1971 after helping work on Mudflat Pottery' kiln in Boston and also revamped diesel oil household furnace burners and published the design in 1973 Studio potter which was later printed as an Anthology in 1978 as the Studio potter book p.158+
I met Harry Dedell about the time I I was building the Bendel burners. I lived in Cornwall, NY and went to visit him. I still have some posts I bought from him in 1971. And God was just a young lady back then and before Olsen.

Safety equipment on Household diesel burners is the pump and electrodes for ignition. The design converted from a one nozzle to three nozzles of varying  fractions of gallons per hour output in order to control the increase in temperature.

Marcia

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If you want to do it safely, the safety systems will cost you more than the burners. For power burners, at bare minimum you'll need Baso valves on the gas lines. Ideally you'll also have solenoids on the gas lines to turn off the gas in case of a power outage so you don't have pure gas pumping through the burners. I've seen a kiln shed catch fire from that. And in addition to that you should also wire up a digital high temp shutoff controller, which is also nice to have because it can display the current kiln temp so you can see your rate of climb. Some codes don't consider Baso valves and thermocouples to be sufficient, since they are slow to react compared to more technologically advance devices like flame sensing rods and UV scanners. But it gets really expensive when you get into that stuff.

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Guest JBaymore

Ah....... some history....... and some credit to Harry's contributions......

 

Harry DeDell was the "Marc Ward" way before Marc's business existed.  Harry ran new England Ceramic and Kiln Supply in Danbury, CT.  At that time I was doing a lot of kiln design and building work for schools and private clients and used NEC&KS as a supplier for many kiln building materials....... they had better stock of that kind of stuff than the NE staple of potters, Newton Potters Supply (Newton, MA).  That is how I first became involved with Harry.  I learned a lot form Harry.

 

Because of my background in teaching kiln design and operation at MassArt, eventually Harry and I developed a professional relationship where I was doing kiln consulting work for him for some of the NEC&KS clients.  I also was working with Harry on kiln design and ideas on custom burner stuff.  As a part of NEC&KS, Harry very much specialized in combustion systems parts that you had trouble finding elsewhere........ retention nozzles, orifice parts, valves, BASO valves, thermocouples, and so on.  Eventually he developed a simple but slick power burner system design which he site built and sold as ready-to-use units to go along with the commercial burner units NEC&KS stocked.

 

Harry was a great guy and really knew what he was doing.  A real asset to the field...and an "unsung hero" in studio ceramics.

 

Eventually Harry sold out NEC&KS to the rapidly expanding Cutter Ceramics (side note- I was directly involved in the very birth of the Cutter Ceramics company also) and he went to work for them.  Tom Cutter, Jack Brennan, and Harry brought me on as kiln technical consultant for Cutter Ceramics (later Cutter-Eagle Ceramics) and I worked as a commissioned person for them for many years before they self-destructed by expanding way too fast.  In addition to general consulting and client services, I did kiln plans for them...... including the significant revisions to the Brookfield Kiln plans that Gerry WIlliams originally designed for the Brookfield Craft Center (using Harry's power burners) and a guide to using the Fyrite Flue Gas Analyzer.

 

Harry developed his own company called DeDell Burner when he left Cutter (before the final chapters) and ran that for many years.  Basically Harry's company was essentially what Ward Burner is now.  When Harry finally decided to retire (and Ward Burner has just been starting up), I got a phone call from Harry one night.......... and he gave me 'first refusal' to buy his business before he offered it to anyone else.  I was of course flattered... but I wanted to remain mainly a studio artist and PT professor...and knew if I bought that business, it would take up all of my time.  So I thanked him and said "no".  I understand that he eventually sold the business to Marc Ward...... but I do not know that for sure.  But the current power burners that Marc sells are pretty much carbon copies of Harry's design as are a number of the other product offerings.

 

Highbridge, If you look closely at the basic power burner design that Marc is currently selling, you can figure out how to build one that is very similar from off the rack parts (which is what Marc is doing).  You are in England, so I can't give you sources there.  But all you need is off-the-shelf black iron pipe parts for about 70% of it, a good flame retention nozzle, and a squirrel cage blower. A small amount of cutting and welding, a few bolts and such, and you have the basics.  You can fancy it up with blower speed controls instead of using a flap to control primary air. 

 

Then add stock flame safety components to match what ever code you will have to comply with.  Since I do not know UK codes.. .... can't advise you there at all.  But here in the US... all of the necessary parts are available from places like Johnson Controls.

