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" Woden" - Wood Fired Kiln - The 33rd Firing!

This page records the 33rd firing of the Woden kiln in April 2022. It is an archive of photographs taken before, during and after the firing.

No significant changes were made to the kiln structure. The corrugated iron roof could still do with replacement.....

A different firing schedule was used for this firing.

Bill lit the fireboxes at 8.30am on Saturday morning.
Nix started the preheat - drying the kiln and contents out all day at about 100C. Starting to rise mid afternoon.
After a Fish & Chip Feast, Richard and Nick, the evening stokers had an easy task until midnight gently raising the temperature from 400C to about 1000C.
Bill joined Richard on the night shift from Midnight to 6am to push on up to about 1100C, with some reduction slowing the rate, but without the need to strain to get to maximum temperature.
The refreshed daylight team, Nix with Tussi and Birgit,  then had the task of making the push up to the maximum temperature. They reached 1150C by midafternoon, when Sarah arrived to help. By tea time 1170C was the average plus or minus 20C until 8pm, with Nick and Bill adding their efforts and wisdom! The Cones 8 and 9 went over during that time. The fireboxes were bricked up and the portcullis slid down to block off the chimney. All left to cool slowly.

We have received donations of wood for fuel, thank you Sir Philip for your old roofing battens and Pam's son for his old fence and Paul for other broken fence panels - we have Storm Eunice to thank for those, with at tinge of sadness for all the poor folk who got damaged.

Nix arranged for a delivery of slabwood offcuts of from www.eggardonsawmill.com which arrived on Saturday morning, so the stokers had something else to keep them busy stacking it away.

Menu for sections on this Page:-

Making Pots

Loading Pots

Firing Kiln

Unloading Pots


Making Pots -

Lots of bills pots Bill's home studio after a couple of days making pots for this firing.
Really needs to have a Spring clean to make some more room!
Jugs Some of Bill's new jugs with handles waiting to be fixed, after turning the bases.
That is a juggling act to get the clay dry and stiff enough to turn, but not too dry to stick the handles on.
close up of Glastonbury style bowls A close up of shallow bowls, in the style of the Iron Age Glastonbury ware, but with only a single line of "pecked" decoration.
Raw glazed with Bath Potters Supplies "Orange Red" glaze, that should turn slightly pewtery in the wood firing.
Another batch of Bill's beakers, dried ready to biscuit fire then decorate inside and round the lip with a nice dark brown glaze.
bread A bread loaf made at the same time as the pots shown above!
A mix of wholemeal Spelt flour, normal wholemeal bread flour and Canadian white bread flour, with poppy and sesame seeds.
Just what a hungry potter needs, with a lump of cheese!
mortaria drying Another batch of "mortaria" bowls. Although these are a bit deep compared to the Roman originals.
These are drying out, before turning the bases and glazing when almost dry - with Light Oatmeal glaze.
in electric kiln Pots biscuit fired in Bill's electric kiln.
richard's pots A few of Richard's pots, fired in Bill's electric kiln.
Bill's platters A batch of platters by Bill, this angle does not really show their true height!
Decorated with a tramline with pecked marks in. The tallest also has the rest of the Glastonbury Ware symbols, with swirls.
In the end none of these made it into the chamber.
bead props This week's mystery objects!
Crank Clay bead props, used to fire beads suspended on nichrome steel rods - either wood fired or Raku fired.
Ming The ? This is Tussi's term's work.
Known as Ming The Magnificent, having dropped The Merciless title, as she is not a 1930's Flash Gordon fan!

