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Hello everybody,

I have been asked to make 2+ 25 gal terracotta pots for wine fermentation by the end of August.  I have been researching Qvevri and other vessels, but actual detailed information has been hard to find.  I have a terracotta clay I thinks should work, and an electric kiln I believe I can fit the pots into.  I plan to fire at a cone 06, the walls will be about 1.25" thick.  I plan to build them using coils.  My main concern is, if I manage to build appropriate vessels, how can I dry them in time for firing.  If anyone has any advice or information for any of this project, I would be very grateful.  Thanks to everyone for their wisdom and willingness to share.

Sincerely,

 

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This is the kind of thing where you better make 4 of them to get two.  Get them made soon and dry on a surface thats air can get under -like expanded metal or heavy screen.

I say 4 so two can crack or flaw-now thats its an order the likelyhood is about 100% trouble is on the way.

My shop has some metal shelves from a drug store that are full of holes and stuff drys well.

Make the piece and cover and slow dry for a matter of days then slowly let dry-after a week get it as warm as you can

Not sure where you live(not listed in Name) so if its in Alaska or tip of South America then haeting would be the ticket

If you live in a humid climate than you will need some drying boost .If you live in Middle Australia then dry is easy-0 hey maybe you are in the south and its super humid ?

If you live in Upstate NY then maybe a dehumidifier would help?

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Thank you for your quick response.  I absolutely agree at least four to hope for two.  I live in north central Texas and it is pretty humid.  It seems air conditioned air dries better because it is dehumidified, maybe I could run the heater and the air conditioner as a dehumidifier.  I enjoy a challenge, but mostly if I succeed.  This is a real worry. 

Thanks,  Nancy

 

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How does the wine stay in? Does the terra cotta eventually get clogged with wine?  Is it lined with bentonite? Inquiring minds need to know.  I've heard of onggi that are water tight but allow gas exchange, but haven't heard of water tight terra cotta.

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12 hours ago, neilestrick said:

What will the dimensions be? 1.25 inches is really thick, even for a big vessel. I would think you could go half that thick and still be plenty strong.

We have calculated for it to hold 25 gal and fit into my kiln, it will be 27" tall and 22" at the bilge or widest part.  1.25" is really thick and would make it heavy.  I don't know if it is necessary for a vessel this small.  In the articles they mention some oxygen exchange through the terracotta and I don't know how the thickness of the pot would affect this.  Some modern versions appear to be fired at a higher temp and I think that would  affect any O2 exchange.

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9 hours ago, liambesaw said:

How does the wine stay in? Does the terra cotta eventually get clogged with wine?  Is it lined with bentonite? Inquiring minds need to know.  I've heard of onggi that are water tight but allow gas exchange, but haven't heard of water tight terra cotta.

They are traditionally lined with beeswax.   Sealed with a stone on the top .  The really large ones are buried in the ground.  This technology for wine making is 7-8,000 years old, originating in Georgia.  Some can hold up to 8,000+ Liters and can easily accommodate a grown man for cleaning!  Check out a potter/winemaker in Oregon named Andrew Beckham.

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Ok I checked his Amphorae -like the greek pots. All terra-cotta

High school teacher-wine maker-potter got it

Back to drying-yes on the dehumidified air for drying-slow slow-slow firing.

let us know how this turns out-a photo or two would be nice.

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19 minutes ago, Mark C. said:

Ok I checked his Amphorae -like the greek pots. All terra-cotta

High school teacher-wine maker-potter got it

Back to drying-yes on the dehumidified air for drying-slow slow-slow firing.

let us know how this turns out-a photo or two would be nice.

Yes, and of course I will send pics as soon as I master transferring pics to computer. The last thing she said to me before I left to buy clay was: "I'm so excited, your going to make my dreams come true".  Lets see how I do.  I know this will need many different trials to find the best way to make the pots.  I just hope to not be the ruin of her harvest for this year. 

N

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A few years ago I made a large bubbler fountain that was in two pieces and each half barely fit in my kiln.   I took all the rings off the kiln,  placed the pot on a shelf on the bottom and then put the kilns back together.   I did this four times because I bisque and glazed them,   I believe it took about a month to dry and it was a little over a inch thick.    I live in Kansas and it is humid and dry,  my studio is air conditioned that probably helped.      Denice

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It's not so large a vessel that it needs to be super thick. It shouldn't need to be more than 1/2-3/4" thick, and you'll have a lot easier time moving it to the kiln if it's thinner. I would build it directly on a kiln shelf, and do the unstacking method to put it in the kiln. Just remember to make it short enough to accommodate the shelf.

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