Category Archives: tools

The Kiln

On and off I’ve had requests for pictures of the kiln, so here are some selected photos of  it from beginning to completion. Building this kiln was the subject of the first Workshop In Taku, in 2010. The second in the series, Workshop in Taku 2012: The Simple Teabowl, will happen from May 12 – 18, 2012. Full details here:

http://karatsupots.com/workshop2012/2012home.html

 

The series starts not with ‘the kiln’, but  ‘the hole’.

Kiln design and expert workshop guidance by Craig Edwards of Minnesota.

Kiln Loading

The date for the fall firing is official! 2011/11/11. There must be some sort of astrological significance to this, be it good or bad.

Since I’ve been making a lot or work to go into the kiln for this firing, I’ve been constantly short on ware boards, so decided the best way to free some up would be to get the pots off of them by loading them into the kiln. This has the added benefit of breaking up the loading process so it is not so danged exhausting.

This afternoon saw the completion of the rear setting, all cone 6 ware give or take. E-Karatsu, Kawakujira, and Kohiki. Most everything is smaller and doesn’t have much height, so to fill in the higher spaces many of the pots were balanced on kiln posts. The added benefit to this is that if the temperature gets too high, the pots will collapse, invert around the posts and stick to them completely and utterly. Post-In-A-Cup.

The two jars are refires that had a lot of unmelted ash on the shoulders. In order to melt it, I’ve applied an ash glaze that should melt and flux the sintered ash underneath, hopefully. And, if I’m really lucky, they will slump or split in the firing, sticking to everything around them.

Shelf space and more food dishes

With the wood kiln and trying to fill it, there is not nearly enough shelf space (or ware boards) in the studio. My neighbor has a small grove of bamboo up the hill, and gave me permission to cut down a few for building a ware board frame. Here in the pictures it is mostly finished, but still needs about 2 more tiers added higher up.

I moved most of the new pots out here, and it freed up all kinds of space in the studio, but there is still a shortage of ware boards. Cheap plywood is still about $10 per sheet, but it looks like I’ll have to bite the bullet and buy some soon.

The oval dishes are the next run of food dishes. They look really good with Chosen Karatsu glazing, and also with iron brush deco under a feldspar glaze. The clay is a new one I’m experimenting with, bought from a clay specialist, but after trimming these I don’t think I’ll use this again, at least unaltered. Wedging in some sand might perk things up a bit, but the basic clay body is pretty boring by itself. We’ll see, it might have really great color in the wood kiln and that makes up for a lot.

I had a lump of left over sandy clay that I wedged in near the end of the run. From the looks of some of the trimmed feet, I could have done a better job…

Quick Tables II

The other day I posted pics of  a low table I designed for easy breakdown/setup and transport. Here is the tall version of that table. It uses the parts from the low table, the low table top as the high stretcher and the low stretcher as the high table top. 60 x 90cm leg pieces were added from another sheet of plywood.

After assembling, the table is quite stable, though it does rock a bit because of the plywood thickness. In spite of the rocking, it is very hard to unbalance.

Making pots again

Started making pots for the wood kiln today, after spending some time making a list of what needed making, and working on some sketches and sizing.

These are the beginning of the first items on the list, I wanted to get more done but spent much of the day cleaning up the studio after the gas kiln unloading. This is a very typical Karatsu shape, and you see them from very small all the way up to very large. These are 19cm and 16cm sizes.  As you can see from the pictures most of these plates will probably get brush deco and feldspar glaze (cone 6, give or take), some others will get rice straw ash glaze (cone 11, give or take)

Here comes the flood

Not!

The concrete combined with the sump pump is doing its job admirably. I took these pictures this morning after a night of med/heavy rain (but nothing close to the storm last evening). Water has started to seep in places, and since the part in the foreground is not under cover, some rain falls right in, but that will only be a problem during firing.  Last firing there was some rain and I strung a tarp down at an angle from the cover which worked alright, if not very elegant.

Here are the pictures of everything when it is moderately wet. Water is collecting around the edges of the concrete, but even in the heavy rain yesterday, was unable to reach the top. The sump pump has activated at least once, judging from the wetness of the concrete in the sump. When the top float goes up the pump turns on, and when the bottom float goes down, the pump turns off. It takes about 25 seconds to pump the water out, MUCH faster than the previous pond pump. The sump form collapsed under the weight of the concrete so is not the oval I had planned, but looking at this pic now, the sump really resembles a fish, don’t you think. Especially with the corrugated edges where the tail would be.

I installed a tube into the concrete through which to run the pump hose and power line, so it would be hidden. There is a drain about one meter to the right of where the hose and line emerge. Once a trough is dug between the two, the hose will be almost hidden.  A trough will also prevent water from traveling along the surface toward the workshop path and kiln.

The unfortunate casualties of all this improvement are the frogs, and I am going to miss them. Hopefully they will find other low wet areas in the yard to hang out.