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

This page records the ninth firing of the Woden kiln in December 2013. It is an archive of photographs taken before and after the firing (there are none from during the firing!).

No changes had been made structurally to the kiln before this firing.

The firing aimed and managed to achieve a reducing atmosphere, reaching 1260 C average.

Menu for sections on this Page:-

Making Pots

Loading Pots

Firing Kiln

Unloading Pots


Making Pots - Dec 2013


Mortaria, thrown and raw glazed



Jugs, just glazed and ready to dry out. Although these went into the kiln slightly damp due to time pressure.

Loading Pots December 2013

Back of kiln loaded

Back of the kiln loaded.


Laurence after loading the front section of the kiln - looking for the blessings of the ancestors?!

Firing Kiln - December 2013


No pictures were taken during the firing.


Laurence Eastwood was the master stoker, he did the graveyeard shift to keep the preheating going over night. Then he raised the temperature slowly up to about 850C when Bill arrived to help after a day at Bournemouth University.


The weather was damp and mildly unpleasant. Unfortunately the stock pile of wood was small and the pallets that had been stacked ready to break up and use had got rained on, so the rate of increase of temperature was slow, as the moisture had to be burnt off. Attempts to dry the pallets by standing them against the kiln and chimney were effective most of the time.


The rythm of stoking each firebox was even more important than usual. Eventually the cones went over for 1250C and after a clean burn the cooling cycle was started. The stokers left at 6am!


Unloading Pots - December 2013


Front fired

The pots revealed!

Very well reduced to a darker than usual colour.

Cones 8 & 9 bent but not flat, slightly too cold in places, but OK where the items were unglazed or not glazed with a recipe that only matures at the highest temperature = 1265C

top right front fired

The stacking had been fairly uncrowded, so theair flow would have been easier. Not so much fly ash as some firings had landed on the wares.

top front left fired

The drums were nicely done, these had been made at a workshop by novices.

The textured and toasted surfaces are very attractive.

the good and the bad

The good and the bad!

The beaker was one of a set that had been glazed with Cornish Stone, Whiting and red iron oxide, on a biscuited pot. Previously fired in Bill's old electric kiln, they had been a bit plummy, sort of drab and lacking any sparkle. So the wood firing has raised them to a new level, with a great gunmetal shine that really picks out the comb impressions.

The mortaria bowl below was one of three that had exploded in the firing. Note to self :- make sure pots are properly dry before loading! Also these are fairly thick based to replicate the original Roman versions.

Several of the other mortaria were very good and some were a bit too matt finished with the light oatmeal glaze really needing a good high soak.

back fired

The back of the kiln looked good.

The drums dominated the top shelves and picked up some good textures.

Several small rice bowls were sucessful.

back left fired

Bill's class students should be pleased with their efforts, the ash creates a very pleasing mottled appearance on the lighter coloured glazes and the Cornish stone and red iron glaze has worked very well, with a rich shine.

Bernies drum fired

Bernie's drum, beautifully dark reduced colour and it also has a great sound thanks to the tall neck.

Report and Conclusions

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Not a bad firing all things considered.

Using damp fuel is a very silly thing to do as it takes a lot more energy to dry it out and so the temperature rise per piece is much lower than dry wood. Therefore we must prepare more in advance and make sure it stays dry.

The drums were a great sucess and Bill's bowls were mainly very acceptable.

Laurence masterminded most of the firing and was awake for 24 hours at a stretch. He was rewarded with a couple of very good teapots and matching mugs. His bowls were a bit rushed, but are good peasant pottery! He will hopefully not use his "slops" glaze again - the mixture of several types of glaze from the bottoms of buckets - always a risk but this time not one that paid off!

Comments are very welcome - email Bill Crumbleholme


Thanks to :-

Laurence Eastwood for his inputs and outputs!

Peter Woodward for his help and encouragement.

The Landlord and family for the tea and sympathy!