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Kilns: pics of large scale wood burners

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by Adios Pantalones, Apr 27, 2011.

  1. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Went to Seagrove, NC for a weekend to visit friends. This is a town of about 350 people, with about 100 potteries- no exaggeration. There are places that if you swerve to miss a cat, you might hit a wood kiln in someone's FRONT yard. I have lots of pics of pots and studios, but this is a site for burnin stuff, so here are the burners.

    The "Pottery Center" has 2 wood burning kilns that can be rented for about $250 each! One is a 2-chamber kiln, the other is a "groundhog". I've heard 2 legends on the name groundhog- one was because it looks like the burrow and may be partially under ground, the other is because you have to crawl around in there to load it.

    2-chamber kiln, it goes uphill to promote draft.
    [​IMG]

    Inside one of the 2-chambers. Notice the glassy look- this is from melted wood ash and the use of salt/soda. The sodium attacks silica, forming an orange-peel textured glaze.

    [​IMG]

    Me in front of a 300+ cu ft kiln at Johnston and Gentithes. They're a husband and wife team that do GREAT work. The firebox is to the lower left of this picture. They fire in about 16 hours and add salt at the end.
    [​IMG]

    Notice the charred beam from a minor fire. It happens.
    [​IMG]

    Front chamber of the kiln at (I think) "Dirt Works". Shelves of pots are stacked right here in the firebox, then the fire moves through holes in that back wall into another chamber.
    [​IMG]

    Ben Owen has a big 4 chamber kiln- the doors are suspended from an overhead roller system. Traditionally you build a brick wall every time you want to close the door.
    [​IMG]

    My wife in front of Ben Owen's kiln
    [​IMG]

    This is a pizza oven built on the kiln pad at Ben Owen's Pottery. Notice the baby "anagama" kiln on the left, complete with "side stoke" holes". This is built on the buttress for a 4-chamber kiln.
    [​IMG]

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  2. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Me in front of a groundhog kiln
    [​IMG]

    Inside groundhog- imagine loading a mess of pots in here
    [​IMG]

    Another groundhog- this one is at the historical "Jugtown" pottery
    [​IMG]

    Notice the red bricks- this is the outside layer. Red bricks would melt in this kiln
    [​IMG]

    I'm sure now you're saying "OK- now I've seen them". I just love kilns.
  3. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    its always sad when you see all those lil hobbit homes that burned down. i wish we could all get along.

    AP, how does it work having a town with such a high concentration of potters? Do they have a co-op or something? Do they all just concentrate on different products?
  4. GAMMA RAY

    GAMMA RAY Minister of Fire

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    AP ....cool pics ...groundhog one scares me....I am clausterphobic.....just curious how did your pottery passion start?
  5. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    People usually have very different different work.

    Contrast my work, for example with that of Frank Neef (the opposite end of the spectrum).
    [​IMG]

    Or of Stephanie Martin:
    [​IMG]


    There is competition- I'm sure. Seagrove is a destination sort of place, however. People go there to buy pottery and tour around to do it, so the customer base is relatively large. Potters in general aren't in it to get rich, and living expenses there are cheap. Our tab at lunch for 2 was about $12.50. A restaurant review said that one place was expensive because dinner for 2 was about $50.
  6. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    What is the purpose of multi chambers? I can understand firebox - chamber, but when you get past that, I am confused of its purpose.
  7. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Jags- one big chamber would be a pain to build, and a small issue could be really big when dealing with an arch. Smaller chambers, simpler fixes.

    Also- a large chamber would be hard to fire evenly. Stuff in the front would get blasted, and other parts may be underfired. Multiple chambers- you fire with the firebox, then wood is added through "sidestoke" holes in each chamber, more closely controlling what happens.

    You can also use the later chambers to get less ash for glazed pieces. It's common to salt/soda glaze just the last chamber so you get that specific effect only on pieces built for that effect.

    Something I hadn't thought of until this trip is that since it might take a looong time to construct, the chimney and last chamber could be fired once they are constructed (helps pay for the rest of the kiln).

    There are big tunnel shaped Japanese kilns called "anagama" ("cave kiln"), but the type of kiln determines the effects. Anagama effects aren't for everyone I guess.
  8. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I bet the guys from the Boiler Room are drooling at the thought of having a five thousand gallon storage tank hooked up to one of those things.
  9. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the 'splainin AP.

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