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Homemade Kiln Plans


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#1 Pagan_Considerations

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 12:33 PM

Posted Image I'm almost 100% new to kilns, pottery, and my rebuild toward goals.

Posted Image I rather nearly lost my life entirely due to undiagnosable medical issues and my governments lack of understanding and assitance...but I have rebuilt my entire being nearly 100% alone and am ready to rebuild the last of my life to get back onto our taxing roles (pardon the pun).

Posted Image However, as intelligent as I might sometimes be, I can not (for the life of me) find one single useable plan for a moderate small electric or propnae fired kiln to use in my jewelries and potteries mold needs...help?

Posted Image Believe you me, if I had 3 nickles or a dime I would buy a professional or used kiln...I am creative though and will find a way...can anyone guide me to any site or plan which does not cost even that nickle (which is so demanded to be used in more mandatory needs presently)?

Posted Image By the way, thank you!

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#2 JBaymore

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 12:49 PM

Glad to hear that you got your health back in order. Not a fun thing to go thru.

Do you have access to a public library? If so, there are lots of books on kilns and kiln building. Have a librarian help you locate some.... might have to do an interlibrary loan. A few that quickly come to mind: The Kiln Book -Olsen , Kilns; Design and Construction -Rhodes , Art of Firing -Lou , Electric Kilns - Frazer .

While electric kilns sound like they would maybe be "simpler"... in many ways scratch building them is actually a bit more complicated due to the electrical calculations and coil winding that is necessary. (I'm a 35 yera experienced professional kiln builder... and I tend to shy away from doing electrics for cliants myself.)

If you are new to clay, as it seems to indicate in your posting,..... you might want to be absolutely sure of your fring requirements (oxidation / neutral / reduction , final cone end point , etc.) before you start down the road of building a kiln. That way you'll have the "design requirements" well in hand before starting planning the kiln.

A VERY small, simple, and primitive propane fired kiln can be done with a couple of boxes of insulating firebrick, a small trailer-type propane cylinder, a high pressure regulator, some gas hose, and a small venturi gas burner that you can either buy or make out of pipe fittings. Not all that efficient or controllable... but it will fire clay.

In a real economic pinch you can even make some home-made insulating refractories with simply a fireclay and sawdust mixture and fire them in place. Not elegant or really long lasting.... but they can be cheap and "work".

Any kiln no matter how simple is likely going to take some of those elusive nickels to build/acquire. Posted Image

best,

....................john
John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

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#3 Pagan_Considerations

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 01:25 PM

Mr Baymore...my great appreciation for this...LOL...heck, I got so used to the net that I forgot god made libraries many millenia ago Posted Image The library sounds like the best beginning indeed! Posted Image Hmmm...and I consider myself semi-intelligent Posted Image

I'll def be seeking the titles you recommend...it isn't the time, and materials are easily traded for...but the nickles aren't...Posted Image

I have gained some basic fireproofing from antique damaged electirc kilns, though no bodies or anything else, and I also have a mobile 60 gallon propane tank and burner outfit...thank you again!

#4 JBaymore

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 02:24 PM

Be careful of the "fireproofing" from ancient damaged electric kilns. SOme of the really old stuff was still using asbestos materials. And others were using vermiculite....... contaminated with asbestos. And if you are gathering up old used (fired) refractory ceramic fiber (RCF)....... the dust from that is nothing you want to breathe either.

Yeah .....libraries...... the "analog" approach. Posted Image

best,

................john
John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#5 Pagan_Considerations

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 02:52 PM

Posted Image well...back to the banana factory for me I guess then...uncertain the age of the material, so best to trash...owe you my lungs! Posted Image

"Analog"? Is that anything like "snail mail"? Posted Image OMG!

