It’s now the day after my first raku firing with my homemade kiln. It took just over two and a half hours to reach temperature, a bit longer than I was expecting, but I was a little nervous about going too fast. Once it looked as if the glaze had matured I turned off the gas; took off the lid; carefully removed each piece with tongs and transferred them to the reduction chamber. At this point I heard a lot of nasty pinging sounds. As I am discovering with this whole journey, there is some good, closely followed by some bad…
The good bits:
– It wasn’t nearly as daunting as I thought it would be
– The kiln worked really well
– The glaze worked well on most pieces
The bad bits:
– Everything cracked!
– The glaze came out too dark (just as I thought it might)
– The glaze on the topmost piece didn’t mature properly
– The glaze wasn’t applied consistently enough in a few places
What I have learned:
– I need to trust my instincts
– I need to use my pyrometer
– I need to try a clay with more grog in it that is more resistant to thermal shock
– I need to apply the glaze more thickly
These are the results. The small black crackles are part of the nature of the process and glaze. The big black cracks are not.