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Firing the Kiln

Second Firing, Page 2
First week of April, 2003

stoking the anagama through midwinter nights is cold work Alan pulled an all-nighter. Even in April, it was darn cold at night.

Wood fire glow from the anagama Ahh, the glow of an ancient kiln, and an ancient computer. Anagama's have been used in Japan since about 1200 AD when they were imported from Korea (they where already well established in Korea so they are even older than the import date).

The computer is a Pentium 133, easily a 1000 in computer years! If I could just get the multimeters to speak with my old Color Computer, I'd have a downright prehistoric kiln monitor!

computerized anagama temperature monitor, overview You can just make out our even temperature line on the monitor.

dusk, fire from the chimney Who can resist a chimney at dawn.

A worried commuter stopped by - he thought we had a chimney fire. At least the fire department didn't visit us this time as in the first firing. I called the 911 center to let them know that if anyone reported a chimney fire at our location, it was planned and expected - no grumpy firemen showed up at 5:00 am on the second firing.

stoking wood into anagama kiln Here are two of the full time stokers - I'm behind the camera. You have met Andrea already. The guy putting wood in the Kiln is Mike.

You might think that the front of the kiln would be too hot to even be near. Well, let me say, it was freezing at the kiln site. And the front face to the sides is comfortable to touch - Andrea spent most of her resting time curled into the left side of the kiln. The kiln never backfires so the face stays fairly cool. On the top however, one can bake sweet potatoes - very yummy snack if you can show enough restraint to avoid tongue burns.

gutter stoke The Gutter Stoke, my contribution to anagama firing technique.

I had a pile of millends delivered because they were so cheap - but how do you stoke a kiln with little 2x4 blocks when a regular stoke is a full armload of firewood. Fill up a gutter, place one end on the firemouth sill, and push. There is a little 1x2 tacked onto the underside of the gutter to make it rigid.

We didn't use much of the millends - maybe a quarter cord.

gutter stoke

glowing tip of the rod used to stir coals in the anagama Note the glowing end of stirring rod. It's stainless steel donated by one of Kerry's friends for a mixing bowl.

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