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Topic: Any cheap alternatives to kilns?  (Read 17294 times)
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tehbunnykins
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2009 07:25:34 PM »

here is another cheap way to get started that involves just a little research to get started type in the words "raku instructions" on Google. Raku is a Japanese pottery style that requires much less heat than kiln firing.

It must be noted that Raku Is Definitely no food safe... but a great start for art pieces.

On a side note : I picked up a small kiln for $60 on Craigslist that is 110 volts (standard household power). It fires to 2200 degrees.

I out fitted it with an electronic timer and thermostat. the whole thing cost around $100 to do. I am not only firing ceramics but also working glass and metal. So there are cheap ways to get started.


Ohhh....this is awesome information. I love working with my clay, but have absolutely nowhere to fire anymore (I was firing at the college when I attended, but have since graduated and don't have access anymore :\)   I have several projects I want to start, but haven't because of the firing issues. Didn't even think about looking on craigslist Smiley

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Capillus
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2009 06:51:48 PM »

One diy way to fire small ceramics pieces is with a pit fire.  In the studio where I work, we make a little oven out of kiln bricks, and pack the pieces in saw dust, seal off the top with an old kiln lid, and leave a small opening to start the fire with a newspaper wick.  The firing itself is pretty foolproof, but I wouldn't fire anything that's really precious to you- there's no telling whether or not it'll survive without a lot of practice and experience.  The resulting pieces are low fire and still porous, but they're still pretty to look at!
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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2010 08:28:18 AM »

Look on craiglslist or on the board at a local ceramics studio for a used kiln. They are not always expensive and very easy to use!
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« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2010 02:22:20 PM »

here is another cheap way to get started that involves just a little research to get started type in the words "raku instructions" on Google. Raku is a Japanese pottery style that requires much less heat than kiln firing.

It must be noted that Raku Is Definitely no food safe... but a great start for art pieces.


Another note about Raku (that I have experienced): You need a fuel line. It's not something that gets plugged into electricty. You should also be familiar with/trained how to build/set up the kiln before EVER trying to do this by yourself. Even then, the artist that I was with who rakus bisque fires in an electric (oxidation) kiln, then glaze fires in raku.
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lauralake
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2013 03:55:29 PM »

Hi, thanks to Jbonato for the sage advice on raku and and buying a less expensive kiln on craigslist. Yes, its important to try clay prior to a commitment by using a class or a beginner's book, BUT.........here is the downside of endless classes, after several hundred dollars spent on classes, I wound up with 43 bisque fired pieces waiting to be glazed and fired and less than
7 completed pieces.
The class was structured with the lady showing many demos on her own projects and shrinking our class time so that we never got anything glazed. As for the glazes, they were in unmarked tubs with no MSDS sheets so I have no idea if my dinnerware is lead free unless I buy the testing swabs.

I have spoken to several people online who are in the same dilemma and I now refer to this group as clay class refugees! So at this point I am more than willing to try and buy a small kiln, lest I more than pay for it with class fees.
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pjr107
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2013 08:35:32 PM »

here is another cheap way to get started that involves just a little research to get started type in the words "raku instructions" on Google. Raku is a Japanese pottery style that requires much less heat than kiln firing.

It must be noted that Raku Is Definitely no food safe... but a great start for art pieces.



Raku is usually bisque fired and when glazes are applied, they go to cone 05-06 which I believe is around 1200F. 
I know you can do pit firing or wood firing which doesn't involve a kiln and there are a few good books on alternative firing techniques. 

If you are struggling to get pieces glazed/fired within a class time,  find out if there is open studio time that you can go in for glazing pieces.  If your class ends and you have limited time to glaze/fire... sometimes talking to the place that hosts the classes will allow pieces to go in after the class for firing.  I know my instructor will allow former students to come in for a class to fire (esp since it is raku and you have to be right there for the firing). 
As for the glazes not being marked.... that's a huge problem!  If they are a larger "school" offering classes, you might want to bring this up to the instructor as well as working your way up the food chain (director, board) simply so that this issue can be addressed, even if its just a sheet that needs to be pointed out at the beginning of the classes.

Good luck!
-pj
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« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2013 11:03:48 PM »

Does anyone know if local colleges or any other places will allow you to use a kiln?
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« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2013 05:20:35 AM »

There might be some who do, but it's unlikely unless it's some kind of adult ed class. There's a lot of liability and a firing would have to be supervised by someone authorized to be there.
Certainly wouldn't hurt to inquire.
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