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firing ware/wood-firing

updated fri 17 feb 06


Liz Willoughby on mon 13 feb 06

Many thanks to Hank and Lee for helping me understand more about the
ash/glaze/melting during a wood-firing. It is also interesting to
see what other methods are used by Lee to make a pot look better
after firing in a wood kiln. I did in fact sand some of the raised
ash to make it more tactile on the hands, but think another firing
will end up bloating my claybody in my gas kiln. Might try it on a
Liz from Grafton

Lee says:
Sometimes it helps to sand the ash surface before refiring. I
sometimes put rice straw grass on my pots in an area where I flatten cone
13. The straw is mostly silica, and always comes out ruff. It is sharp and
will cut flesh easily. I smooth it with the grinding stone I use to
smooth pot feet with. Sometimes this fixes it, but other times I refire
after smoothing the ash.

Also, when wood firing in heavy reduction, sanding and polishing
can take to surface oxidation off, to expose a richer, brighter surface
underneath. Pots out of my teacher's yohen chamber are sanded, polished
with 3M pads and then rubbed with with a cotton cloth. These pots are very
dull before they are polished. After polishing, they are very rich and

Hank, I did not know this. I was afraid that pots might be bloated
if fired too long, i.e. to cone 12 in
a wood kiln. Thanks for this information.

Hank says:
Good questions, Randy. First it must be said that cone 11 or 12 after
lot of ash has fallen on the cones is not really cone 11 or 12. The
ash, being a flux, will cause the cones to fall sooner than in a gas
kiln. I think cone 12 in a wood kiln is like cone 10 in a gas kiln.

Meticky Liz from Grafton, Ontario, Canada

"Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such
desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep his pace with his
companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let
him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."
Henry David Thoreau

Merrie Boerner on thu 16 feb 06

I don't have a gas kiln......only an electric kiln and a woodfiring, the advice about reduction and soda don't help in my situation.
So...what do I do when the surface is rough in places where I'd prefer it to
be smooth, like on the rim of a cup? I sand that area down to a nice, clean
finish. Then I put a clear cone 6 glaze over only that sanded area. I fire
it in my electric kiln with other cone 6 wares. This does not seem to change
the woodfired effects on the rest of the piece. Sometimes there is even an
improvement in color.
Merrie in Mississippi

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