Over the last few weeks I’ve been gathering all the things I need to make my dustbin raku kiln. Yesterday and today I’ve been building it in the garden…
– large dustbin or garden incinerator
– roll of 25mm ceramic fibre blanket
– ceramic buttons (either bought or homemade)
– nichrome wire
– kiln shelf
– kiln props
– fibre rigidiser
– propane burner set
– tin snips
– paint brush
– face mask
Instructions, if you’d like them…
Mark the position of the hole for the burner. This needs to be at the base of the kiln, but make an allowance for the ceramic fibre that you will be using to insulate both the walls and base. (The hole should be slightly smaller than the size of the chimney hole in the lid, but allow for the burner to be angled slightly when alight – this should help with the flow of heat around the kiln.) Also mark the positions of where the ceramic buttons will be placed. The buttons will be used to hold the ceramic fibre in place, both inside the kiln and on the lid.
Using the drill, and wearing goggles, carefully drill the button holes you have marked and a series of guide points for the burner hole. Then, using the tin snips, cut from one guide point to another to create a neat burner hole.
Before opening the roll of ceramic fibre make sure you are wearing goggles, a face mask, overalls and gloves. The fibre is nasty stuff and even with all this lot on I’ve been itching all afternoon. Press the bin lid firmly onto the fibre to give you a good cutting guide. Cut two circles of fibre and place them inside the bin lid. Cut twelve pieces of nichrome wire and thread one through each of the ceramic buttons. Using four of the buttons, push each pair of wires from the inside of lid, through the pre-drilled holes, and tie. This should keep the fibre firmly in place, but don’t tie them too tightly as this will compress the fibre.
As before, press the bottom of the bin onto the fibre, and cut two more circles to line the base of the bin. Then line the interior walls with two layers of fibre, ensuring that the joins are in different places with each layer. Use the remaining eight buttons to hold the fibre in place. Trim excess fibre away from the top, and cut through where the burner hole is. Finally, paint on fibre rigidiser, especially on areas where there may be heavy wear such as the lid, bin rim and burner hole.
Now all I need to do is buy a bottle of gas, paint a kiln shelf with batt wash, make some raku glazes and get some marshmallows. I’ll let you know how the maiden firing goes.