[Clayart] Bourry Box

Vince Pitelka vpitelka at dtccom.net
Wed Jan 4 18:29:45 EST 2017

Hi Lee - 
For my first seventeen years at the Craft Center we had a two-chamber Bourry-Box built by Jane Dillon and her students in 1987 under the guidance of Doug Casebeer.  Doug is a fine potter and an acknowledged woodfiring expert, but this kiln was built with the fireboxes too small, and that was always a struggle for us.  If you want to see that kiln, it was a cover story in Ceramics Monthly in 1988.  We tore it down five years ago and Bryce Brisco used the bricks to build a nice 40 cubic foot crossdraft I mentioned in a previous post this evening.  

I am not a fan of the Bourry-box.  When you read Steve Harrison's "Laid-Back Wood Firing" or you listen to Linda Christianson talk about sitting back with a mint julep and stoking her Bourry-box every fifteen minutes, they sound pretty wonderful, but it is all about the results.  My favorite small wood kiln design is the Peg-Udall/Ruggles-and-Rankin  crossdraft design.  I think they give you a lot more flexibility in results than a Bourry-box.  Because of the upside-down design of the Bourry-box the flames and ash are pulled all the way down to the throat-arch and then back up along the bagwall into the ware chamber (unless you are building a train kiln with a Bourry-box), and it takes some careful management if you want distinctly woodfired effects.  Such results are far easier to achieve in the Ruggles-and-Rankin crossdraft.

If you do decide to stick with the Bourry-box, go oversize on the firebox.
- 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 Lee Taylor
Sent: Wednesday, January 4, 2017 3:03 PM
To: clayart at lists.clayartworld.com
Subject: [Clayart] Bourry Box

Dear Clayart list:


I am helping my daughter with the design and construction  of her first kiln.  I have built several wood kilns, but never a Bourry box.  The kiln chamber is pretty small and the size of the fireboxes that I see in plans and photos all seem like they are really oversized for the size of her kiln.
Is there a functional ideal for the size of a Bourry firebox?  Is it proportional to the size of the chamber? Or does it just not work if it is too small?


Thank you,  


Lee Taylor

Lexington, Virginia


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