Pit and Barrel Firing

Pit and barrel firing are similar in the sence that you can use the same combustibles and some of the same chemicals. Avoid chemicals that ceates poisonois gases for your safety.

The colours are created by the combusibles that you put in the fire. Use all kind of wood that you would put in a fireplace. No wood that have been treated with chemicals or painted. Build the fire with sawdust and kindling in the bottom. Then bigger chunks of wood and sawdust again. you can use all kind of combustibles – paper, branches, weeds from the garden etc. Put the pots in the middel og the combustibles. 

You can get more colours by using chemicals (salts and oxides) in the fire. Sprinkle the chemicals om top of the sawdust. I use coppersulfate, Ironsulfate, kitchen salt, soda ash. Alternatively you can dissolve the salts in water and wash then into the pots. The pots must be dry before you fire them.

The temperature of the firing have significant influence on the colours. Very high temperature have a tendency to give lighter colours. If you want to raise the temperatur then dig a deeper hole to avoid wind. The wind carries the heat away very quickly. 

Although pit firing and barrel firing is a lot of fun, it is difficult to control the temperatur. The wind and weather conditions will influence your results by “stealing” the heat and the fumes from the chemicals. The colour development takes partculary place during cooling, så dont disturb the fire until the fire is cold to the touch. 

The advantage og barrel firing is that the fire is protected from the wind and you get a quick firing. If you have a tall barrel you can make holes round the bottom of the barrel to ensure oxygen to the fire so you dont have to relight it. Make for example 1 inch large holes al the way around the bottom aproximately 3-4 inches from the bottom.

If you dont like the results then refire the pieces.

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