How to fire ceramics

In addition to our daily ceramics from the electric oven, we burn our special pieces in the wood stove that we have built ourselves behind our workshop.

We shape the pots, bowls, vases and aquamaniles intended for the stove from a self-developed clay mass, tailored to the requirements and the burning behavior of the wood fire. With some vessels we glaze the inside with ash glazes according to our own recipe.

The outside of the vessels usually remains without glaze. The flames, the smoke and the ashes of the wood fire give the unglazed clay a fascinating color palette from orange-red to brown, gray-blue to black.

Due to the high temperature of up to 1300 degrees - exclusively due to the wood fire with patient and skillful fire - the pieces get a glass-like coating and shine. They are waterproof, food safe and suitable for use.

         

The fire lasts - depending on the size of the stove - 60 hours and requires approx. 7 cubic meters of finely split, well-dried firewood. About every 4 minutes the stoker has to put a few fine logs into the hot bed of embers, even at night.

Towards the end of the fire his full attention is required, because only after concentrated heating can he wrest the necessary high temperature from the kiln.

After about a week of cooling down, during which all of the items to be fired remain in the bricked-up furnace and slowly cool down, we can tensely remove the stone wall in the furnace door and hold the result of our work in our hands.

This ceramic from the wood-fired oven "hard" fired at 1300 degrees is not to be confused with pieces from the raku oven or the smoky fire.

Ceramic from the raku furnace is - due to the low firing temperature of only approx. 900 degrees - not watertight and fired "softly".

Our wood burning stove

how he stands behind our pottery today has seen many phases of renovation and expansion. It was built in 1984. The construction description and the firing process are described in detail in the technical book for ceramic kilns: Du Monts Handbuch der Keramik Kilöfen by Bernd Pfannkuche.
Du Mont Buchverlag Cologne 1986, ISBN 3-7701-1851-0

In 1986 the furnace was enlarged from 1 m3 to 4 m3.

In 1994 there was a renewed conversion of two chambers into a single large one in order to improve the firing conditions.