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07 January 2009

Raku Kiln


The 'frame' for our kiln is a standard incinerator bin which was bought from a hardware shop and is about 70 litres volume. This was an easy option for us as the gas burner that we bought works up to 2.5 - 3 cubic feet which is about right for this bin when lined.

I purchased a kiln starter kit from Castree Kilns
http://www.castreekilns.co.uk/raku_kilns_71.html in the UK who offer all the materials required for a bin of this size. If you're getting materials separately you will need;
Ceramic Fibre Blanket (128KG/m³ and 1260°C grade), a gas burner, rigidiser, kiln batt, kiln props, ceramic buttons, nichrome wire, raku tongs, pair of gauntlets, pair of goggles and a protective apron.
The first step was to cut out the hole for the gas burner and drill in holes for threading the ceramic buttons and wire through. The dimension of the gas burner hole should be smaller than the flue in the lid, in this case roughly 10-12cm. The hole for the burner should be as close to the base as possible, just above the level of the lining on the inside of the kiln.
The lid of the bin that we bought already came with a flue. There was a tube of metal extending out of the flue hole which we removed to leave just the opening hole. The handle was also built into the lid. It's probably a good idea to add a handle on the other side of the lid for safety.
Next step is to line the interior of the bin and the lid with the ceramic fibre and thread through the buttons to hold the fibre in place. We drilled one hole for each button and held them tightly in place with a washer. The lid should have double lining for insulation and should fit tightly onto the bin.
The interior of the bin should be lined to make sure none of the heat can escape, so overlap the fibre at any of the join lines. The lining at the bottom of the bin should also be tucked under the lining used around the circumference.
The buttons should be used evenly throughout the interior. They will keep the fibre in place and kind of look like a button on a couch. Once the lining is complete you will need to paint the top rim of the bin where it meets the lid and also in the inside of the bin lid with the rigidiser. This stops the lining getting damaged when the lid rests on the top.
The completed kiln here with the three props placed in the bottom of the kiln ready for the batt and pottery to sit on. It took two people an afternoon to assemble the kiln, it was quite straighforward. Next entries will be the first firing.

Final Result






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