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" Woden" - Wood Fired Kiln - The 35th Firing!

This page records the 35th firing of the Woden kiln on Wednesday 19th October 2022. A breezy almost showery day, but that's autumn for you!

 This is an archive of photographs taken before, during and after the firing.

This firing was a very low temperature firing of a batch of earthenware pottery replicas produced by Bill Crumbleholme as a commission for the Bournemouth University Archaeology department. The main webpage for the project, which gives details of the pottery made is at this link :-


Bill did most of the firing by himself, with some visitors making suggestions and Nick actually helping!

He started the preheat at 9am and finished before midnight.

The feast was baked potatoes, cooked in the kiln.

The preheat had to be very slow, as none of the pots has been biscuit fired, so those in the path of the incoming flames need to be heated gently until dried out. The cones are all 016 - about 780deg C, which is hot enough to make the clay turn ceramic, similar to the temperatures used in prehistoric times. That pottery clay body often had crushed seashell added - which remains as shell, rather than being chemically changed to quicklime at 825deg C - so we know the firings were not as hot a that.

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

Nikki and Bill recoated the kiln shelves with new batt wash to resist the attack of the ash. They were smoothed with a flapper disc on an angle grinder, then roller painted with 60% china clay + 40% alumina hydrate mixture. The supporting props were also smoothed and coated to stop them sticking together.

Menu for sections on this Page:-

Making Pots

Loading Pots

Firing Kiln

Unloading Pots


Making Pots -

making an urn The making of pots is archived on the project page - see link above.

This montage shows how the larger pots were constructed by joining pinched out sections, using a tongued and grooved join.

The kiln was also loaded with some stoneware pieces, just to biscuit fire them, ahead of a further glaze firing.

Loading Pots

back base level The back lowest level.
back 2nd level The back 2nd level.
Tall urns.
back 3rd level Back 3rd level.
back almost filled All the back section.
Almost filled.

The pots have been kept away from the incoming flames on the right side, to avoid being heated too quickly.

The tall stoneware vase in the middle was thrown and decorated during a demonstration by Laurence during Milly's hen party celebrations. It will be glaze fired another day!
front 2nd level Front bottom two levels.
In the bottom right lurks a two part rhubarb forcer, without bases, that will hopefully stack together.
front 3rd level Front 3rd level.
On right are 3 of Caroline's coiled white stoneware vessels, included to see what happens in a low temperature firing.
front 4th level Front 4th level.
Some pots from Martin's studio are over near the incoming flames on the left.
front top level The front top.

Tussi's "Kiln God" looks out over the chamber.
Bill's favorite urn sits in the middle.

The density of stacking is much lighter that the usual stoneware firings.
This will encourage more flow of air around the chamber.
There were not any more pots available anyway!
all of front All of the front.
The 016 cones have been placed around the chamber to check the differences in temperature.

Firing Kiln -

morning firing Late morning, slow and easy firing.
Not a lot of flames or smoke, kept below 130C until 1pm.
Then steady rise to 800C at top at 670C at bottom, by 11pm.
early cone Evening cone. about 650C
spuds The evening feast. Spuds cooking in the front of the firebox. Done OK, but not very crisped.

The timber used was mostly broken fence posts and panels and decking. That seemed to work OK.
cone Same time same place. Different angle.
Mobile phone not coping with colour and heat!
cone gone Cone 016 bent over at 11pm.
Firing continued for 45 minutes soaking, keeping the top below 800C and letting the bottom creep up a bit more.
All closed and bricked up by midnight.

Unloading Pots

unbricked Door bricks removed to reveal the fired pots.
All looking good.
Most cones gone over OK, a couple melted, a couple not bent much.
No worries about bottom "cool" corner not being turned ceramic.
top unbricked Closer view of top half.
Large urn in middle worked well, the applied zig-zag decoration stayed put.
bottom unbricked Lower half.
No breakages or cracks. Stoneware pieces biscuit fired well enough to now glaze fire.
Back unbricked Rear section revealed.
Urns looking great.
A couple appear to have picked up a pale dusting on surface, maybe stoneware clay contamination on brush used to smooth surface?
BU pots all fired Most of the replicas being cleaned and sorted.
close up left A closer view of the replicas.

Spot the odd man out in the middle, fired in the previous Woden low temperature firing number 7
incense burners Front row are incense burners. Small perforated vessels with lumps and zig-zag patterns.
The larger bowls have various deeply impressed decoarations.
Grooved ware bucket urn A grooved ware bucket urn, the original was found at Woodhenge, near Stonehenge.
Bill favourite urn Bill's favorite urn.
Relief that the applied cordons all stayed attached.



Report and Conclusions


The kiln firing log

Kiln firing log 35


A successful firing. No breakages or cracks, so the preheat was slow enough. Very laid back firing. Shame it was raining while unloading, so not so many images of pots coming out as usual.

Bill enjoyed being in control and doing it mainly alone. But thanks to Nick for his help and company during the evening of firing. Thanks to Martin and Cathy for mugs of tea!

Comments are very welcome - email Bill Crumbleholme