Loading Pots

back third full After two half days loading, about a third full.
Featuring Richard's strawberry planter; a few of Bill's bits and pieces; Pam's & Margaret's bowls & mugs; Helen & crew's sculptural pieces - including a rather fine ram's head kiln god!? The ram's head got repositioned.
Hare Helen's crew's Hare and friend, await a suitable space.
Bill's jugs Top view of some of Bill's jugs.
The glaze is yellow iron oxide, which should turn a very nice brown!
These ended up in the top back middle section of the chamber.
stuff waiting A cabinet of curiosities?
back loaded Back section loaded, except for a couple more tall items in the top middle.
The kiln god hare just fitted in, without having to saw a bit off his ears!
Well Done Nikki and Richard.
Birgit loading
Birgit loading her bowls.
She has developed a great skill with wax resist decoration.
Sarah loading Sarah loading her mugs.
Five sixths loaded Five-sixth's loaded!
Just waiting for Ming and the surrounding pots.
Well done the team - some great pots nicely stacked in.
Maybe a bit too densely packed, but we've got more time to fire it!
Just look at the verticality of the props and nice horizontal staggering! (Technical terms for the load-bearing columns being straight up and the shelves not aligning side by side, so the hot air can circulate through the chamber more easily. Spot the minor kiln gods, Belinda's spotty chicken and Martin's mouse and snail!
All loaded All loaded.
Thanks to Tussi for her help, had an interesting time loading her Ming sculpture, which was merciful!
There is a set of half depth shelves stacked towards the middle from him, including Nick's twisted  sculpture and the ram's head.
Bill got a few more of his beakers in at the top, alongside one of Richard's large bowls, unfortunately the slightly larger one was too tall to fit in the space - but it would probably have been ruined by bits of the ceiling falling in on it anyway?!
So now the door has been bricked up - Thanks Tussi for brushing the bricks clean. Possibly the earliest we've ever been ready ahead of the firing - a week and 40 hours! But some of that time will be spent receiving and preparing fuel deliveries.  
pallets on car Bill's last delivery of pallet wood from local builders' merchant.

Firing Kiln -

new timber The delivery of slabwood offcuts from Eggardon Sawmill.
Thanks to Luke for chainsawing it in half and Martin for splitting the large pieces.
flames The dead of night alight!
Bill stoking Bill stoking.
Bill stoking Action!
Bill stoking Done.
Bill asleep And then a sleep while Richard slaved away!
flaming door A flaming door.
kiln setting The kiln area at night.
flames escaping A slight problem with a large gap between the door bricks and a broken side column brick, so flames could escape straight from the route up from the  firebox.
Nix later inserted a metal bar to push the ceramic fibre insulation back against the brickwork which helped.
The holes in the top of the door and across the back of the arch had been blocked up well, so no flames came from there. 
cones at 4am Cones in the spyhole at 4am - still upright amongst the flames.
1081 digital The dreaded digital thermometer reading - slowing down towards 1100C. A new battery did not help improve it!
cones falling Sunday teatime, cones 8 & 9 beginning to bend over, so glazes were maturing by now.
Maximum reading 1194C.
Firing stopped at 8.30pm, by which time the cone 8 was melted flat.
Gaps below firebox doors blocked up and portcullis dropped down to seal off chimney.
Kiln left to cool slowly.

Unloading Pots

just opened The unbricked fired kiln.
A fairly well reduced and thus dark firing.
Cones 8 & 9 mostly bent, even in usually cool bottom right, those near left hand side flat.
Nix planters Nix's planters from the cool bottom right, a couple not quite matured, but most just fine.
Nick unloading Nick unloading.
Just finished taking out two of the front shelf stacks.
part unloaded Part unloaded.
left front stack The front left stack.
Lulu unloading Lulu unloading.
Laurence pots Some of Laurence's mugs and bowls.
Nice speckle.
Bill beakers Bill's beakers
Simon's pots Simon's pots. Light oatmeal glaze with ash speckle.
ram The ram.
Richard & Belinda's pots Richard's large bowl and Belinda's dark glazed bowls.
Bill's class's pots Bill's class students' pots.
Jess's pots Jess's pots.
Tussi's Ming Tussi's Magnificent Ming!
Brilliant all over sheen.
Nix pots in kiln Nix's pots left for her to unload.
nix Nix's small offerings.
Nix Nix's darker offerings.
Nix's platters Nix's platters and jugs.
Nix mugs Nix's mugs.
nix Nix's planters and plates.
nix Nix's bowls.
nix Nix various!
Ming Ming.
Richard's strawberry planter.
Bill's paperclay grooved ware planter - which was smashed in transit when Bill kicked it accidently - not a good end to the day.



Report and Conclusions


The kiln firing log - temperatures approximate -   The squares are the predicted suggestions an hour apart, and the triangles are the actual readings. Starting at 9am Saturday rolling onto Sunday evening.

firing log

Overall a good firing, nicely reduced clay surfaces, good speckle from ash on paler glazes.

Not too much of a struggle to fire, 36 hours total time. Revised firing schedule was a success, although the role reversals confused folk used to struggling to increase the temperature.

The variety of wood fuel available was useful, being able to choose different sizes according to the needs of the fireboxes.


Comments are very welcome - email Bill Crumbleholme

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