You have me considering those nickles now...thanks, John! (Library ho! Posted Image )

grrr...Posted Image

#6 Stephen Robison

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 05:48 PM

I have built 14 kilns now and not one, even with serious pack-rat and scrounging skill, was cheap! &nbsp;Woodfiring by Jack troy,&nbsp;The Kiln Book -Olsen , Kilns; Design and Construction -Rhodes , Art of Firing -Nils Lou , Electric Kilns - Frazer. By far the best place to start are these books. Of course there are online sources where you can get an idea of what to do. But if you have no $ it will be tough. Fiber blanket is costly and bad for your health. There is a new blanket made out of soluble fiber. Little more costly. Bricks!!! New bricks around 4-5 bucks a pop, plus shipping. Finding used fire brick is tough. If you do they run anywhere from 50 cents to 3 bucks a piece. If you need a thousand brick well.. Do the math. Then if you are using kilns shelves and furniture and a burner system. Mark Ward is one of the best sources for that. Building a kiln is not cheap. If you are lucky you will find some free stuff. Good luck! The basics however are to build a box out of the appropriate refractory material and use fuel to heat it. What kind of fuels?? GAS WOOD DUNG OIL WASTE OR DIESLE METHANE..... Those are a few combustibles to acquire heat. Cost of firing also needing to be worked into the equation. Electric kilns are best found cheap and used or in my opinion a new kiln is worth the cost after you replace all the parts on a used one. &nbsp;No easy answer to this. The best in some way is to find a local community art program and use their facilities. Tuition at a community college or local community studio in the short run and maybe the ling run may be more cost effective. Tuition may seem high sometimes, but you get what you pay for. Good Luck.</span>
STEPHEN ROBISON
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#7 Pagan_Considerations

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 11:18 PM

I have built 14 kilns now and not one, even with serious pack-rat and scrounging skill, was cheap! &nbsp;Woodfiring by Jack troy,&nbsp;The Kiln Book -Olsen , Kilns; Design and Construction -Rhodes , Art of Firing -Nils Lou , Electric Kilns - Frazer. By far the best place to start are these books. Of course there are online sources where you can get an idea of what to do. But if you have no $ it will be tough. Fiber blanket is costly and bad for your health. There is a new blanket made out of soluble fiber. Little more costly. Bricks!!! New bricks around 4-5 bucks a pop, plus shipping. Finding used fire brick is tough. If you do they run anywhere from 50 cents to 3 bucks a piece. If you need a thousand brick well.. Do the math. Then if you are using kilns shelves and furniture and a burner system. Mark Ward is one of the best sources for that. Building a kiln is not cheap. If you are lucky you will find some free stuff. Good luck! The basics however are to build a box out of the appropriate refractory material and use fuel to heat it. What kind of fuels?? GAS WOOD DUNG OIL WASTE OR DIESLE METHANE..... Those are a few combustibles to acquire heat. Cost of firing also needing to be worked into the equation. Electric kilns are best found cheap and used or in my opinion a new kiln is worth the cost after you replace all the parts on a used one. &nbsp;No easy answer to this. The best in some way is to find a local community art program and use their facilities. Tuition at a community college or local community studio in the short run and maybe the ling run may be more cost effective. Tuition may seem high sometimes, but you get what you pay for. Good Luck.</span>



Stephen, I do apprecaite this fact of nothing free or cheap...luckily I have scrounged about our area forever and know how to trade for items with good old fashioned hard work (methodical intelligent work in my weakened state). With the books you and John suggest, and some inventive nature, I will slowly accomplish the needed tasks and study. Luckily, even one of the main ACE Hardware owners is a friend who might do trades for the high expense items such as safe proper fireproofing materials...well, some anyway...LOL The college does sound an excellant choice since I do know they offer a course, but they mostly want you to do projects their curriculum demands...but i do have a good reputation as a past student there, so it is also something to serriously consider.
I want to thank you both, I am certain our conversation here will bring new people valuable insights...and you have both brought sides to consider that are highly important.

My best, and my Thanks,
Ronald

#8 Arnold Howard

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 12:16 PM

Posted ImageHowever, as intelligent as I might sometimes be, I can not (for the life of me) find one single useable plan for a moderate small electric or propnae fired kiln to use in my jewelries and potteries mold needs...help?


A used electric kiln will cost less than building your own. With patience, you can find small used enameling kilns for very little. They are sold in estate sales and sometimes even garage sales. The kiln may be 30 years old, but most of them are still serviceable.