 

Sometimes I still order from Ward Burner for simplicity....... and sometimes order parts direct from the manufacturers.... depends on the job and if I am trying to save a few bucks.

 

If you are trying to do something similar in technology level to the Ward power burner.... you can build them.  BUT... and this is an important "but"......... you may find that the amount you will save when combined with the inevitable mistakes you will make and have to correct.... along with your time... that buying the items might actually make more sense.  Us potters often try to do everything ourselves...... when sometimes we should really "call in the pros". 

 

Just like in making pots...... your TIME is your highest expense in making your work.  If you are looking at this as an educational endeavor............... that is one thing.  If you are looking to "save money"........ it might not work out as expected.

 

best,

 

...................john

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Such an interesting story, makes me want to go out and work for a ceramics company. Maybe one day I will be able to trade in my office job  :lol:

 

It is all about the education, I have never really been interested in making money, it is just one of those things I have to do to fit in society and survive. I do like saving money but I feel if this is going to be an ongoing thing for life then I need a good foundation in all things ceramics. Surely one day it will save me money  :ph34r: when I can kick it with the pro's.

Thank you John for the great info and donating me some of your time  :D and everybody else too! Lots of good stuff to get me started.

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Guest JBaymore

No problem.

 

The most detailed part is getting the pipe that acts as the gas supply into the center of the mixing tube, and aligned with its axis.  And then SERIOUSLY sealing the manner in which you got it in there back up on that mixing tube.  There used to be a pipe part called a double tap bushing that allowed you to use a black iron T or cross for that function .....but they are like hen's teeth to find today.

 

Technically... and moving toward the "down and dirty" aspects...... you could just use a gas supply pipe coming into a large (1 1/2" or 2") T on the burner's mixing tube with a standard bushing (or not as good....... close nipples and reducers) to bring it down to maybe a 1/2" or 3/4" line (for the gas supply) and then just use NO orifice at all.  Very BAD design... but it'd work at some level.  The gas/primary air mixing would be bad, and the control of the burner (turn down ratio, etc.) would be bad... and it'd give the flame retention nozzle a chore to maintain the flame seated at the tip....... but you'd get a "burner".  I've seen it done.

 

Ideally you want the orifice "squirting" the gas stream out in the exact center of the mixing tube, and on axis with the flow of the air introduced by the blower.  This usually means a pipe coming in from the side thru the mixing tube wall, and then an ell to the short stub that holds the (replaceable) drilled orifice.  This is probably the most "nasty" construction detail.

 

A few likely useful links from some of my kiln class handouts to get you started on the road.............:

 

http://www.combustiondepot.com/store/cart.php?m=product_list&c=577

 

http://www.selas.com/pyronics/

 

http://combustion.fivesgroup.com/products/burners/burners.html

 

http://www.johnsongas.com/industrial/kiln.asp

 

http://www.johnstone-westmichigan.com/techcenter/orficetable.pdf

 

http://www.andersonforrester.com/cap-orifices

 

https://www.maxoncorp.com/Files/pdf/English/E-Sticktite_and_Sealed_Nozzles/E-Sticktite_Nozzles-i-bulletin.pdf

 

http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/natural-gas-pipe-sizing-d_826.html

 

http://www.baso.com/

 

http://www.fireye.com/Pages/Home.aspx

 

https://products.ecc.emea.honeywell.com/europe/pdf/en-ecrm7890-primary-instructionsheet-66-1089-11-nl05r0812.pdf

 

http://www.eclipsenet.com/products/Ceramics/

 

best,

 

.................john

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Are Bendel burners terribly inefficient?  That's what I always used on my gas kilns, and they seemed to do the job.

 

While we're talking about burners, does anyone have the instructions for what I think is called the New Zealand oil burner?  This system was mantioned in a CM article many years ago-- it was in connection with a fast-fire updraft kiln.  My last fuel burner was oil-fired, and I have to say that I liked the results better than any gas kiln I've owned.  (It was a cross draft salt kiln with a cast arch.)  Anyway, if I remember this correctly, the burner was a kind of ring burner that dripped the oil into a pan, and forced air was supplied by a ring around the pan, with a lot of air holes drilled into the inside surface of the ring.

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I built Bendel Burners with grainger squirrel cage blowers. I had 5 tiny orifices drilled into the black pipe of each burner. The black pipe was inserted into the 2.0 " pipe that had a bell reducer on the burner tip. I fired with propane. They worked just fine.

