‘The beast’, a long-throat bourry box kiln, was first built in 2002 on our property in NSW. Our subsequent move to Queensland, in April 2003, meant we had to dismantle, transport and rebuild the kiln at our new home. The rebuilt kiln was finished and fired for the first time by June 2003.
Raw (ie not bisqued) pots – sometimes with colloidal slips applied and only glazed on the interiors, if at all – are packed into the kiln which is then candled with gas for 10–12 hours. After this time, when the temperature is around 300°C, a small fire is started in the bottom of the firebox and the firing continues using wood only.
The ‘beast’ is a temperamental creature and firing can take as little as 18 hours or as long as 36-plus hours.
Firing conditions at our new location are quite different in many ways. The wood, the weather, the altitude (and attitude!), the stack, the stokers – all are variable and all affect the firing!
Always a challenge!