Kiln Building

Currently….designing a small downdraft reduction kiln.  Built of insulating fire brick and fueled with propane, 10-12 cubic feet of stacking space.

I’m using a 3-D model of the kiln as I work on the design and I’ll be building the actual kiln later this year in Kansas.


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Converting an Electric Kiln to Soda

Giving new life to an old electric kiln is a great project, and there are many ways to go about it. If you look around you can find a lot of great tips and ideas to get you started and help you figure out how to fire the little thing. Some folks make it as simple as cutting a hole in the kiln and the lid, some people add a chimney on top of the lid typically of metal pipe. I’ve collected a few resources at the bottom of the page.

Below is the approach I tend to take, based on my experiences kiln building, some tips from others I’ve incorporated, and the materials and circumstances I often encounter.

Rather than simply cutting a hole in the bottom of the electric kiln for the burner, I lay a brick floor and three courses of wall as a foundation for the electric kiln to rest on. I build a burner port into the wall on the floor level, and allow the burner to come in horizontally under the first shelf.

First I lay a floor of cement block on a nice level spot, the size of the foorprint of this particular kiln floor. Cover that with a piece of ½” ‘Durock’ cement board. Next a floor layer of IFB 2300, and then a floor level of hardbrick.



Ordinarily, I would have a 9” wall with hardbrick interior and softbrick (IFB) exterior.

In this case I have used the opposite, hardbrick exterior and softbrick interior. The softbrick are easy to cut with a masonry blade on the ol’ chopsaw, so the interior wall can be cut to fit the outline of the electric kiln. The inside will be coated with kiln wash to help prolong the life.

If I have two burners I’ll put them at opposite corners of the square foundation, but with this one there is only one burner so it is positioned in the center of one wall. There is another port built in one side which can be used for another burner down the line, or to put some wood in there.

converted electric kiln

converted electric kiln

I’ve cut some extra holes in the sides of the electric kiln for soda and a hole in the lid for an exit flue of course.

Useful Links:

Ward Burner Systems

Bruce Bowers article

Discussion on the Salt/Soda Fring Network

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Thanks for checking in. I am currently working on websites for a local sculptor and a great non-profit organization, and will soon be consulting with another potter on his website.

I am also designing a pottery kiln for a client, which will will be a downdraft reduction kiln made primarily of insulating firebrick and fueled with propane.

Check back for details as these projects move forward.

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Coming Soon:   These websites are currently in progress

nancyrothsculpture.comEmpty Bowls

Previous work includes:

Annie Singletary

For these websites I was able to work with existing websites using the WordPress publishing platform, to transform the style and layout of the site according to the individual site owner’s wishes, leaving the content up to them.

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