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captmike

Raku Kilns

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Hi New here and already have a question.  Which type of gas Raku kiln is preferred by most; top opening or bottom?  I am designing one and am at the stage where I can do either.  Kiln will be about 30 inches deep.

 

Thanks

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I think reaching into an open top kiln is the most dangerous method, and difficult with larger pieces. The good thing about them is that they hold the heat somewhat once open. The type where you lift the body of the kiln off the base is easy to unload, but the pieces cool very quickly once you open it, and it's not the safest thing in the world to pull an 1800 degree kiln body off. The best is a front loading kiln, where the kiln can be opened and closed each time you pull a pot. Safe and easy to get pots out, and it holds the heat. Clamshell are similar, but not quite as easy to use.

Raku 011.jpg

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Thanks for the input.  I would like to build a front opening kiln, but that option is not possible with the parts I have.  It will be a little more difficult to build a kiln that lifts off the bottom, but if I do that I plan to use an electrical wench.

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Is it going to be a fixed or portable unit? What did you have in mind with the parts you have? Do you want simple fiber and wire or more elaborate brick. Are you looking to fire a lot of pieces at once or just a few? Will you be firing by yourself or will you have help? All points to consider as part of this exercise...

JohnnyK

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Agreed, I never was attracted to those commercial or other raku's that raises the whole kiln off the base. 

When using tongs to transfer pieces from kiln to whatever your using to hold your debris/sawdust, you want the transition to be as least stressful on the piece (and your back) as possible.

I'd rather pull pieces from a low front loader.  Heat rises, you don't want it in your face.

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With my front loader, we'll fire up to a dozen pieces at the same time. I can leave the burner on low as we pull the pots to help hold the heat. Someone cracks the door, a pot is pulled, and the door is closed. The temp will only drop about 150 degrees during the entire process. The kiln being soft brick also helps, as the bricks hold heat more than fiber. When the pulling is done, I'll leave the door open for 10 minutes, put in a cool shelf, and reload. When I close the door, the temp will go up to over 700 degrees without even turning on the burner.

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I made a raku kiln out of old electric 1027; Made a bracket and counterweight system so I could pull down on the bucket of concrete to lift the "top" of the kiln out of the way when pots needed to be pulled. Guides keep the top of the kiln from banging into pots as its being lifted/lowered. The whole thing was on a steel frame with big 12" pneumatic tires so it could be taken off site, or around the shop.

Otherwise its got be a clamshell for me. Aint no fun cooking your face, arms, etc trying to dig down into a kiln to pull out pots, nor easy to pull all the little pots from the back of a front loader. I like to get the kiln out of my way so I can do what I came there to do!

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If I was building from scratch I am with @liambesaw and I would build a clamshell from a simple barrel shape. We use this type and open and close as needed to unload. I believe it is fiber with  brick on the bottom, all pretty easy stuff if you are moderately handy.

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Don't think I've ever seen a clamshell Raku kiln - got pics or link?

I definitely do not like leaning over a top-loader and the lift is awkward, at best. I don't load little pieces into the back of my front-loader, which is a converted square electric, turned on its side.

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8 hours ago, Rae Reich said:

Don't think I've ever seen a clamshell Raku kiln - got pics or link?

I definitely do not like leaning over a top-loader and the lift is awkward, at best. I don't load little pieces into the back of my front-loader, which is a converted square electric, turned on its side.

Common stuff,  easy to build see pictures below. We use the round one but there are many makers. The one on the right I believe is Peter pugger, the one on the left is Cooper works  I believe. If you need some close ups, I’ll have to pull it out of our kiln shed and take them later. Just drop me a reminder.

FEE55C9E-4EFD-4C0E-845C-A1998994C141.jpeg

62664965-34FA-4913-8093-79317749087B.jpeg

Edited by Bill Kielb

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On 12/18/2018 at 7:22 PM, Mark C. said:

I think a top hat (kiln that lifts up )is best for raku-it does cool quickly but its safer-no hot door to fry you with.

Ceramic Fiber is the easy way to make one with a wire or light steel frame.

I agree with this and i just built one recently. I have to make a modification though. Currently, we just raise and lower the top part with a pulley system.   I'd like to change this to a winch so that I can fire it more easily myself.

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