Manabigama Part 1

Southwestern Community College, here at the base of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, has begun to build their Manabigama wood kiln!

The shed has been up for some time, but the weather has not cooperated – especially at night when class meets.

Our first hurdle has been met – our slab is not level which means the concrete block that supports the chamber is not level. Our firebox turned out to be off and so the final cap block for the base will not allow for our row 12 brick to create a flush kiln floor.

SCC team checks the level

Britt is cleaning up, others check level and discuss

Before that, we were cruising along with concrete block and firebrick. Goldart and water make the mud to stick the bricks together.

Begin Manabigama - firebox

Firebox started for Manabigama kiln

Joe Frank McKee is our captain. Hopefully with him in charge, we will have a beautifully firing kiln that lasts and lasts and lasts. We are hoping to make this a wood/soda kiln.

While some bricked and bricked, Scott began mapping out the arch form. He is a carpenter and so will create the form. He also will help us level the kiln by making forms for pouring concrete. The concrete will level the kiln floor. Softbrick and firebrick will go on top to make the inside kiln floor.

Scott mapping arch form

Scott mapping arch form

So far, we have 3 electric kilns, one updraft gas kiln, one raku kiln and 2 test kilns (electric). Not too shabby for a community college!