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fw: soda kiln possibility question

updated thu 29 may 08


Vince Pitelka on tue 27 may 08

Pam Epperson wrote:
"With the loss of Leonora Coleman our soda firing mentor several of us are
thinking about purchasing a 30 year old 7 ft. by 6.5 ft high catenary arch
kiln with side forced air burners..low pressure for natural gas 2 burners on
either side. We would like to reconfigure this kiln to become a soda kiln
and wonder if the side burner format is a plus or minus."

Pam -
Side burners work fine for soda, but a soda kiln is generally a dedicated
kiln, with charging ports in the front and/or back of the fireboxes. Are
you going to have to dismantle and reassemble this kiln? If so, you can
redesign it however you want, assuming it is in good-enough shape to stand
up to the dismantling and reassembling. Is it a hardbrick kiln? Softbrick
deteriorate pretty quickly in soda.

Personally, I am not fond of power burners on salt or soda kilns, because
the motors and blowers deteriorate very quickly in the corrosive atmosphere.
Tube burners or venturi burners are really the only way to go for a
gas-fired salt or soda kiln.

If this kiln was intended to be a downdraft reduction kiln, why not just
keep it as that? The power burners will last indefinitely in that kind of
service, but will be doomed to failure in a soda kiln.
- Vince

Vince Pitelka
Appalachian Center for Craft
Tennessee Tech University;