Firing kiln, testing Abe Anjin

I have never met Abe Anjin. He has written about how it is possible to fire a kiln for a portion of the day, shut the door, get a good night of sleep and then restart the firing. In fact, he says that one of the problems with firing these days is people don’t sufficiently heat the kiln, that old firers  fired the way he advocates which is why the walls and floor of older kilns are almost completely glass. He reasons that the glass comes from a more complete heating of the kiln, not just a heating of the ware. He also says there is very little difference in wood usage. That is to say if you fire straight through or if you do it the way he advocates your fuel usage will be the same or close to the same.

So, here is the test of Abe Anjin.

I am doing the same, his firing style,  with some modifications. The main change is that I am putting a burner in while I am not feeding wood. I am less concerned about loss of temperature than I am about dunting, if that is what you call cracking due to cooling during the firing. I did try doing Abe’s firing style about a year ago and got a kiln load of cracked ware for my efforts. It wasn’t my noborigama but my much larger snake kiln. No glory in crashing with the brakes on.

He says you will regain what ever temperature is lost in the first hours of the new day. I will say he is right on that account. I ended yesterday at about 180 C. I started today at 7:00 am at 50 C., and was at about 150C. at 8:00 am. Outside temperature is -6 C.

I think if you ask 10 people who fire kilns with wood what is important to a successful firing you will get 10 or more different answers. The answers are very interesting to me but what is more so is what is left out of the answer. I think people with deep experience in anything do so much that becomes second nature that they ‘forget’ they are doing it. It is these details that make anything work or make it a spectacular failure.


About togeii

I have lived in Japan for 19 years doing ceramics almost the whole time. I have a wood burning noborigama and a long snake kiln.. I
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3 Responses to Firing kiln, testing Abe Anjin

  1. Mike Martino says:

    I’m really looking forward to hearing your results with this experiment. I’m guessing everything will turn out fine. As another lone wood firer, I may have to do it someday too.

  2. pierre garnaud says:

    hello i m pierre from france,
    please where did you read this text from abe anjin?
    did you test this method with high temperature? if you did, how big is your kiln?

    • togeii says:

      Hello Pierre,
      I don’t remember where I read it. It was in a book that talked about Tsujimura Shiro being a potter that uses wood, not true, so maybe it is wrong.
      I tried it. My kilns, I have two, are 9 meters long and 7 meters long.

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