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burners the conclution and thanks

updated fri 11 jun 04


Paul Taylor on thu 10 jun 04

Dear all

Some time ago I asked about burners and received good advice. For good
forms sake I am adding a letter of thanks to the group and giving my

In the end I decided to build an adjusted version of a Minnesota flat top
20 cu ft kiln using mainly forced primary air and venturies for start up and
ramping . I had the design worked out and even got quotes for the bricks.

My plans allows for a lack of technical engineering skills and
confidence. The the forced air seems to require a less air tight kiln
structure than venturies and is less susceptible to the vagaries of the
weather - more of a hassle here than any where else. I decided against high
velocity burners as the technology looked too complicated and there is no
help available here.

I decided to adjust my old kiln and flue ( 35 cu ft packing) to use the
same burners. I found book very good , full of sensible information. My
experience of firing kilns concurs with his conclusions . However I did not
have the confidence to throw the old dogmas aside for my self. I was all set
to go

Then !! a few months ago a potter (friend) in the same county Henrie
Hedeux from Terrybaun pottery - probably the first studio pottery in Ireland
- phoned me with news. He had been offered two old fashioned kilns one 8
cu ft and one 16 cu foot packing space for five hundred euros for the pair -
"did I want them". He even helped me to get them here. . The kilns are very
old technology. They are heavy steel encasing hot face insulating brick -
two tones each .

I shall use the eight cu foot for salt glaze and the other 16 cu ft for
porcelain and stoneware . I expect the small kiln to be quickly burned out
then I will replace the inside with modern technology and burners which will
increase the size to 20 cu foot -- which will replace the porcelain and
stone ware kiln -- then I can use that larger kiln for salt. This should
last me a few years. The steel work on the kilns should last forever - if
looked after. So all I have to do is replace the bricks with fibre and keep
firing. I am keeping my old kiln and redesigning it to fire flat dishes
efficiently - also using a more efficient firing design.

The kilns are placed back to back to share a chimney and enough distance
between then to change the main burners from venturies to forced air at a
later stage. but I plan to keep two venturies for candling and ramping.
The 'new to me' kilns have a flue running along the bottom of the kiln
under the kiln shelves . I am still in two minds weather to block this up
and cut a restricted flue above the bottom kiln shelf using the increased
velocity of the flue gases to avoid cold spot - adjusting the size of the
flue until the kiln evens up - "a la" the Nils Lou book

Another piece of luck is that I bought 30 new kiln shelves for 300 euros -
although I bought them from a pottery relocating to china ( now I am
competing with a machine in china . God help us)

The concrete slab I laid down was too small for the kilns. So, inspired
by my mug partner of last year - I saw his lovely showroom in Golden Canada
on the internet- I built a new showroom incorporating the new slab and put
the kilns in my old show room. The pottery layout is now perfect I now have
every thing a potter could possibly need (and a new baby boy) . All this has
taken months . I have had to do all the work myself since builders are
better paid than potters and impossible to get hold of for small jobs.. Last
Saturday We threw a party for all the friends that have helped me with the

Not all is finished but I have to get back to making pots. The rest
from potting did no harm . You can not beat lifting concrete blocks etc for
getting rid of the middle age spare tyre.

So thanks to all on clayart I could not and would not have done this
with out you. I have sent personal letters to the people who gave specific
suggestions. If I did not take their advise it was the convenience of
circumstance rather than disagreement with their suggestions.

I hope to have the time and mind to contribute to clayart now I'm a
potter again.

again thanks

love from Paul Taylor

'Craftmanship is art'

phone 098 21239

Paul Taylor
Westport pottery
County Mayo