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" Woden" - Wood Fired Kiln - The 31st Firing!

This page records the 31st firing of the Woden kiln in August 2021. It is an archive of photographs taken before, during and after the firing.

No significant changes were made to the kiln structure. The tunnel from firing chamber to bottom of chimney was rebuilt (again - after an arguement with it while trying to insert the closing kiln shelf at the end of the last firing). The corrugated iron roof could still do with replacement.....

The loading started on Monday 2nd August and was topped out by Lottie on Monday 16th August.

 A charge is negoatiated for pots being fired, roughly based on 5/kg for small quantities, but bulk deals are available, especially if the potter breaks some pallets or saws some timber up!

The preheating started early evening on Tuesday 17th, with Nix learning the ropes and enjoying the very slow pace of stoking. Bill tended the firing overnight from his base in his yurt, he stoked every hour until 3am, then sat with the kiln and stoked every 15 minutes until 7.30am, when Nix took over and he went to sleep again for a while. Birgit joined for the morning & afternoon shift and an assortment of folk wandered about, mainly eating cake and drinking tea, followed by fish & chips! The pyromaniacs turn up for the night-shift - Sarah, Richard & Nick. Laurence swanned about a bit and then helped after midnight. The cone 8 went over about 3.30am. We finished and blocked up at 4.30am Thursday morning, after a struggle with the revised tunnel sliding kiln shelf damper?!

There is a Facebook Event for this firing at this link :- https://fb.me/e/3EC9B9jGd  please feel free to engage with that bit of social media.

Menu for sections on this Page:-

Making Pots

Loading Pots

Firing Kiln

Unloading Pots



Making Pots -

Bill throwing in yurt Bill throwing. Captured photogenically by Steve Pallant.
Mortaria factory Bill's yurt after a couple of days throwing mortaria style bowls.
mortaria drying Mortaria drying upside down
mortaria Mortaria stiffening up after throwing.
mortaria A few more mortaria..
mortaria turned Mortaria after the feet have been turned.

They are then dried a bit more then the light oatmeal glaze is applied to the insides.
Caroline Sharp vessels 2 of Caroline Sharp's 4 sculptural vessels. Larger than previous versions of this type!
Coiled and pinched, leaving the trail of finger pinch marks which stuck the coils together.

Loading Pots

Quarter loaded About a quarter loaded.
2 of Caroline's vessels down in the corner out of sight.
A collection of Steve Pallant's head sculptures and vessels. Heavily impressed with an assortment of materials, sea kelp seaweed leaves a mottled surface when pushed into the soft clay, that picks up the effects of the ash and reduction with differing thicknesses of glaze.
The heads are artistic statements about the human condition, often embossed with textures and a hidden message inside.
Half filled Half filled after the second day of loading.
several of Bill's "mortaria" lipped bowls and his beakers.
Nick Jackson's bowls and mugs.
Nix Hawkin's large platters.
Nix loading Nix half way through loading her pots.
After Nix finished loading hers After Nix had finished load her pots. 
Belinda loading Belinda loading some glaze test bowls. She also is responsible for the large spotty hand-built pot that appears on the right hand top.
Bill inspecting the end of the day's loading. Almost finished loading now, Sarah's now in, with Birgit's and Richard's.
There are a couple of pieces just shoved in the kiln out of the way before going home, which may or may not make the final pack. Just a couple more potters' to squeeze in, then perhaps a few more of Bill's to top it up!?
Almost fully loaded Almost fully loaded.
Jess's pots and heads.
Linda's kiln godess duck looking down on the rest of the kiln.
Dale's mugs.
The last of Nix's medium bowls.
A few of Bill's ice-cream bowls and mugs.
Space left for Lottie's last minute packing of mugs and cups, with a few of her father's pieces to fill any gaps at the top.
loaded Fully loaded, with a few of Pam's and Lottie's mugs, topped off with Steve's head on its side and a couple of Bill's larger mortaria.
bricked up The chamber door all bricked up, with spyhole door brick and thermocouple pockets inserted. Ceramic fibre was used to pad the gap at the top between the door bricks and the arch roof behind. The some more fibre was wrapped in aluminium foil and placed along the top, weighted down with bricks to further seal the join. That cut down the flames leaking from that area, but something similar is needed on the back join at the top, where the flames came out even more than usual.