Sincerely,

Arnold Howard
Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA
ahoward@paragonweb.com / www.paragonweb.com

#9 jennisculpts

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 12:57 PM

to follow the college thread of thought. Sometimes they offer to the community night classes that are not curriculum rigid. Since one isn't looking for a degree it is possible to make whatever your heart desires and they will fire them and usually allow free access to glazes all inclusive in the cost of the classes. Our area classes are approx. $200.00 for 8 weeks.
Jenni Kelly
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Cookeville, Tennessee 38501

#10 hansen

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 04:55 PM

A kiln can be built on the cheap with the burner from the device farmers use to burn fields, a propane tank from a gas grill, regulator, valve, hoses, etc. and a small pile of soft insulating brick. Some ceramic suppliers carry all this stuff. But actually a used electric kiln may cost even less if you are patient and drive a hard bargain. Check the want ads, craigslist etc. You might want to check into enamelling kilns if that is the kind of jewelry you have in mind.
h a n s e n

Posted Image I'm almost 100% new to kilns, pottery, and my rebuild toward goals.

Posted Image I rather nearly lost my life entirely due to undiagnosable medical issues and my governments lack of understanding and assitance...but I have rebuilt my entire being nearly 100% alone and am ready to rebuild the last of my life to get back onto our taxing roles (pardon the pun).

Posted Image However, as intelligent as I might sometimes be, I can not (for the life of me) find one single useable plan for a moderate small electric or propnae fired kiln to use in my jewelries and potteries mold needs...help?

Posted Image Believe you me, if I had 3 nickles or a dime I would buy a professional or used kiln...I am creative though and will find a way...can anyone guide me to any site or plan which does not cost even that nickle (which is so demanded to be used in more mandatory needs presently)?

Posted Image By the way, thank you!




h a n s e n
Stone House Studio, Alexandria, Virginia

americanpotter.blogspot.com
thesuddenschool.blogspot.com

#11 hansen

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 05:00 PM

to follow the college thread of thought. Sometimes they offer to the community night classes that are not curriculum rigid. Since one isn't looking for a degree it is possible to make whatever your heart desires and they will fire them and usually allow free access to glazes all inclusive in the cost of the classes. Our area classes are approx. $200.00 for 8 weeks.

colleges, community colleges, art centers, cooperatives, potters, even suppliers often fire for nominal cost. Also it is possible to fire clay with a camp-fire, or "pit-fire" - not EASY- but possible. Again, use the library and internet to research the techniques. Some really fine work is done this way.
h a n s e n



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americanpotter.blogspot.com
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#12 hansen

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 06:30 AM

Again, look at the books, I have seen a design that will fire pottery that uses sheet metal, coffee cans, and cow manure. I have built a wood fired kiln with common red brick and got construction workers to dump wood scrap in my driveway. I have even fired pots in a charcoal grill and in my fireplace. Of course the clay wants to explode, but if you carefully dry it and very slowly preheat it, you can move it to your improvised kiln and if your design is well thought-out it won't shock the pieces until you heat the kiln. If you are really dedicated to "free" look into primitive wood fired pit firings and/or wood fired raku kilns. The Rhodes and Leach and Cardew books both have designs for the raku kiln. The most beautiful pot I ever have seen is an Anasazi corrogated coil jar, with the potters fingerprint clearly visible in every indentation, maybe 1000 times over. And maybe 1000 years old. Probably fired in a camp-fire. Is clay amazing or what????



to follow the college thread of thought. Sometimes they offer to the community night classes that are not curriculum rigid. Since one isn't looking for a degree it is possible to make whatever your heart desires and they will fire them and usually allow free access to glazes all inclusive in the cost of the classes. Our area classes are approx. $200.00 for 8 weeks.

colleges, community colleges, art centers, cooperatives, potters, even suppliers often fire for nominal cost. Also it is possible to fire clay with a camp-fire, or "pit-fire" - not EASY- but possible. Again, use the library and internet to research the techniques. Some really fine work is done this way.
h a n s e n






h a n s e n
Stone House Studio, Alexandria, Virginia

americanpotter.blogspot.com
thesuddenschool.blogspot.com

#13 hansen

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 06:35 AM

I just googled "pit fire" and looked at "Images for pit fire" and if that doesn't do something for yah, what will??????

