I have fired my sawdust kiln. It was very smokey and difficult to keep going. I felt really bad about the neighbours but once it was started I didn't want to stop, or pour water on it to put it out.
I constructed the kiln in our old green house and made it from old concrete blocks from the old compost bins in the chicken run.
Before I made it I got books from the library on primitive kiln making and watched so many u-tube clips I was full up.
Then I got some clay from Porirua (Kapiti) and made some pinch pots. They are very organic and simple and quite small. They just fit into the palm of my hand. Then I had to wait for them all to dry.
Sitting watching the burn and trying to burn sawdust is not like in the videos. The videos are over in ten minutes, and the smoke is minimal. I suspect I smell like a smoked sausage.
Once the kiln was ready and the pots dry I rang the Council and went to the Fire Station to let them know what I was doing. There is no fire ban in the urban areas of Wairarapa.
I wanted my containers to have some reference to the Wairarapa coast so I wrapped the bowls with tinfoil to hold feathers and seaweed and shells in place against the clay surface. I also stacked them inside each other to see what would happen. And I had collected a pile of kelp which had dried and put that directly into the kiln to burn.
I have developed a theory about the sawdust burning as I have been poking the fire and adding more wood. I was very concerned about how it is going to burn and whether the kiln will get hot enough to vapourise the tinfoil and the shells, feathers etc. I think that if I can keep it burning it will eventually burn the sawdust down though the pile I built and I will have sawdust fired pots. Hopefully these embers will be hot enough to have some effect on the clay.
After a few hours I put a piece of roofing iron over the kiln and left it to smolder. Then it was so hard to just wait. I did lift the lid every so often and it was still burning slowly. Patience is not one of my strong points sometimes.
One of my containers from my kiln. I am so pleased with the grey colour which is so much a part of Lake Ferry. They are not waterproof and break quite easily. However they are beautifully light and the bowls particularly sit so easily in my hand.