 

Here are some pictures and a firing log for the oil burners. These are domestic household burners converted from one to three nozzles for controlling the output. Each nozzle had a valve. They could run independently or in combo with the other nozzles.

 

If you are interested in the article, I could make a pdf and email you. Send me your email.

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post-1954-0-35507700-1424024048_thumb.jpeg

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The Studio Potter book is a great resource. I was just looking at it after retrieving the article on oil burners. There are several other designs for oil firing.

Anne Stannard, Dennis Parks, Paul Soldner and Fred Olson each wrote one.Soldner also compared BTUs of various wood.  Harry Dedell, who John Baymore mentioned, is in there as a designer of the Brookfield , Cn. kiln. William Alexander has an early article on Toxicology. He died in the late 70s in Bozeman, MT. There are several articles on firing with solar power. 

Someone should update this book like they have for others. Lots of good information.It was an anthology of the first few years of Studio Potter Magazine.

Gerry Williams, the founding editor,  passed away in 2014. Many other are gone. Ceramics is a field where knowledge is passed on. It is an ancient tradition and we need the protect the knowledge and pass it on. This forum is a good place to do that.

Marcia

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Marcia, I finally located the info on the burner I was looking for.  It's called the New Zealand pot burner, and the article appeared in the October 1979 Ceramics Monthly.

 

I sure wish CM would come out with a searchable DVD with all the back issues, as several other magazines have done.  Maybe they have and I just haven't been able to find it, but if they did, I'd buy it.

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Guest JBaymore

I sure wish CM would come out with a searchable DVD with all the back issues, as several other magazines have done.  Maybe they have and I just haven't been able to find it, but if they did, I'd buy it.

 

I have a collection of DVDs of older issues they put out a while ago.  Check with them.  (I also have every physical issue going back til god was a small child.)

 

best,

 

.................john

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Alpine burners are made with off the shelf pipe fittings, plus a retention tip. The burner pipe is an 8" long 2" black pipe nipple, threaded into a 2" coupling. I would not use anything shorter than 8" for the burner pipe, because the gas and air don't mix as well in a shorter pipe. On the other side of the coupling is a floor flange, onto which the blower is attached. The coupling has a hole drilled on each side, through which the gas orifice is inserted. The coupling should be black pipe, not cast iron, as it is much easier to drill through for the gas orifice. If you can't find the black pipe kind, the cast ones are drillable, it's just more difficult (see photo below). The gas orifice is a 1/4" black pipe with a cap on one end. The orifice pipe goes through the hole in the coupling. Alpine drills 3 orifice holes in the pipe, with the holes aimed toward the kiln. A 3/4" reducing coupling connects to the orifice. Large washers can be used to fill any space between the 3/4" coupling and the 2" coupling so that the orifice pipe is held tight and can't turn. You could also weld the orifice pipe to the 2" coupling once you've determined that the orifice is the correct size. It's a very simple setup that you can make without any welds, and it's easy to adjust the orifice size by simply replacing the 1/4" pipe or drilling the holes larger.

 

In the photo below you'll see that I put a pressure gauge below the burner, then a shutoff valve, the the Baso valve, then a solenoid valve which is connected to a digital high temp shutoff controller and thermocouple. After the solenoid it connects to the 2" main gas line.

 

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post-6933-0-85390800-1424229231_thumb.jpg

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No problem.

 

The most detailed part is getting the pipe that acts as the gas supply into the center of the mixing tube, and aligned with its axis.  And then SERIOUSLY sealing the manner in which you got it in there back up on that mixing tube.  There used to be a pipe part called a double tap bushing that allowed you to use a black iron T or cross for that function .....but they are like hen's teeth to find today.

............

 

why must gas orifice be central in mixing tube? I assume that turbulence/air flow of fan wold sufficiently mix.....  any pics of this double tap bushing?

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Nice setup.  I assume there are two burners for that kiln.

 

Thanks! Yes, two burners. The 2" main comes in directly behind the chimney, then splits out to the two burners. There's a reducing fitting down to 3/4", then the burners are connected with flexible gas line. Easy setup.

