‘Anagamania’ -8- 穴窯築き : Kiln Bricks & the Arch Support

Every time I built a new Anagama, I kept its simple shape but changed minor details in order to improve my wood-firing. Although latest Anagama ‘Moby’ design still hasn’t got anything proper (i.e. a fire-box, an ash-pit, a bag-wall and dampers), I will have a blow-hole and a couple of spy-holes (maybe but still thinking). I have been cutting the heavy bricks with hand tools (a hammer and chisels). This re-shaping kiln-bricks is only possible with the dense industrial bricks.
Green bamboo is the best material for making Anagama arches. I had green bamboo sent from Japan when my first Anagama ‘Moby Dick‘ was built. Hazel and willow are good enough to make kiln arches. Personally I prefer hazel as it is stronger than willows. I just had to find good straight hazel branches.
The hazel arches and the support have carefully assembled as they will be dismantled after all bricks are set and left for a week. Then I will crawl in the kiln and take them out when the bricks and mortar (fireclay and sand mixture) are settled.

Often people have misconception by thinking a kiln former is burnt after completing the kiln building. You can make the interior walls very sooty and difficult to clean. (Gas)

About Gas

Hi, I am a wood-fire potter, living and working in the Japanese tradition in Tring, Hertfordshire (UK). Following mediaeval potter's wisdom, I design and build simple wood-fired kilns called 'anagama' for long period of firing and 'raku-gama' for quick (glazed tea bowl) firing. My anagama firing usually takes 9 - 10 days.
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