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" Woden" - Wood Fired Kiln - The Seventh Firing!

This page records the seventh firing of the Woden kiln in August 2013. It is an archive of photographs taken during and after the firing.

The kiln had no alterations done since the last firing.

This firing is the first one full of earthenware vessels - aiming for 900C max temperature (although parts reached just over 1000C), with pots made for the Hengistbury Head Pottery Project - see details at this link. Some of those are made with blends of clay that include tempers such as sea-shell and ground up flint - which will not behave well if fired above 900C.

Menu for sections on this Page:-

Making Pots

Loading Pots

Firing Kiln

Unloading Pots


Making Pots - June - July 2013

Trevisker Urn Replica

This is a replica of a Trevisker Urn, made for the Hengistbury Project, with the aid of Peter Woodward.

Bill making at Urn at Corfe Castle


This is Bill demonstrating making an Urn during the Ancient Wessex Network's appearance at Corfe Castle.

Loading Pots August 2013



Back of kiln loaded

The back of the kiln loaded with the collection of urns and bowls.

The necked globular urns with holes in the side are drums, made at Corfe Castle. They are inspired by those made by Laurence Eastwood in the style of the African Udu Drum.

Front of kiln loaded

The kiln almost finished loading, with more urns and some guest sculptures.

Firing Kiln - August 2013

Slow Heating

This is the slow heat early in the morning.

No overnight preheat this firing, as it needed to be kept an eye on and aimed to only take about 12 hours.

Sunny Afternoon

By early afternoon, after a damp drizzly start, the sun came out.

The temperature crept up slowly, about 4 hours is usually enough to thoroughly dry out the wares before heading up beyond a couple of hundred degrees.

Some disturbing sounds came from the kiln a couple of times - the larger sculptural guest pieces were suspected of being too solid.

Cone view

This is a shot of the pyrometric cone through the spyhole - still upright at mid afternoon.

Unfortunately the digital thermometer has disappeared. It may have been stolen from the store cupboard in the village hall studio, together with a few other tools and the flood lights. So this firing was done without the aid of a digital readout to see the rate of increase.


The flames in the fireboxes gradually get more intense and the temperature rises as a bed of embers builds up beneath the bars where the timber is placed.

The fuel used was a mixture of elm logs and the chunky blocks from pallets, which were being taken apart during the day. The long lengths were stacked away for a future high temperature firing.


An attempt was made to keep the fireboxes burning with a minimum of fuel at any one time, restoking with just a few pieces at a time, using one fairly large log to hold some heat.

That seemed to work well, and the temperature crept up fast enough without using too much timber.

The passive dampers at the bottom of the chimney were unblocked for an hour and the lower firebox doors were left ajar, to see if the fuel burnt any differently - not a lot of change was noted, but without a digital readout of temperature the effectiveness is hard to check.


After each stoking a plume of smoke came through the kiln and out of the chimney.

The 1000C cone started to bend at about 6pm, slightly earlier than expected and went over an hour later after some clean burning.

Then the fireboxes were closed up and the chimney cut off using the sliding shelf across the tunnel.

Left to cool slowly.....

Unloading Pots - 7th August 2013


Opened Kiln

The kiln opened ready to unpack.

Looking reasonable, but with some bad news!

The upper front - the urns are great.

The head looks OK from here, but has a spall off the other side.

Bottom Front

The lower section of the front.

Two pale stoneware sculptures, which although solid survived the firing.

Top Back right

Peter Woodward's Urn with one of the wasters!

The waster was made of locally dug clay, which collapsed under the weight of another urn stacked on top of it (See image above during loading).

Most of the bad news was to do with that clay, which fired OK up to about 900C, which the cooler parts of the kiln reached, but higher than that and it starts to bloat and distort.

Top Back left

The back left hand side was OK. The large Trevisker style urn in the middle did well.

Flat Pot

Peter Woodward's test tile flat pot - he was practicing the textures using various tools - flints and sawn through bird bones worked well.

These could be a good seller and so much easier to make than 3D vessels!

Front Base

A view fron the top!

All Unloaded

Laurence taking a rest after helping unloading all the pots.

Quite a good rate of success - the broken ones are hidden!

Large urns

The larger urns behaved well, picking up some dark patches, but mainly oxidised.

Trevisker Urn

A few light streaks on the large urn, maybe handled in the studio with hands contaminated with stoneware clay dust?

Hopefully a scrub will help that.

Medium urns

Medium sized urns.

Some odd colours from local clays. Some lovely tonal ranges!

Broken Wasters

The reject pile of wasters.

The middle urn was too close to where the flames came into the chamber and got too hot too quickly.

The front bowl and right side back bowls were locally dug clay overheated - bloated, spalled and distorted. (That's why we normally pay other people to prepare our clay!


This is a badly bloated bowl that also spalled - a piece blowing off the base. Sorry Peter!

Workshop Pots

These are some of the pots made at the workshops at Hengistbury Head, all looking great.

Report and Conclusions

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A good firing, reaching just over 1000C in places and over 900C everywhere.

Some 800C cones that were used had melted completely - some chipping off shelves now needed!

A sigh of relief that the pots for Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre have come out well.

Shame about the wasters, but locally clay can do that.

Now waiting for the shell tempered vessels to start breaking apart!

It was certainly easier to fire to earthenware temperature than stoneware, but the joy of glazing and ash effects was greatly missed.

Comments are very welcome - email Bill Crumbleholme


Thanks to :-

Peter Woodward for his help making and loading the pots.

Laurence for helping to unload them - it seemed strange not to have some of his pots in the firing.