Firing Kiln -

Nix contemplating Nix at 8am, inspecting and contemplating.
digital lie The digital thermometer and thermocouples were misbehaving. The lower t/c was mis-reading, by 8.45am it was reading over 1000C - clearly wrong, although Richard was sent this image to see if he would believe we were that ahead of schedule!?
Nix had already failed the spot test of setting up the system, by getting a plug upside down, which gave a reading of minus 190C at the top.
The final digital reading was 1175C after the cone 8 had gone over, so 90C out of calibration.
The read team The Ladies Red Stoking Team, who looked after the kiln stoking for the morning and afternoon.
They raised the temperature from Bill's overnight  achievement of 700C to 1000C by 2pm, then it stuck at about 1070C until 5pm.
ageing hippies Meanwhile the ageing hippies looked on....
eating cake ... and ate cake!
Birgit stoking Birgit carried on stoking.
This firebox was flaming a lot around the edges when stoked, probably the slight breeze was blowing back.
Steve stoking Steve was allowed to do some stoking, mainly so we had someone to blame for the lack of temperature rise!
He also acted as tour guide for visiting potters.
top flame A close up of the flame coming out of the top of the kiln at the back.
This flame indicated stoking had just happened, when it died down more stoking was allowed.
It is caused by a positive pressure within the chamber, as the wood burns it produces a cloud of vapour, which increases the pressure. The chimney is not pulling enough to suck all of that away quickly.
tunnel glow Bill's rebuilding of the tunnel from the kiln chamber to the bottom of the chimney was not a great success! The gaps between the bricks - as seen by the glow from withing escaping - allowed air into the tunnel, which cut down the pull of the hot air rising up the chimney.
It was also very hard to get the vertical kiln shelf to slide across it at the end of the firing, to block it off and slow the cooling effect.
Sarah a late stoker Sarah stoking late into the night, hot work with the firebox glowing amost white hot.
At this stage thin wood does not turn to charcoal, but burns straight into a vapour, which takes some power, but releases the energy very quickly as that vapour burns.

Unloading Pots

top peek The first peek into the kiln.
Still 250C, but cooling rapidly.
Looks toasty!
beaker peek Peek at a lip of a beaker, lovely mottle and well reduced toasted clay where not glazed.
Birgit photographing Brick door removed, Birgit recording the moment.
front fired Top of front of chamber.
front fired Front fired.
carol's figure Carol's figure, well reduced clay with no applied glaze - just the action of the ash adding a sheen.
Linda's duck Linda's duck.
Belinda's pot Belinda's pot.
Hand built with applied coloured slips, not previously biscuit fired..
Sarah & Gill's pots Sarah and Gill's cups.
Belinda's test One of Belinda's test glazes.
Nicely run and separated, with a good gloss.
Lottie Some of Lottie's small bowls.
Laurence's lidded pot Laurence's lidded pot, with slip but no glaze.
Steve bowl Steve's bowl.
Steve Steve's men of letters.
Back section Front section removed to reveal pots at the back of the kiln chamber.
Nikki's pots Nikki's pots.
Richard's pots Richard's pots.
Pam and Belinda Pam's owl and mugs.
Belinda's glaze tests.
Bill crawled Some of Bill's light oatmeal glaze crawled.
They were glazed when still damp leather hard. The glaze has come adrift from the clay and shrunk away to leave small gaps and a large area near the rim.
Nice planter!?
Bill's Some of Bill's beaker, mugs and bowls.
cones gone A trio of cones, 8,9 & 10 almost flat. These were half way down in the middle of the chamber, a a place not usually so hot as this.
Some great reduced ash toasting on the unglazed bowls.
Steve Steve - happy with a tea pot, impressed with sugar kelp seaweed, which has picked up the glazes very interestingly.
steve The last pot out of the kiln. Another tea pot!


Some of Nick's mugs and bowls.


Steve's collection.
Lottie Lottie's cups and bowls.


Bill's beakers


Bill's "mortaria" bowls.
Simon Simon - happy with his bowls.
Caroline Caroline's scuptures.
Unglazed and toasted by the ash and reduction.



Report and Conclusions


The kiln firing log - Digital thermometer and thermocouples maybe not working properly?!

Cone 8 bent at reading of 1172C at 3.30am

Kiln firing log 31

A good firing, judged by results!  An attempt failed to speed it up and finish earlier than previously. More reduction than usual, leading to darker coloured unglazed areas.

 Some interesting new glaze trials. A lot of old favourites...


Comments are very welcome - email Bill Crumbleholme

Nix's wares can be seen and purchased at her website and etsy shop :-



Thanks to all the good folk who helped and encouraged this firing. You know who you are!?