Night Firing photo taken by Tom Pollack.
Night Firing photo taken by Tom Pollack.

Norborigama, 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.

Robert standing in the Wood Chamber.
Robert standing in the Wood Chamber.
The Salt Chamber loaded with pottery.
The Salt Chamber loaded with pottery.

Salt Chamber, Before Firing

Photo from 2006 of the Salt Chamber loaded with glazed pots before the firing.

Salt Chamber, After Firing

Fascinating to see the chamber after the salt firing in contrast to the image of the same chamber prior to firing.
Salt Chamber after firing.
Salt Chamber after firing.
Stoking The Kiln
Stoking The Kiln

Stoking The Main Firebox

Stoker adding 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 takes 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 or June and September.

Christine, Robert & Shino in front of the wood chamber.
Christine, Robert & "Shino."
Checking the fire box.
Checking The Firebox

Analizing the Fire

Robert looks into the firebox to calculate the next stoke.