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

This page records the 25th firing of the Woden kiln in November 2018. It is an archive of photographs taken before, during and after the firing.

No alterations were made to the kiln before this firing.


Menu for sections on this Page:-

Making Pots

Loading Pots

Firing Kiln

Unloading Pots


Making Pots

Damp Mortaria

A batch of Bill's mortaria bowls, just thrown.

urns and mortaria

Urns (upsidedown!) and mortaria, now with light oatmeal glaze applied raw to the insides.

Damp Bowls

Thrown and turned bowls, in the style of Iron Age Black Burnished Ware.

Damp Roman beakers

A new line for Bill! Still beakers, but these are in the style of Roman beakers, with thumbed indents. Drying out upsidedown, until ready for turning and glazing.

Sea Shells

Cockle shells, stuffed with clay, for use as supports in the kiln, to stop the pots sticking to the shelves, when the woodash reacts with the foot of the pots.

Not at all "Alive Oh!" in a Molly Malone way. We need hundreds of these (3 per pot) - some are larger sizes as well, up to oyster.

drying pots

Bill's pots drying.

drying pots

Bill's pots drying.

From the other direction!

Mortaria bowls, Black Burnished Ware type bowls, flower pots and cremation urns.

Loading Pots

Back half loaded

After first day of loading - half the back section loaded.

urns at back

Close up of back bottom section, urns and a bust from Susan Hughes.


Richard and Martin talking glazing.

Back loaded

Back section all loaded.

Top back left loaded

Top back left close up, Anna's two headed urn and David's lugged vases.

front half loaded

Front half loaded.

Using more heavy shelves on right hand side and middle with thinner shelves.

front half loaded

Close up of front bottom half.

More urns and bowls!

Steve loading

Steve helping with the last day of loading - filling in the gaps with small "death masks" and suchlike.

Nikki stuffing shells

Nikki hard at work stuffing sea shells for supports.

Bill loading

Bill finishing off the loading.

Front loaded

The front finally loaded up.

Sadly some folk's pots did not all fit in, as there was a bigger demand than usual. Steve was a great help kindly explaining to late comers that we'd run out of room. Big apologies for those who were hoping for loads of suitable festive presents to sell or give away to poor unsuspecting relations.

Top front loaded

Close up of top section of front.


Front bottom close up

Close up of lower section of front.

Nikki's bowl

Nikki's bowl, which just made the cut! Sitting like a crown at the top of the pile.

Firing Kiln -

Log burning

An overnight log burning, these took about an hour to burn away, being unseasoned, but surrounded by some pallet wood to keep some flames going.

The temperature was held down below 120C from lighting in mid afternoon until mid evening, to allow the pots and kiln to dry out.


Morning has broken. After a damp and stormy night.


timbers burning

Logs were burnt overnight, then these timber props about 2" square and pallet strips were burnt in the morning, bringing the temperature up from 400C to 900C by early afternoon.

Smoking away

The afternoon saw the kiln gently smoking away, temperature rising to 1100 by tea time.

The kiln seemed to be burning differently - the wind was variable but more from north than the usual south west. It drizzled...

The lower firebox doors were left open more of the time in the evening and night, to encourage more air to get to the burning fuel.

It seemed to take forever to get from 1100C to 1150C at midnight.

The spyhole brick was left out for most of the time after 10pm as this seemed to encourage the wood to burn better and increase the temperature.

Good night

By 2am the stokers were wondering if the temperature would ever reach high enough.



Sparks and flames were flying from the chimney, which showed it was warm enough!

Top flames

For most of the firing the kiln chamber was in negative pressure, indicating the chimney was pulling air through. When new fuel was put in the immediate burst of gasses released produced a positive pressure and so flames came out of some of the gaps in the brickwork.

The joint between the door bricks and the arch had been filled with ceramic paper, which seemed to provide a better seal.


Shut up

Not wishing to break the record for the latest firing by too long a period, with the cone 8 just bending at 1280C and the digital reading at 1200C (out of calibration - so actual temperature about 1270), we called it a day!

The kiln was crash cooled to 1130C to stop the glazes forming crystals, which leads to milkyness. The doors were closed and the bottom gap bricked up and the chimney dampoer pushed across.


Other potters' images.

watching the spyhole

Watching the spyhole, willing the cones to bend!

Trainee Nunneys

Trainee stokers - The Nunneys.


Janine gets some tuition about stoking, not a bad action for a novice!


John using his pizza cooking skills!?


Mark looking for a popular beat to follow?

