Backyard Adobe Kiln part II – The Results

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As previously mentioned, I built a kiln out of adobe bricks that I made in my backyard. See my other post to see how. After that, I wanted to make some test pots. I found a couple sources of clay. The first was a narrow band of yellow clay that I found down by a usually dry creek by my house. The second source was the same clay that I used to make the adobe bricks.

I do not yet have a wheel of my own, so I slip casted a test pot.

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That is the whisk from the kitchen. My wife was not pleased.

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I made a couple of them and fired those suckers. I was disappointed when they turned red like terra-cotta. I was hoping it would stay mostly the original color. I also did not have a pyrometer. So I used this color chart. I estimate that I fired them to about cone 08, or 1650 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here are the results.
alt The are moderately crappy, but good for a test pot.

I then tried to slip cast a pot out of the same clay that I used for the adobe bricks. That clay was no good. Too much sand. It cracked and would not hold together. But because I was determined to make it happen, I made it happen. It turned out ok. It cracked during firing and has walls about 1/2 inch thick. But again, it was about messing around and experimenting more than making a functional pot.

Lastly, I fired some pieces I threw on the wheel (someone else's wheel). Originally, they were going to be mugs. But I got distracted and they dried out with no handles attached. So I drilled a hole in the bottom and made them a flower pot. They would have been weird shaped mugs anyway.

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One broke during firing, and one turned out pretty cool. I don't know why or how, but it has a little color on it, similar to what you would get during a wood firing.

I only fired them to cone 04 or so.

All in all, the kiln worked, the clay fired, and I have some small flower pots I can use to start my tomatoes in this spring.

Lastly, probably the greatest pieces to come out of the kiln were made by my three year old. Made from just the dirt in the yard, sticks, sand, grass and all. Held together and made a pretty good fired dirt ball.

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