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" Woden" - Wood Fired Kiln - The 27th Firing!

This page records the 27th firing of the Woden kiln scheduled for June 2019. It is an archive of photographs taken before, during and after the firing.

No alterations were made to the kiln before this firing.

A new source of wood fuel was started, a load bought from Adam, mainly timberyard offcuts - shallow D sections cut off trunks with bark on, plus some pallets and odd offcuts.

In discussion with another wood firing potter a tip was passed on (originally from Steve Mills, who used to run Bath Potters Supplies) - when the temperature sticks at about 1100C it may be because the flow of the flames through the kiln chamber has become too turbulent, with small eddies, which slows down the passage of the hot air through the kiln into the chimney. This can be broken by stoking with handfuls of straw, which create a surge in the flow, which disrupts the existing flow and forces a new flow to become established, which hopefully is more laminar and quicker. Think mountain stream getting blocked and then cleared by a flash flood.... Got to be worth trying!


Menu for sections on this Page:-

Making Pots

Loading Pots

Firing Kiln

Unloading Pots


Making Pots -

maggot bowls thrown

A few "maggot bowls" thrown as kiln fillers.

Janine throwing

Janine throwing larger than her usual amount of clay!


New stack of wood, collected from Adam's stash.


More new fuel, awaiting restacking.


Another view of new wood.

Little Bredy Church timbers

Timbers from the Church at Little Bredy, thanks to Simon, who is currently repairing the stone covered roof and leadwork.

The timbers were installed in 1940, during the War and so some were not of best quality, due to resource scarcity. They have large copper nails in them, which will be removed before burning.



Loading Pots

Starting to load

After the first day of loading, no large urns this time, so a slower than usual fill.

The large hand built bowl was made by Merle, one of Bill's longest standing class members.

Bill has made quite a few "mortaria" style bowls and beakers for this firing.

j&j loaded

John & Janine happy after loading their pots.

back almost loaded

The back section almost loaded.

Mainly Bill's bowls and beakers.

back almost loaded

A slightly rearranged back, after larger pots by David and Richard are in position at the top.

Caroline's ovoid coil pots have been stacked in the front bottom righthand side. Some are made of black clay.

Front half loaded

Front section about half loaded.

Bill's class members, including Nikki's offerings.

front two thirds loaded

Front a bit fuller!

Birgit loading

Birgit loading her bowls and jugs.

Steve loading

Steve loading a few bowls, less than usual, due to being out of action with the lurgy.

Front almost loaded

Front almost loaded.

Sarah's bowls and cups. Due to a biscuit kiln firing failure, these have been raw glazed, so fingers crossed!

Richard loading

Richard ceremoniously placing the last pot in the kiln.


Until Carol turned up with a couple of small neolithic earth mother sculptures, that were fitted in after a bit of juggling around near the bottom of the stack.


Front loaded

The final front stacking done.

Have we rather over crowded the number of pots crammed in? Many smaller pots means a denser pack, but hopefully there is enough space left around them for the hot air to flow sufficiently through them.

Now the door is bricked up.

Bricked up

The front all nicely bricked up, ready for lighting.


Firing Kiln -

Just alight

Friday evening, just alight - started off with a propane burner to get the wood burning.

Shady Shandy

A shady shandy!

A very pleasant start to the firing, gentle breeze, warm and sunny.

A quick shandy to relax with.

early morning

Early morning firebox - 0519hrs.

The new timber burnt well, started with the larger chunks overnight, they took about 3/4 hour to burn away, so stoking every hour. Almost too quick a rise in temperature.


A peek into the spy hole at 0648hrs - 665C reading, so just beginning to glow pale red, with a swirl of gentle flames.

nikki stoking

Nikki showing she has not forgotten completely how to stoke the kiln!

birgit with plank

Birgit almost struggling to fit a wide plank into the firebox!

The aim was to get the planks to stand on their edges, so that they burn more efficiently. If laid flat they tend to stiffle the burning and slow things down.


