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soaking/wood kiln

updated mon 4 nov 02


Karen Terpstra on sun 3 nov 02

Ilene wrote:
"Could someone explain the how and why of "Soaking"."

We soak in our wood kiln for a couple reasons. First it evens out the =
temperature of the kiln. If cone 12 is bending in one or two =
spots---usually in the bottom half of the kiln, we will stop raising =
temperature. We will "maintain" the temperature we have because we know =
that hot air rises in the kiln and eventually the rest of the kiln does =
catch up.=20

Our pyrometer usually reads around 1760 when cone 12's start dropping. =
We always want to record where the pyrometer is at the point where the =
cone temperatures we want are dropping. It's easy for beginners (and =
myself) to keep that pyrometer reading there. It's easy for people to =
maintain that temperature who are not experienced enough to "read" the =
color of the wood, coals and work in the kiln.

We don't mind if the kiln drops a 100 degrees or so from that number. =
We can always raise it back up. I'm not sure but I imagine we probably =
get a layering of flashing when the temperature varies during the soak. =
With shift changes, weather changes, just changing from night to =
morning, temperature drops are inevitable. We don't sweat it anymore. =
We keep about 6 hours built into our firing schedule for variables.

Takashi N. (I can't think of his last name spelling right now) says in =
his "Bridge of Fire" video---the one with Malcolm Wright that he fires =
his anagama for 5 days. during that 5 days and after the kiln reaches =
temperature, he lowers and raises the temperature 1000 degrees F three =
times before he shuts down. That is his soaking period. He explains =
that this layers ash and color on the pots like layering color on a =

hope this helps.

Karen Terpstra
La Crosse, WI