search  current discussion  categories  kilns & firing - wood 

bisquing in wood kiln (was i'm back...and a question)

updated wed 27 jun 01


John Baymore on mon 25 jun 01

I'm debating on bisquing with my wood kiln. I would like the pros and



Some thoughts on bisquing with wood.......

Even in a bisque fire, wood ash is carried into the stacking of ware and
settles on the pieces. This unfused (but sometimes quite sticky) coating=

of wood ash has to be cleaned off the pots before glazing because it can
cause glaze applications to crawl. This is a pain in the butt and adds
labor time. Been there , done that, bought the expensive T-shirt . =

The main reason I can see to bisque fire in a wood kiln is if you have no=

other alternative....... and then ...... bisque away . Or if you are
trying to maintain a purer dento-teki (traditional handcraft) pottery sty=
like some of the Japanese potters, where such adherance to tradition pops=
very high premium price on the wares produced that way.

The high moisture content of the effluent atmosphere in a wood kiln in th=
early stages is actually an asset in firing a bisque up to 212F. But in
general the stoking has to be pretty precise..... it's easy to let the ki=
"run away" and spike temperatures, or to let a long flame front lick into=

the ware at a crucial point. POP! It's also easy to inadvertantly burn
dirty and cause possible problems with burning out carbonaceous matter in=

the clay....which will come back to haunt you later in the glaze fire.

Related to that labor comment above........ wood firing (for finish firin=
is already the MOST expensive way to fire work. You HAVE to count your
labor time in wood prep, stoking and kiln and shelf cleanup. Figured at
even only $25.00 per hour for a skilled craftsperson (which is cheap thes=
days....... just pay your car mechanic ) .......... a killowatt hour o=
electricity looks very cheap. Plus.... while the electric kiln or gas ki=
is chugging can spend most of that time doing some other
productive thing.

The main pro is that you get to be there stoking the kiln for more hours.=

The woodfiring process is certainly nice....and that aspect is certainly =
plus for many of us. Nothing like burning wood to fire pots for the old
psychic paycheck!!!!!

So there is my "five dollars worth" ("two cents worth" adjusted for 2001
inflation), based on 32 years of wood firing.



John Baymore
River Bend Pottery
22 Riverbend Way
Wilton, NH 03086 USA

603-654-2752 (s)
800-900-1110 (s)

"Earth, Water, and Fire Noborigama Woodfiring Workshop August 17-26,

Lee Love on tue 26 jun 01

----- Original Message -----
From: "John Baymore"

Even in a bisque fire, wood ash is carried into the stacking of ware and
settles on the pieces.

End quote--------------------------

It isn't difficult to get the ash off of the bisque in the noborigama.
We use dusters made of shredded rice string. We dust all the bisque this way,
from the noborigama and the gas kiln both.


Lee Love
Mashiko JAPAN
Interested in Folkcraft? Signup:
Help ET phone Earth: