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Building the Kiln

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With the lath installed, it looks a bit like the upside down boat hull shape Furutani speaks of in his guide book. This was taken on the day before the kiln was built - it finally got too dark to work and I had to come to the kiln early the next day to finish up.

It looks much better by lantern light.

Kiln Building Day! Finally!

Because the mortar for this style of construction is clay, the entire kiln body must be built in a day so that it drys evenly as a single piece. Just as with the sutema, clay is slammed onto the bricks, thicker toward the outside. This wedge shaped mortar allows the straight bricks to form the arch.

I'm the guy in the red plaid shirt. My friends Isaac (blue shirt/white hat) and Jeremy (red coat), were part of the construction team that made a one day construction possible.

New player in this picture is Tony (blue sweatshirt). We both work at the same studio.


We are using a clay from Seattle Pottery Supply called "Sculpture Buff". In the end, I think I used about 3500 lbs (1590 kg) - not just in the main body, but in total. I had it mixed as soft as possible so that it would easily fill cracks when slammed in place.

The process was surprisingly easy. Slam down some clay, lay down a course of bricks (try to overlap - use soaps for spacers), then pound it into place with a rubber mallet. The mallets are pretty well destroyed after a day of pounding bricks - use cheap rubber mallets so you won't regret it!


Rob (white overalls) joins the party. I do believe he made the funniest comment of the entire day. I can't remember it though.

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