Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Torah of Kiln-Building

A few more struts in place
Starting to build the former
Front and back pieces [the angle makes them look uneven]...and yes,they do look appropriately like the luchot haBrit as we approach Shavuot

Measuring and marking out the shape of the kiln
Supposedly a project with Tel Hai students,but they're always in the middle of doing something else important whenever I ask for help,so meanwhile I'm progressing slowly by myself.
My aim is to build this prototype kiln at minimal expense,recycling and using scrap materials wherever possible. Students at Tel Hai learn to fire gas kilns,but when they leave us they find that there are none to be bought in Israel [unless you have 60,000 shekels to spend]. It seems to me that there's a place for a small,simple-to-build-and-fire kiln that runs on one burner and off a single large gas "ballon" [a larger kiln needs more burners,and probably a huge subterranean gas tank]. I'm hoping it will fire evenly as an updraft kiln,with no need for a chimney [again for simplicity] and have some design thoughts about how to swing that which will become clear when we get to that stage. Most potters start their professional lives with an electric kiln [as I did]- among other considerations it makes sense to start with a simpler firing technique while getting your first studio together and deciding what you're going to make,moving on to gas a few years later when you're more established. A small gas kiln like this one [currently 60cms wide at the bottom,80cms high and 90 deep,built with a 30/60cm shelf in mind] will hold quite a few pots when you learn what to make for it,and would provide an interesting/occasional opportunity for pursuing commendable gas-firing urges.
I have my eye on a pile of broken insulating bricks left over from previous kiln projects; we discovered a ready-made block base round the back of the department,where we built the first [soda] kiln quite a few years ago,and there are binsful of ownerless scrap clay lying around from which to mix up a binding mortar [sawdust,grog,sand,straw etc.]; I have a few old shelves somewhere, a suitable burner [venturi] costs $50-70 in the States,and that should be the major expense if all goes well...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for showing how you are making this little gas kiln. Now that I have my own wheel, I will with G-d's help one of these days, e needing a small kiln. Please keep up the details of your building.
Shelley from Jerusalem.

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Daniel,

Thanks so much for showing how you are building this kiln and explaining----like you always do so well-- now that I finally have my own wheel, I will Please G-d one day be needing a small kiln! So all of this is extremely valuable advice! Please continue to keep us informed!
Shelley from Jerusalem

1:16 PM  

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