Building a Test Kiln

Since switching over to the new wood kiln, there has been a need to tweek my gas kiln glazes, as well as develop new glazes for wood firing. Problem is, it is hard to test new glazes because the wood kiln gets fired infrequently, and I fire the gas kiln much less now because most of the work goes into the wood kiln.  So I need something that I can fire test tiles in, and after looking at some little electric test kilns, (and their prices) I decided to build a propane gas fueled test kiln.

I had the materials laying around, and scavenged some from previous projects. I came up with this little  Itte-Koi (going and coming) style kiln. It is basically just a scaled down version of the first gas kiln I built 7 years ago. This one only required about 20 bricks, and the hardest part was carving the chimney bricks. Thin brick slices hold up the floor/shelf, the flame goes in the bottom front, climbs up the rear and comes back around down to the exit flue at the middle front.

The chimney brick shown strapped to the front was a mistake, I replaced it later with one that wasn’t cut through completely. I had carved this one through because my larger version had  a passive damper here, but it seemed like too much trouble on this tiny kiln. Much easier to lay a slice of brick over the top of the chimney.

3 more bricks across the top finish the kiln. I later set the whole thing on a flat stand with wheels and fired it up with a raku burner I had laying around. Waaaaayyyy overpowered. Within 10 minutes I had red heat in the chamber, but there was a tall flame coming from the chimney because of all the unburnt gas igniting as it left the kiln. This with the regulator set about as low as it would go, so I need a smaller burner, probably a small weed burner or reduction burner for an electric kiln would be about right. I’ll post on this kiln again once I get a burner to fire it with and some glaze tests set to go!

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