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kurt's kiln/addition

updated fri 23 feb 01


mel jacobson on thu 22 feb 01

the basic flat top design (as with arched kilns) can be made
any size. the potter must look at his or her needs, estimate
how much work they get done, then design the kiln to reach
those needs.

many potters build huge kilns, then spend a life time chasing
the kiln to fill it, or live in guilt that they are not using it.

kurt's small version of the standard flat top fits his needs perfectly.
he is a fussy decorator, it takes him days to complete the decorating
process. his kiln is large enough to accommodate some of his big
pieces, and yet he can fill around them with many small pots. as he
finishes groups of pots he plans the stacking and firing process.
it works very well.

kurt and i have built many variations of nils` basic idea`. only one
of our gang has built the `car kiln`. we do not use blowers on any
of them. most are propane fired, and use either nils` burners, or a
modification of that system. our large salt kiln at the farm is the
basic nils kiln with a flat fibre itc roof and door. (hinged)

both of us love the small variation. it can be tucked almost any place.
it fits the needs of many basic potters. if you are in production, or
plan on going full time, then make a big kiln. if not, match the size
and shape to your work.

we really like 10 inch galvanized heavy duty pipe, lined with kaowool sleeves.
these stacks are easy to make, and reasonably safe. if you spray the
inside with itc 100 they really last a long time. we even coat the metal
with itc metal coating material. (each stack system is made to fit
the roof or space it goes through....there is no one system, each
must be carefully planned.)

my home kiln is another variation, longer, taller...about 40 cubic feet
inside. (holds the same number of pots as the car kiln.) i just needed
a larger kiln.

some like to make the flue larger, especially if they are using power
blowers. some like to add an arched roof. so be it. some like 12 inch
stacks. it is all up the individual. the main thing is to get the thing
to work in a safe and consistent manner.

i do not think there is a perfect kiln plan. but, there a few
really good ideas. nils and fred olson have added several to the list
that are almost perfect ideas.

i have said many times...i like the flat top for its cost, ease of
construction and flexibility. it is made entirely of straight brick, and
that controls cost.

again, those that love arches, have good welding equipment, have
experience...and is a wonderful system. make them,
you get no argument from me....i have made many.

i really think that building a kiln often completes your apprenticeship
in clay. it gives you confidence that you understand the entire
process. many are not going to do that, for many reasons, all
legitimate, but, if you take the chance, build your own, you will
not regret it.

this list has many that can aid you.
marc ward is a top professional in the business. call him.
nils has great information and his burners are wonderful. call him.
(just remember, he is west coast, if you call from new york at 8 a.m.
it is 5 a.m. at his house.)
and the list of good people goes on and on.


Minnetonka, Minnesota, U.S.A.
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