A sadly unappreciated talent for hitting things in a mildly musical way, sadder that other folk did not join in.



Neil the Heritic. Steve's offering - a "death mask" quickly knocked up to guard the kiln and help to bring good karma to the firing. It didn't work!

Damp watchers

Damp watchers!

Steve with face

Steve with Neil

Spyhole flames

The open spyhole spouting flames, the extra outlet seemed to make the fire burn better, with the temperature increasing while the brick was removed.



Unloading Pots -


First Peek

The first peek inside the kiln, with the bricks of the door being taken away to reveal a well cooked and seasoned firing chamber.

Deep Peek

A deeper peek in across the top of the chamber.

A few sections of the arch bricks faces are beginning to fall down, where the ash has reacted with the brick and formed a crusty coating, which eventually peels away and falls off. Note to self - hit these bricks to check them before reloading and remove loose bits!

Top fired

Nikki's best bowl so far, nicely reduced and toasted, with a gentle speckling on the internal glaze.

Bill at tea break

Bill and friend having a tea break.

Front fired

The front revealed with all the door bricks removed.

Good overall reduction and temperature - most cones bent enough to indicate a high enough temperature.

The lower section was hotter than some times, with no pots underfired and Bill's large urns nicely toasted.

Bottom front fired

Close up of the lower front section.

Peek at the back

A peek through at the back section.



Bottom back fired

The lower back section.


Still unloading gifts from the kiln.

Bill with urn


Helen's Sculpture

Cone watcher

David's kiln god watching the cones, these were the ones seen through the spyhole.

The Cone 8 has started to bend - about 1260C. The 9 is still standing to attention!


Caroline's willow, encrusted with paper clay slip. Very fragile, but all in one piece.


Steve's tiles, pressed with bladder rack seaweed and glazed with blue with the high points bare of glaze.


Steve's bird bath/trap. Nice attempt at wax resist using stencil to draw outline. Great fleck on the glaze because of the ash.


A pair of Birgit's dishes, ferns engraved then waxed before glazing.


Birgit's bowl, wax resist pattern.


Caroline's trio of vases, coiled and pinched to join coils and form texture.


Helen's sculptures, clay pressed into rock ledges at Kimmeridge Bay, wrapped and joined, biscuited and then dipped in the sea to add salt.


Inside of Steve's bird pot.


Steve's death mask heads.


Another of Birgit's fern dishes.


Steve's Apple bowl.


Nicely trickled glaze on inside of unknown potter's bowl.


Larger death masks in series by Steve.

Earth Godesses

Mark's Earth Godesses

Earth Godess

Close up of one Mother!




David's lidded pot lid.


Steve's Jugs


David's jars.

One had copper wire wrapped around it, which melted too much and ran off on to the shelf and down the kiln into other pots.


Caroline's willow sections, covered with paper clay slip. Not quite strong enough when the willow had burn away, but texturally very interesting.


Bill looking fairly happy!


Sarah Gee's collection.

The image has not captured the subtle speckle on the pale glazes.

Jennie class

Pots by Jennie and her class.


Anna's magnificent two headed beast.




The whole cat.


Bill's tankard.


David with his jar.


David's jar with a more rural backdrop!


Birgit knocking loose bits off the bottom of a shelf. These will need replacing soon.


Steve's apple bowl.




Sharon's garden bug house.

Report and Conclusions

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A long slow firing! Weather unkind, unpredicatable and changeable.

A fairly tight packing of smallish pots, which might have prevented the flames and heat from circulating round the chamber and then escaping into the chimney easily.

However a good firing overall, well reduced and toasted finishes, perhaps not quite enough ash speckle on the central pots.

A very keen and stoical crew for the firing, well behaved and hard working. Some very pleasant moments of friendship....

Comments are very welcome - email Bill Crumbleholme

Firing log

This is the graph of the firing log, superimposed on top of previous logs - it shows the slower initial pre-heating and the stalling flat lines where the temperature stuck.

Thanks to :-

Buildrite for the pallets.

Simon for the use of the lorry.


The Landlord for support and encouragement.

Pottery Class members (Bill's and Jennie's) and other potters for help filling the kiln and then firing and unloading it, especially (in no particular order) .....
Steve (early shift),
David & John Mid and into Very Late Shift),
Nikki (Shifty and cake provider),
Richard (Late Shift and Mobile fishmonger),
Sarah K & Birgit (early loading),
Sarah G (Late Shift),
Sharon, Adron, Simon & Ali, (potters)
John & Janine (trainees).