The spy hole at 1448hrs.

About 960C

A bit of reduction, with the flames coming out.

flaming box

The rear fire door was issuing flames more than usual, maybe the breeze was blowing it that way.

The metal sheet is an attempt to block the wind swirling down the side of the kiln from sucking air from the firebox.


J & Loading

John & Janine loading.

Extract from the X-rated video!



1000C at 1525hrs.

A quicker than usual firing.

However the digital thermometer may have been suffering from battery fatigue, it seemed to take a long time to rise! But the cones were thinking of going over when it was only reading 1180C, which was reached by 2000hrs.

There was no particular sticking point, just an upper limit. However we tried throwing paper fish and chip boxes full of dry bay leaves into the fireboxes, they burnt away very soon, but no huge change was noticed in the flow, .

The chips were very nice!


bay leaves bayleaves

We had some bay leaves left from the first attempt, this is Bill throwing in a bundleof the rest in, which then flared up.

That was meant to reset the pathways of the flames in the kiln chamber, to speed things up a bit.

flames at the top

Flames came out of the chimney top, after a full stoking up of the boxes, which seemed to cheer up the crew!

More images might arrive later!



Unloading Pots -


first peek

First peek on Monday morning. Looking good.

Except for a piece of the roof landing on Martin's globe on the right hand side, but he managed to remove it carefully.


The door bricks removed the reveal the glory of the firing!

All the cones had gone over, some very flat.

Glazes looking well matured, except for a couple in the cool bottom corner.

No obvious disasters!

unbricked top

Close up of top section.

unbricked bottom

Close up of bottom section.

back section revealed after front pots removed.

Back section revealed after front pots removed.

And now in no particular order - images of some of the pots.




Steve P's 3 bowls.


Jess's vases, a mix of glazes ran very interestingly.


Simon's platters and bowls


Sarah's cups and soup bowls


Ruth's slightly weird creations!


Nick's 3 mugs


Sarah's cups


Nikki and friends admire her wares.


Gill's bowls


Belinda's test pots, trying wood ash and iron oxide slips


Caroline's sculptures


Steve's ammonite dish


Caroline's black clay coil pots


Caroline's pinched pots, with found clay, ash and feldspar slip glaze.


Hilary's dishes


Pam's raw glazed bowls


Ruth's pots


Petra's bowls


Margaret's bowls


Carol's earth mothers


Debbies' squid.


Emma's summer collection


Debbies' craggy bowls


Helen's Kimmeridge construction


Ruth's leaf


Emma's dishes and bowls.


Caroline's pale pots


Birgit's jugs, one complete with a bit of fallen roof stuck to it! Sorry.


Birgit's bowls, wax resist decoration/.


Ruth's bowls

john janine

John and Janine's pots

bill making tea

Bill making the tea. He knows his place and jobs! Keeping his volunteer's lubricated and fed.

Report and Conclusions

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firing log

The graph of the firing log, this firing is the darkest dots. The readings may be wrong later in the firing as the battery died in the digital thermometer! A very quick quick starting rise, which tailed off a bit. One of the fastest firings ever done in this kiln.

Good results, nice level of reduction and ash speckle on most pots. Not too many breakages.

The Glastonbury weekend vibe was felt, with a few very silly moments and some laid back chilled out times. It was great to have time to cement friendships and make new ones, and have a laugh with each other.

The catering was splendid, with ample foodstuffs and rehydrating liquids.

The firing team is becoming very well trained and did not often forget to stoke the kiln regularly.

Comments are very welcome - email Bill Crumbleholme

This might be a link to the video made of the afternoon's entertainment, but it might not work without the correct permissions etc.


Failing that, watch out for some videos which might appear here in the future!



Thanks to :-



The Landlord for support and encouragement.

Pottery Class members and other potters for help filling the kiln and then firing and unloading it. They know who they are!