h a n s e n

Again, look at the books, I have seen a design that will fire pottery that uses sheet metal, coffee cans, and cow manure. I have built a wood fired kiln with common red brick and got construction workers to dump wood scrap in my driveway. I have even fired pots in a charcoal grill and in my fireplace. Of course the clay wants to explode, but if you carefully dry it and very slowly preheat it, you can move it to your improvised kiln and if your design is well thought-out it won't shock the pieces until you heat the kiln. If you are really dedicated to "free" look into primitive wood fired pit firings and/or wood fired raku kilns. The Rhodes and Leach and Cardew books both have designs for the raku kiln. The most beautiful pot I ever have seen is an Anasazi corrogated coil jar, with the potters fingerprint clearly visible in every indentation, maybe 1000 times over. And maybe 1000 years old. Probably fired in a camp-fire. Is clay amazing or what????




to follow the college thread of thought. Sometimes they offer to the community night classes that are not curriculum rigid. Since one isn't looking for a degree it is possible to make whatever your heart desires and they will fire them and usually allow free access to glazes all inclusive in the cost of the classes. Our area classes are approx. $200.00 for 8 weeks.

colleges, community colleges, art centers, cooperatives, potters, even suppliers often fire for nominal cost. Also it is possible to fire clay with a camp-fire, or "pit-fire" - not EASY- but possible. Again, use the library and internet to research the techniques. Some really fine work is done this way.
h a n s e n









h a n s e n
Stone House Studio, Alexandria, Virginia

americanpotter.blogspot.com
thesuddenschool.blogspot.com

#14 bciskepottery

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Posted 17 July 2010 - 07:37 PM

A couple more places to look for ideas: google Youtube for Simon Leach for videos on constructing a raku kiln and, his most current project, converting an old electric kiln to propane firing using two weed burners and a 40 gal. propane tank. A good book on building kilns is Mel Jacobsen's 21st Century Kilns. You could also consider alternative firing to begin making wares -- this month's Pottery Making Illustrated has an article by Sumi von Dassow on using a Webber grill to low fire pots.

#15 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 18 July 2010 - 12:35 PM

You can get partial rolls of ceramic fiber on Ebay for some good prices.
My first solo kiln was built in 1971 from bricks scrounged out of an old
deserted boiler in the woods in upstate NY. I have built quite a few over the years.
The ceramics program at MSUB ran on my gas kilns for 25 years. Rebuilt them when
we move into a new building and after returning from sabbaticals. Sprung arches are
my favorite to build but catenary arches are prettier, almost religious-looking.
I had hands on learning when I was in undergrad school. But a friend gave me a copy of Soldner's book (pamphlet)
which I followed as well as practical experience.
Marcia

#16 drapeta

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 12:48 PM

I would really know what the original poster ended up doing.

#17 Benzine

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:28 AM

I was going to respond to this, making a suggestion, but then I noticed the date of the original posting.
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#18 JBaymore

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 11:01 AM

I was going to respond to this, making a suggestion, but then I noticed the date of the original posting.




Look at the number of VIEWS that is listed now....... 1,712,042 !!!!! Posted Image
John Baymore
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#19 justanassembler

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 06:35 PM


I was going to respond to this, making a suggestion, but then I noticed the date of the original posting.




Look at the number of VIEWS that is listed now....... 1,712,042 !!!!! Posted Image


Given that its the second hit on google when you do a search for homemade kiln plans, I'm not terribly surprised :)

#20 Essaily

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 05:52 AM

Hi,
if you're still looking for an inexpensive kiln
you can make for virtually nothing -
you might like to check out:

1.New Zealand Potter Pete who has experimented building several wood fired kilns.
2. Lisa Orr fires to earthenware clay to cone 2 in a couple hours
3. Kiln from clay, grass and organic matter by Date Farmer who sucessfully fired bricks and kiln shelves and hundreds of pizzas (not at the same time)
4. Clay Throwerdemonstrates a tiny gas kiln he made

all the best with that!




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