Spend a good bit of time sorting and splitting wood for the next couple of firings today. Before the kiln was built, Craig Edwards mentioned on a couple of occasions that having the wood split and sorted makes for a much easier time firing. I understood the need for splitting, but sorting kind of stumped me. I couldn’t understand why sorting for length would help, thinking that one could estimate the volume of wood going in each stoke, more shorter pieces or less longer pieces, right?
This seems to work in theory, but when you start adding in factors like stoking under the grates vs over the grates, or doing the wooden door technique, or side stoking through a smaller hole that tilts down, then the size and length of the faggots gets pretty important pretty fast. Having to sort through a stack for the right size during the firing makes for a stressful time. Having the right size stacked in the right place so that it doesn’t need to be moved a lot really cuts down on the labor.
So, this time I culled out all of the longest wood and split it first, stacking it near the front of the kiln. Shorter fat pieces near the front as well, with thinner pieces toward the middle and rear for side stoking the front and rear chambers. Also a special section of extra long pieces for doing a wooden door type stoke to get over stalls, if they happen. Here are some pictures of the stacks, plus a little potter porn.
Finally! After seemingly endless days of loading, the front is finished. The large pieces in front are most refires with the exception of the large jar to the right. The big white piece in the middle isn’t a pot, it is a large piece of Shirakawa Toseki (porcelain stone from the Shirakawa area near Arita dam). The square right behind it is a piece of sandstone that I cut in two and hollowed out to make a box.
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:
The series starts not with ‘the kiln’, but ‘the hole’.
Kiln design and expert workshop guidance by Craig Edwards of Minnesota.
Finished the middle setting today. It is mostly saggared ware. I picked up these nifty saggars that are big enough for larger pieces like flower vases and mizusashi. 今日は真ん中のセッティングを完成した。殆んどはボシに入った水指と花入れです。
There is a reason for doing it like this. I’m hoping that the saggars will effectively split the front chamber into two chambers, allowing the front to achieve temp more easily. ボシを使う理由は二つ：独特な効果を得るためと共に壁になって欲しい。大きな火立てになり、部屋が二つに分けられ、手前の部屋は温度が上がりやすくなると想定している。
Just behind the saggars are teapots along the floor, they will be covered in partially to fully covered in embers from the wood stoked directly behind them. The 4 square frame shaped kiln posts are there to prevent the stoked wood from bouncing/rolling down onto the pots. ボシの直ぐ裏には搾り出し急須が置かれている。ここですぐ裏の焚口からの薪が熾きになり、その熾きが急須の周りと上に溜まり、炭化効果が得られると思う。薪が作品の上に転ばないよう、支柱を急須と焚口下の間に置いてある。
Two more things: got a new ember rustling tool which is a shovel head welded onto a pole. this should come in handy for tossing embers and ash around.
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.
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)