Letter Barry Brickell 1960

72 West St.,
Auckland, C. 2.

20 Mch. ‘60.

Dear Mr Martin,

The kiln you intend to build (from your letter) has certain undesirable principles in its design:
1   Don’t be too meticulous. If a kiln doesn’t work, have no fuss & rip it down & rebuild it.
2   Roughly built kilns are not always inferior to those from the idealists plan sheets.
3   What matters is sensible principles of heat. Anyone knows these by common experience, almost intuitively.

The bad points of your own design are:
1   Too many bricks for size of chbr [chamber].
2   excessive foundation layers,

eg concrete slab not essential.

3  Too much air space volume set. Burner and top of throat – ie gases from burner moving too slow, dissopating [dissipating] excessive heat to throat before reaching pots – use venturi effect here instead.
4   Chamber too small. Such insulation (9”) would suffice for a chbr at least 36” x 36” floor area.
So use […] instead of […], to some bricks.
5   Have plenty of area between floor bricks for gases to pass, – all spaces should add up to about double flue x section only –

Points like ht floor/ht. of flue don’t matter in the least for your purposes.

A lot will depend on type of burner you use. Diesoline, incidentally, does not need a forced fan, but by arranging a simple, cunning type drip feed & tray, it vapourises finely enough to be fairly smokeless. Don’t bother with fans, motors etc, but have a good tall stack instead. Even old engine oil burns ok without all this rubbish (fans etc).

D. McClure of “Industrial Chemicals Ltd” Sevenoaks, Links Rd., New Lynn, Auckland, is the agent who supplies cones, clay feldspar etc etc.

Finally, though I wrote up an article in N. Z. Potter on kilns, I

now regret it a bit, for any plans & description is misleading. Use them as suggestions to help what you have in mind yourself, rather than copy them. Trial & error is best teacher in learning about pot firing & its many elusive facets.

The fire will make or mar a pot.

Hoping success,
Barry Brickell.

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Barry Brickell (1935-2016) was a potter, writer, conservationist and founder of Driving Creek Railway, Coromandel

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Date published

20 March 1960

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  • Barry Brickell


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