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arkansas groundhog

updated fri 7 jun 02


LOWELL BAKER on wed 5 jun 02

I have been back from building the groundhog kiln at the Ozark
Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas for more than a week
now, but I have been so busy getting things around for summer
school that I have stayed off the list.

The kiln building went well. We had a great crew and were one day
ahead of schedule all the way through. We had the normal
problems with the arch because the angle is so low and it is pretty
wide, but when we tightened things up it held. I added a second
side stoke hole on the right side of the kiln. Merrie's kiln only has
one on the left and none on the right. the side stoke holes in this
kiln are wonderful because you can stoke and stay out of the
extreme heat of the large firemouth. We planned on a 30 hour
firing for the first fire because we/I thought there would be bugs to
work out. There were none. Not even one. We could have finished
in 20 hours, but we just kept on stoking. We reached an easy
cone 11 in all parts of the kiln and a solid cone 13 in more than half
of the kiln.

Ash, from the mostly oak fuel, was thick and wet. My biggest
problem is that I thought ash would be light and I am basically a
lazy person so I didn't wad my work. I lost about half of my pieces
because the ash stuck it to the shelves. Long green and yellow
snotty runs, all the way to the back of the kiln. We could take the
temperature up 100 degrees and hold or drop 200 at will. This
groundhog fired as easy as turning a switch. Even though we were
prohibited from writing on the kiln by the park management we
named her Frosty.

Smoke was very light from the hard wood. Not at all like from
burning pine. We did have more coals to deal with than in Merrie's

We had constant live music from Folk Center regulars as well as
the Thumb picking workshop.

The weather was too cool to take a dip in the creek. It started
raining an hour after we shut her down.

All in all it was a prefect experience. I told Merrie it wasn't as good
as her's, but that's only because it is in a dry county.

If any of you are in the area of the Folk Center, stop by and look up
Judy Munn and John Perry. They have a jewel of a groundhog.
We will announce a public firing in the fall and a reunion firing next

Once again the Ground Hog is a very good kiln design; Versatile,
easy to fire and all the ash you could ever want.

W. Lowell Baker
The University of Alabama

Jim Bozeman on thu 6 jun 02

Hey Lowell, I'm in Georgia and I
believe I have found a funding source for a groundhog kiln which is
something that I've wanted to build for years. I work in the traditional
Southern style of pottery making producing alkaline glazed pots. My funding
source wants me to supply him with some sketchs and/or plans for
constructing the kiln. I was wondering if you could help in any way. If you
have one in Alabama maybe I could drive to see your kiln. Best, Jim

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