Primitive Technology: Termite clay kiln & pottery

Making a grate from the usual clay I use It’s a bit less than 50 cm in diameter and about 5 cm thick Making holes in the grate to let the flames through Getting clay from a termite mound. Termites mouths are too small to include sticks and stones in their structures, so the clay doesn’t need processing. Putting the clay in the pit left behind after building the tiled hut Crushing the clay Slaking the clay with water Treading the clay to break up lumps Dead palm fronds for tempering the clay Treading in the palm fiber Digging the kiln fire box Fitting the grate Making the front wall of the firebox Digging firebox entry Fire to stiffen clay Building walls of the ware chamber Enlargeing firebox entry Adding grate bars to firebox. These are important as they increase heat production several times.

Another termite nest built on red clay soil It’s a source of clay that keeps replenishing thanks to the worker termites Crushing Slaking Treading The clay has no stick or rocks in it due to the termites being too small to carry them into the nest Crushing up an old kiln grate to make grog for the new clay Mixing grog into the new clay. Grog prevent clay from cracking as it dries. Making an urn Adding coils Scratching the last layer. I have to let the layers so far dry so it doesn’t slump.

When I come back new wet coils will easily stick to the drier last layer due to the rough surface. Urn, pot, and 5 tiles made of termite clay. Blower housing and 2 tiles made of normal clay. In kiln ready to fire Covering with flat tiles (previously fired) Making fire Fire sticks are easier to make and maintain than pump drills and I’m so fast with them now I use them instead Transfer punk to tinder pile (crushed candle nut leaves) Blow coal into flames Add kindling Making fire under firebox grate to set sticks on grate alight Adding sticks above grate bars from now on 10 minutes in 1 hour in 2 hours in. I over stacked the firebox and the kiln cooled down a bit as the air supply was choked.

So I let it burn down a bit and only put in a few sticks at a time 2 hours 30 minutes in. The kiln started heating up again. 3 hours in. The pots are glowing a low orange (845 c or 1550 f degrees) The next day after it cooled down A broken tile. First pot ok The urn spalled but is ok The forge blower housing is now fired Spalling was probably due to the urn not being totally dry Watering cassava patch Forge blower housing is well fired and water resistant now. It goes in the shed. Broken tiles go into a pit to be ground into grog later Spare tiles for the shed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *