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Building the Kiln

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Here is a little overview. I'm standing where the joint between the sutema and endou will be.

On the right side of the picture is a freshly poured slab - it will be the foundation for the front wall of the sutema. I'm laying bricks that will protect the concrete that will be covered by the sutema and also form the foundation of its back wall.

Here, the front wall of the sutema (which forms the back wall of the anagama ware chamber) begins to take shape. The slots are sama ana, i.e., vents to allow the gasses to flow out of the kiln.

This picture shows the back wall of the sutema. Rather than use four larger sama ana, I used many fuki dashi here. The idea is to break the flame up so that it does not flow more strongly through any particular spot.

And a bit closer.

This is a good shot for an overall perspective. Here, we are looking at the (non-existent) kiln front and all the way through the front and back sutema walls. Also, you can see that I took a break from laying cinder blocks. I was getting worried that I wouldn't be able to finish the kiln before autumn and so I stopped working on the kiln shed and started on the kiln itself.

This is the nearly completed arch from for the sutema. The square box shape in the background is a pier form - it will eventually hold up a pole which supports the shed roof. It will be placed on a slab that was poured way down at the clay level. As you will see later, it ends up being about 12 in. (30.5 cm) above ground level. It bears mentioning that the Japanese way is to build the shed, then the kiln. As time grew short, I reversed the order out of necessity.

The cinderblocks are mortared to the poured slab. As you will see, I will make steps of these so that at the end of the slab at the bottom of this picture, they will be highest. This area will be the base of the chimney.


Laying Bricks "Furutani" style. These are all straights. Clay is slammed on the bricks so that it is thicker on the outside end than toward the inside end. Then bricks are laid on these and pounded into shape. The clay naturally forms a wedge shape between the courses.

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