[Clayart] wood kilns

Vince Pitelka vpitelka at dtccom.net
Wed Jan 4 18:07:01 EST 2017

Hi Mel - 
Something I have always taught my students is that the dimensions of wood kilns do not change in proportion the way they do with a gas kiln.  If you build a very small wood kiln, you still need a large firebox in order to develop and maintain a good coalbed, and you still need a tall chimney to develop adequate draft.  Very small wood kilns are a project of questionable worth, considering the cost and labor for the return.  At the Craft Center we have a 250 cubic foot anagama-groundhog hybrid we call the hoggama, and we have a 40-cubic-foot crossdraft that Bryce Brisco built about five years ago.  The crossdraft gets fired twenty times to every time the hoggama gets fired, because the latter is just such a huge effort.  For most people, 40 cubic feet would still be a pretty big kiln, and I'd love to have a 20 cubic foot crossdraft wood kiln.  You say you get good results from a 14 cubic foot flat-top, and I think that is about the lower limit of practical size for a wood kiln.  

Woodfiring involves a steep learning curve, and for novices, a small wood kiln allows a lot of experimentation from one firing to the next.  That's the best way to learn the process.  
- Vince  

Vince Pitelka
Appalachian Center for Craft
Tennessee Tech University
vpitelka at dtccom.net  

-----Original Message-----
From: Clayart [mailto:clayart-bounces at lists.clayartworld.com] On Behalf Of mel jacobson
Sent: Wednesday, January 4, 2017 4:45 PM
To: clay <" clayart"@lists.clayartworld.com>
Subject: [Clayart] wood kilns

this is a general statement, idea.

wood firing is always a lot of work.
it takes planning and knowledge and fuel is always an issue.
you need a great deal of it, and it has to be dry.
if you are buying it, it is very expensive per load.
also, hand splitting is a big chore unless you have a good mechanical splitter.  it is still a lot of work.

so, saying that.
all of the above is true no matter the size of the kiln.

so, a great deal of work and planning and only firing a few pots seems futile to me.

a 14 cu foot flat top will give you gobs of great pots over many years.  just my take.
but, there are hundreds of potters that are really glad they have a gas kiln. and, some of them have great wood fired kilns too.  big ones.

More information about the Clayart mailing list