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Ceramic Kilns

Browse this section to learn all about using and even building ceramic kilns. From gas kilns to wood-fired kilns, you'll learn the firing schedules and techniques for all manner of ceramic kilns. Expert potters and ceramic artists share tips on how to use your kiln as an integral part of the creative process. Plus, don't forget to download your free copy of our Guide to Ceramic Kilns: Choosing the Right Kiln Firing Method and Design For Your Art. This Ceramic Arts Daily Guide can help you choose the type of kiln atmosphere you want (oxidation or reduction), the type of fuel you want to use (oil, gas, electric, or wood) and maybe even the special surfaces you want (salt, soda, raku, or pit).


Two Kilns That Make Smart Use of Waste

Posted On October 25, 2013 0 Comments

By it’s very nature, our art form is not the greenest of artistic endeavors, but happily, many ceramic artists and organizations are taking it upon themselves to try to lessen their impact on the environment. One such organization was actually built on sustainability: the Energy Xchange in North Carolina. In today’s post, an excerpt from the new release Sustainable Ceramics, we’ll learn about two Energy Xchange kilns that make smart use of various forms of waste. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.


How to Replace Electric Kiln Elements

Posted On September 12, 2012 3 Comments

This year, after many long years of waiting, I purchased my first brand spanking new electric kiln. I have had a nearly permanent grin on my face since then. While my kiln is beautiful and shiny now, I know the day will eventually come when I will have to replace the elements. I’ve always fired in other people’s kilns so I have never had to do any of this sort of kiln maintenance before. So I was excited to see the article in the latest Pottery Making Illustrated about replacing elements. Today, I am sharing an excerpt from that article. I am definitely going to keep this one handy for that inevitable day when my elements go kaput. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.


How to Build a Solid Arch Ceramic Kiln with Castable Refractory

Posted On May 7, 2012 2 Comments

Kilns can be built out of many things and castable refractory is one of the materials we rarely consider. Perhaps it should be considered more since it is reasonably priced, easy to mix, and easy to use. As John Britt explains in today’s post, if you are comfortable with casting plaster and making molds, you can handle building a solid arch kiln with castable refractory.

Setting the newspaper on fire.

Clay and Atmosphere: A Guide to Ceramic Kilns and Firing Methods

Posted On February 1, 2010 15 Comments

In today’s post, Richard Zakin walks us through all the major considerations of kiln performance. If you don’t already have a kiln, read on to find out how to build a sawdust kiln out of readily available materials.

[buildownkiln_large] This clip is packed with great advice such as, build your kiln around the shelves you plan to use rather than trying to fit shelves after you’ve built the kiln.

Kiln Building Video: From the Ground Up – Laying the Foundation for Building a Ceramic Kiln

Posted On June 5, 2009 10 Comments

In today’s clip, an excerpt from the full-length DVD Building Your Own Potter’s Kiln, Graham Sheehan demonstrates how to lay down the proper footprint for a gas kiln and explains how important these first steps are for ensuring a well-functioning, efficient kiln.

Firing steadily for more than 30 hours, the kiln reaches Cone 10. The kiln is allowed to soak at that temperature for a few hours, then it's sealed to allow it to cool slowly for a few days.

Building an Anagama Kiln for a High School Ceramics Class

Posted On June 1, 2009 4 Comments

An anagama kiln at a high school? That seems highly unlikely, doesn’t it? Many high school art teachers feel lucky to have a wheel and a small electric kiln. But Council Bluffs, Iowa, high school art teacher Clay Cunningham was determined. And with careful planning and execution, he, his students and some local potters made this vision a reality (and with great results, like the vase at left by student Rick Devoss). Today, in an excerpt from the July/August 2009 issue of Pottery Making Illustrated, Clay shares the process and plans for building the “High School Anagama.”


Ten Basics of Firing Electric Kilns

Posted On April 17, 2009 40 Comments

Firing is the most critical part of the ceramics process because it is the one thing that makes clay durable, hence ceramic. This article presents some of the principles of firing and getting the best results with electric kilns.

Pat Oyama, “Thrown Porcelain Bowl,” wood fired at cone 14. In its luminous color, rich textures, and translucency we see the result of this very high-temperature wood fire. Photo by Bob Hsiang.

An Introduction to Fuel-Burning Kilns

Posted On February 8, 2009 4 Comments

Fuels are organic and carbon based, they burn readily. Until recently, all kilns were fuel burning; even now when we have ready access to easily fired electric kilns, many ceramists continue to use fuel-burning kilns: this kind of firing has an enduring appeal.Very simply, there are certain kinds of visual effects that can only be obtained from a fuel-burning kiln.


Converting an Electric Kiln for Wood and Gas Firing, Part 2

Posted On January 7, 2009 4 Comments

On Monday, Bruce Bowers explained his process for converting an old electric kiln into a gas and wood-fire kiln. Today, as promised, Bruce goes into detail about the firing schedule he uses with this kiln. Plus he explains how he gets excellent results by adding soda and salt into the mix.


Converting an Electric Kiln for Wood and Gas Firing, Part 1

Posted On January 5, 2009 11 Comments

After moving from a rural to an urban area, potter Bruce Bowers realized that, in order to continue to feed his passion for wood firing, he would have to get creative. And get creative, he did. With the cooperation of the studio where he was teaching at the time, Bruce converted an old electric kiln into a propane-fueled wood-burning kiln, with great results. Today, Bruce shares the process for converting the kiln and, on Wednesday, he will discuss how he fires the kiln. Good stuff!