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How to make wood ash


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Guest JBaymore

Oh god...... I just want to simply post "Burn Wood!" here and leave it at that. B);) Sorry.... warped sense of humor.




If you are doing much glazing, you'll go thru a lot of wood ash.


You can get a good supply of wood ash from places that do "wood fired pizza" and other such establishments. Often as a single species at some places. Offer to replace their metal garbage cans every so often for the supply of free ash. It might smell a bit of food stuff.... but it will work fine.


Find someone who heats their house with wood. Give then a metal garbage can to store the ash, and come back to "clean" it perioduically for them.


If you are going to burn specific woods specifically for generating ash (done by many potters in Japan and also commercial ash makers there), then you'll need to build a small "fireplace" that is made of bricks (red brick will do for this use) and spend a LOT of time just watching wood burn and tending the fire. All you need to do is make sure that you can contain the ash for later collecting. In fact some people simply prepare a flat place on the ground (clay-y soil surface is best) and then pile up wood and touch it off. When it has all burned down, gather the ash being careful to not scrape up too much of the surface dirt.


Also do a web video search for "Ryoji Koie" and "leaf burner". Some of the aspects of that idea could be adapted to smaller pieces of wood.





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Burning wood just to make ash is a huge waste of time and wood. There are countless sources, such as every house in your neighborhood that has a fireplace. I used to use ash from my charcoal grill, but be aware that if you burn briquets, they have a small amount of clay in them so the ash is slightly less effective. It's still works, though. As with any recipe you'll have to test and adjust with any kind of ash.


Some people wash the ash before use, some don't. I always washed mine since I sprayed my glazes and didn't want that caustic material in the air and on my skin.


You can also reformulate your glaze with substitute materials for the ash. I'm lazy now so that's what I do.

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Actually after burning wood, the fine powder gray ash should be sifted (wearing a good respirator).

Some people wash their ash. I don't , but I sift it well.



I found a friend of mine, who turns wooden bowls and burns the waste. I have an almost unlimited supply from him.


I build a nifty sifter out of 2 2 gallon plastic pails stuck one inside the other. I cut a large hole in the bottom of the top one and plastic welded some 100 mesh screen over the whole in the bottom. I stuck the two of them on my wheel, locked in my Giffen Gripper. I also built an arm, attached to a nearby shelf, that holds a stationary plastic paddle in the top bucket to stir the ash over the screen.


The thing works great. I just dump some ash in the top bucket, let it turn for a while, then empty clumps out of the top bucket and the sifted ash out of the bottom one... repeat.

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