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" Woden" - Wood Fired Kiln - The 28th Firing!

This page records the 28th firing of the Woden kiln in November 2019. 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 -

Lottie throwing

Lottie throwing in her dad's studio.

Urns in barrow

Some of Bill's cremation urns from previous firings, on display in the local barrow.

See www.theroundbarrow.co.uk

for more information about the project.

thrown urns

A batch of Bill's urns, just thrown and decorated with impressed rope around the shoulders.

Thrown urns

Another view of those urns.

Stuffed queens

Clay stuffed queen scallops, ready for putting under the mid sized pots - to stop the ash sticking them to the shelves.

Steve's heads

Steve's head sculptures, about to be electrically biscuit fired, but looking like something out of a Sci-Fi movie!

Loading Pots

Steve glazing

Steve applying glaze to a few last minute pots.

Richard loading

Richard loading pots?

Steve loading

Steve loading pots.

Bill loading

Bill loading.

Well, actually he just posing with one of his larger pots!

Steve with face

Steve posing with one of his death mask faces.

Back of kiln loaded

Back of kiln loaded.

Not bad going for two half day's work. Well done team.

weird shelf

The weird shelf!

Sculptural pieces by Caroline, Debbie and others.

Nikki with jugs

Nikki loading her jugs!

Almost loaded

Almost loaded. Tea break!

Firing mascot owl

The firing mascot - Nikki's owl.


Steve on Guard

Steve on guard.



Just managed to get all of Sarah's and Nick's in the top middle section and Bill's large vases at the top sides.

Not too many pots left out, just Bill's usual last minute panic batch, that were not really needed!


Steve, Bill and Martin. They was framed!

Steve framed

Steve framed.

The loading crew

The loading crew.


Ready to fire

All bricked up and covered with the plastic sheet, ready for the predicted rain storm, which started seconds after this was taken!

Now two days resting, before lighting the preheat on Friday late afternoon.

Firing Kiln -

Just alight

Early morning steaming, after a night of preheating.


8am and all is well as the sun rises.

mid morning cones

The spyhole cones at mid morning. Flames rising up in the far corner.


The firebox gently glowing!?

The Hawkins

The Hawkinses.

The midday crew

The midday firing crew.





glowing embers

Glowing embers in the firebox.

Too many embers and the oxygen is starved for the new wood fuel burning above this.

Too few embers and there is not enough heat energy to combust those timbers above.




chimney base

A view through the passive damper brick hole, at the bottom of the chimney. Looking into the tunnel coming from the main firing chamber.

The flames lick this far and eventually right up the chimney.

Flames mean the fuel has not burnt completely, which is inefficient use of the fuel, but means there has been some reduction in the chamber, which enhances the appearance of the pots.

Afternoon tea

Afternoon tea and cake.

Early evening

Early evening.

Flames already coming out of the top of the chimney.


Chimney sparks will fly!

The late crew

The late crew, Martin and Richard.


4am Sunday morning...

At last over 1200C reading, about 1260C actual.



Ending cones

The cones at 4am 1200C reading, the end of the firing.

Cone 8 just starting to bend (Although trainee cone setter, Steve, had lent this one over a bit too far to start within its clay base!)

Cones 9 and 10 behind, still upright...

Nice bright colour.

Unloading Pots


1st view

The first view of the fired pots on removal of the brick door.

Bill's large vase, fired on its side, warped and cracked!

top middle

The middle at the top of the chamber looks OK.

A slightly bent cone 8, showing the correct temperature had been reached.

top right

Top right view, nice shiney white glaze, with speckle.

Lump of roof brick fallen onto Bill's other large vase. (It came off very easily and left no scar!)

The damage

The damage!

Base of Bill's vase broken off by the distortion - landed on Emmas's dish, not too much damage there! And "kissed" Nikki's favourite jug handle, which later came away with only a little scar

Upper middle

Upper middle section of front.

whole front

Whole of front revealed.

Looking good!

Cones 8 & 9 generally gone over. 10 still straight upright (a good thing!)

Nicely toasted urns at base of chamber.

Upper front

Upper section of front.

lower front

Lower section of front.

Bill unloading

Bill unloading.

back fired

Back section of the chamber revealed.

Nice and brown!


Some of Nick's small bowls thrown off the hump, various glaze combinations.

ash glaze

In centre of image, Bill's ash glaze test, still not maturing.

Bill's dribbles

Bill's two large dribbled vases.

You almost could not tell one does not have a base!


Sarah's functional cups and bowls. They are feintly speckled.



Nikki sorting

Nikki busy sorting and photographing her wares. By now she had stopped doing her happy bunny act and had cooled down!


Nikki's wares.



Nikki's butter/cheese dish.


Are you sitting comfortably, then I'll begin....

Here is Ben, I wonder where the hell Bill has got too?!



Steve with head

Steve happy with his head.


Class pots


More class pots

Bill's 65

Some of Bill's 65 birthday bowls.


Bill's cracked mortarium.

Stuff happens!

Bill's bowls

Most were OK.


More class pots


More of Nick's pots


Debbie's ammonites.


Caroline's porcelain slip glazed forms.


Caroline's black clay forms

Bill's urns

Bill's urns.

A nice selection of tones.


Bill's smaller bowls

bown bowls

At last, some brown bowls by Bill!


Bill's dribbled vase.

Looks Ok in the sun!


All gone!







Report and Conclusions

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Not a bad firing!

Most potters very happy with results. Good reduction and ash speckling.

Not too many broken pots, only a few underfired.

A happy social event, with a good outcome for everyone in the team.

We still need to work on the effort to minimise the firing time and fuel used to get from 1100C to final temperature.

firing log 28

The firing log, this firing is the darkest squares. Note the early reaching of 1000C, then slump for hours!

Note all temperatures are as recorded by the digital thermometer from the thermocouple at the top of the chamber. It is out of calibration and we cannot work out if there is a way of changing that, but it means that a reading of 1200C is actually equivalent to about 1260C (when the Cone 8 goes over in the middle of the chamber, as seen through the spyhole).

All went well after overnight preheating. A quick rise to 1100, then change in stoking resulted in decline which took ages to get over. Final rise achieved to 1200C by 4am.

The naughty stoking was by David following his recent experience with firing an anagama kiln, which fires with a large firebox. He stuffed one of the fireboxes very full of timber, that burnt down and he did it again. It left a mass of embers which clogged up the air flow through the firebox and stiffled the efficiency of the burning, so the temperature dropped from 1100C down to 1050C and took a long time to burn away and enable the "normal" stoking to take over.

There was also a problem with the firing crew not being whipped into following a systematic stoking regime. Various random stoking methods were undertaken, with some gaps during the fish and chip supper! Chief stoker and master potter, Bill, was too relaxed! However he paid for that by having to stay until 5am to finish off the firing, with a gentle increase to 1200C (reading) with the cone 8, just beginning to bend over.

However all the stoking team deserve a certificate for their efforts and attempts to make things happen!

Comments are very welcome - email Bill Crumbleholme


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. Their rewards were tangible pottery results as well as a fairly pleasant social time.

Thanks to the Met Office (and maybe our ancestors?!) for arranging good weather for the loading and firing, during a period of heavy rain and wind.