Wood fired pottery embodies a spirit that I have not found anywhere else and I decided I had to build a wood kiln of my own.
Working with two friends Preston Tolbert, and Justin Nash, we built this kiln. Here is a photo journal of the process, hope you enjoy!
Before I could build the kiln I had to level the land “by hand” and than build the shed.
I made a pad for the kiln out of cinder blocks and buried it down in hard dirt on a thin bed of high pressure mortar.
Next we had to build a 75′ slide to shoot all the bricks down the hill and put them on pallets in the shed. Then we leveled the first two courses of the floor.
We used a diamond blade on an angle grinder to do all of our cuts.
We made the chimney flue only on the bottom to create a downdraft in the back of the kiln and spaced them
wider on the sides and narrower in the middle. We also put 3 passive dampers in the back.
We set 3 Pyrometer cases at different heights and depths of the kiln by grinding out channels in the bricks as we laid them.
Rather than have them get broken we pulled them out and slide them in for the firing.
We had to weld a metal frame around it so the arch would not push out the walls.
Luckily my next door neighbor had heavy duty wire and a welder we could have on site and run to my electrical box.
After we had a metal frame ready we made a form to support the arch until all the bricks were laid.
We just put together the arch brick and traced the form onto a piece of 2×6.
We tested out the arch to make sure it fit well before we finished welding the frame around it.
My neighbor just happened to have 4 old turn buckles that we used so we could adjust the tension.
Once welded up we cut our arch bricks for a stager then laid them all in. Next we removed to form and built a little fire for fun!
We still had a lot of clean up and grinding to do. We welded a platform for the damper to sit on and
tightened the bricks above the damper with a frame and threaded rod so it would not sag.
Above the arch we added a few inches of fiber blanket and 2-3″ of lightweight casteable refractory cement.
Here are Preston Tolbert, and Myself standing next to the new kiln. The two of us along with Justin Nash worked for about 5 days total on the building process,
although about half the time was thinking through things. We laid out and numbered the bricks for the door, and were ready to fire.
An additional 2-3 inches of insulating mortar were added to the top before the first firing.
HERE ARE A FEW SHOTS OF THE FIRST FIRING
Look under Wood fired pots link to see some of the results!