Elena approached me a couple of years ago to discuss her ideas of a new wood kiln. Her existing kiln was having some technical issues and she wasn’t happy with some of the results.

So I came up with a version of my kiln but with modifications specific for Elena, such as height of stoking, easy of loading and firing options. The kiln is built up on concrete blocks so that the stoking height is comfortable, the firebox is also slightly taller.

There are two wickets, although she will mainly use one side, the option to load big pots without clambering inside was appealing. There is an extended throat zone where pots can be tumble stacked and side stoked, this space is covered with a removable fibre lid. 

There is an option to preheat the chimney with a firebox at the base of it. There is also extensive use of adobe around the chimney, chamber arch and firebox arch to prevent heat loss. The bricks are a mixture of H30 recycled from the original kiln and others that she gathered and a Shiral 42X hard brick backed up by a J26 insulating brick which was mainly used in the throat zone and chamber.

I did the design work and was present during key stages in the build (as well as always being at the end of the phone whenever issues arose)  and Elena did the majority of the kiln build and learnt a lot of new techniques along the way, including how to accurately get the bricks course level and lay the various adobe layers.

The first firing went surprisingly quickly given the residual construction dampness that our wet summer didn’t remove. In most aspects the kiln performed well, even control and good temperature in the chamber, the throat zone needs a few tweaks and more aggressive use of the passive dampers to slow the kiln down will all help the next firing.

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