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Hi friendly pottery community!

I am in the process of building a raku kiln from an oil drum, and I have been scouring various sources online and in books to try and answer some questions but have had no luck! I thought it might be easier to just ask.

1. What kind of burner should I buy? The raku burner kits from pottery suppliers seem prohibitively expensive, and I wondered if they are putting a big mark up on something which could be bought cheaper from a builders merchant or similar. However, as I am new to this and don't really know much about burners, I don't want to cut costs and get the wrong thing.  I gather from my various sources that the best fuel to go for is propane.

2. Fire bricks - what do I need to go for? I think I need to get some to build up a 'combustion zone' at the bottom of the drum, which a kiln shelf will sit on top of, and the burner will be aimed between them to build up heat. The options I see on the supplier I am currently browsing (Vitcas) are refractory and insulation. Are these the equivalent of hard and soft, as I have seen them referenced elsewhere? And how many should i need? It is a 55 gallon oil drum.

3. Am I right in thinking that the hole for the burner to enter the drum should be approx 2 x the size of the burner, and that the vent at the top of the drum should be double the size of the burner hole?

4. Should I get fire bricks for the oil drum to sit on? Or will it be ok just on concrete floor?

I expect I'll have more questions as I progress with the build, but thats it for now! 

Antonia

 

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Others will chime in with the specifics of building the base for the kiln, but I can tell you that you should never ever put a kiln directly on concrete. Put down a single layer of cinder block first, and build a floor of soft bricks on top of that. The floor should be 3 layers thick. I assume you'll be lining the drum with fiber blanket?

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You can line the drum with fiber blanket instead, and use a weed burner torch.  That will save a lot of money.  Here is a link to someone who made many kinds of raku kilns this way: http://www.ian-gregory.co.uk/kilns.html

You really don't need fancy burners for it, a raku kiln is never unattended because it's fire in short cycles.

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  • 9 months later...

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