Norborigama 250 in 2005
This kiln was designed and built to replace our Noborigama 60 cubic foot kiln, built in 1992. Robert’s desire was to create larger chambers for firing big pots and get more pots fired in each firing cycle.
This kiln has 250 cubic feet of loading area in the two chambers. This is not the total volume, which is significantly larger, about 550 cubic feet.
Loading the Wood Chamber
This kiln was designed with ergonomic considerations. The doors were made tall enough for Robert to walk in without hitting his head. Its 6 1/2 ft. tall interior makes loading convenient and comfortable. Feed holes were placed at chest height, so there is no back strain when stoking. The loading area was designed around our 2 ft. x 2 ft. kiln shelves, making a stacking pattern of two shelves wide by three shelves deep. There is a 4 ft. x 6 ft. x 6 ft. loading area in each chamber.
Salt Chamber Before Firing
Photo from 2006 of the Salt Chamber loaded with glazed pots before the firing.
Stoking The Main Firebox
Stoker adds wood to the main firebox, which consumes 80% of the wood consumed in each firing. The secondary firebox of the salt chamber takes the remainder. Please note that the feed doors were located at eye level, allowing stokers to stand upright when adding wood to the firebox. For safety, this stoker is wearing leather gloves, natural fiber clothing, and a clear protective face shield.
Six-Week Firing Cycle
There are many steps to making and firing pottery. It takes two weeks to glaze the pots for this kiln and another two weeks to load those pots into the two chambers. The actual firing time is 62 hours with cooling of the two chambers taking 5 days. Unloading the kiln, grading, and pricing the pots adds another 3 weeks. The kiln is fired twice a year, usually in the months of June and September.