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I've been using residential Oil Burners for various kilns since the 70's,  They are available as used units through craigslist locally. Oil puts out more BTU's than LP gas and won't blow up if something goes wrong. They have built in safety of an infer Red sensor that monitors the flame and shuts off if no flame and a spark ignighter to keep the flame.  Since a burner has only one oriface that is sized by the gallons pr hour, such as: .50 or .75 or 1.25, etc. you need to have more than one and change them as temp. rises or on one of my kilns had 4 burner ports, I started to preheat with a .05 gph, in one port, than put a 1.0 gph than as temp increased another 1,75 gph than finally a 2.50 gph to high temp.

In my current Raku Kiln, I use a simple weed burner available at Harbor Freight Tools for about $21.00 new and a 20lb LP Grill Tank for pre heat,  It can take me up to 700 degrees than I remove it from the burner hole and insert an oil burner at 1,25 Gph to cone 04. Home heating oil isn't cheap but way cheaper than propane. There are other issues with a 20 LP gas tank such as freezing up if gas escapes too fast like a kiln burner, but i simply insert the tank in a small tub of warm water while its functioning. All works well.

It's just a thought.post-66316-0-86110400-1424276408_thumb.jpgpost-66316-0-08500900-1424276416_thumb.jpg

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Jackboyko, this is the same type of burner you are usinI have made a pdf file to send to whoever is interested. it is too large to attach to a post. but converted to three nozzles in the tube that can run together to individually.

.

 

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post-1954-0-87111100-1424799760_thumb.jpg

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I am getting a little confused over high pressure and low pressure systems. I assume I want low pressure, sounds safer and it does say it is cheaper.

 

So I am looking at anything under 11 water-column inches or is it not really that exact? There is a good diagram in the book showing gas pressure and orifice size that goes up to 15WC. I have been looking at some hardware and they don't seem that much different in price. Would I still put a high pressure regulator on the propane tank then have a low pressure regulator going to the burners to get the 10-15 water-column inches? 

 

If I wan't to keep my gas pressure low then is it best to have say 6 burners with smaller orifices than one or two with a bigger orifice. This would keep the pressure difference higher allowing for a better venturi?

 

I guess my question is, is it better to go high pressure or low pressure? Is there a medium pressure that I could go to, am I choosing between different factors in the mixing?

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On this side of the pond our gas to homes and most business is piped in at low pressure-usually 7 inches of water column or 1/4 pound pressure on a gauge.This gas can be had at higher presures but most utilities like to regulate it down to 7 inches via a regulator.

Propane or bottled gas is higher pressure and can be lowered with a regulator but most consider it high pressure.

So  1st before deciding anything what presure do you have available??What is the type of gas?

As well as you must keep in mind low pressure needs larger volume pipes to carry it to burners.

For example mine are all 2 inch pipe from the gas meter to kiln risers and only near the burners do they get smaller.High pressure can use smaller pipes.

before i can venture an opinion I'll need to know this info above as I know nothing of England's gas options and pressures?

Mark

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When I worked at Alpine kilns, our rule was that you had to have 14"WC for our kilns, which is double household pressure. Many municipalities will not give a house that much pressure, but for commercial spaces it's usually not an issue. Most municipalities would not allow a gas kiln at a home anyway, so it was a non-issue. A 2" pipe was ideal and would work for most every kiln we built, but depending on the size of kiln that may be overkill. For smaller kilns a 1 1/4" pipe can provide sufficient volume. My last gas kiln had a 2" line at 14"WC, going down to 3/4" about 3 feet from the burner. Plenty of volume there to give me 800,000btu for the kiln and enough to power the studio heater, too. There are kilns on the market that will run on 7"WC, but you really have to make sure you have enough volume at pressure that low. If you're using venturi burners, you'll need to find out what pressure they are designed to run on. Power burners are much easier to adjust for different plumbing situations.

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I will be using propane tanks for the gas. After a bit of reading it seems propane tanks come with a 14WC regulator on the tank.

 

The kiln is very small, 5.05ftso it will need about 60,000 BTU. I was planning to design the venturi burners to run on whatever pressure is the easiest. If the gas does come from the tank at 14WC then that seems like a good manifold pressure.

 

My initial idea is to have some sort of gas manifold at 14WC (0.5psi) that would supply 6 burners in an updraft kiln. 14WC at 25CF/H gives me 62,900 BTU (using 2516 BTU/ft3 for propane) and a size 50 orifice for one burner. If I want that with 6 burners I would need 4CF/H which is 10,000 BTU and size 68 orifice.

I could be doing that wrong. It is 3:20am and I am getting lost in which numbers mean what.

 

If I am reading right then 25CF/H is very easy to achieve although I am not sure if that is what I need anyway.

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