This is Marc Lancet loading up the
pit by placing pieces right next to
each other in about 6" of sawdust.

 Loading the Pit

Now it is time to load the pit. The first layer of materials are the ceramic pieces partially embedded into a sawdust mixture. You can use just saw dust but a mixture of sawdust plus other materials such as rock salt, crushed charcoal, and crumpled newspaper will help create even more effects. This is what Lancet suggest when loading the pit.

  • Sawdust - Cover bottom of the pit with 4 - 8 inches of sawdust.
  • Rock Salt - sprinkle salt on top of the layer of saw dust before working your pieces partially into the sawdust.
  • Crushed Charcoal - If you would like a hotter burn, mix charcoal throughout the sawdust.
  • Crumpled Newspaper - For more burn out of the saw dust, disperse crumpled newspaper throughout the mixture.

    The second layer of materials that goes on top of the saw dust and ceramic ware are 12" of crumbled newspaper. This will help cushion the ware from the weight of the layers of material on top.

    The third layer (optional) is a layer of cow dung. It goes on top of the newspaper and below the wood which is the last layer of combustible material.


    The fourth and final layer consists of wood. At the workshop, Nottingham members gathered up roughly 10-12 cu. yards of rough dry ocean driftwood composed of bamboo and various woods.

    Practically any real wood will work. Just stay away from woods that are treated or have glues in them like ply wood, particle board, or wafer board.

    You need enough wood to fill up the entire pit. If it's a smaller pit, you may want enough wood to fill the pit plus some to put more in later. At the worshop at Nottingham, we filled the pit with wood slightly heeping over the top of the pit. It was a lot of wood, but we did not put any more wood on after it was lit and the cover was put on.

    Here is a close up of a huge pile of drift wood. We didn't actually use this pile though because it is
    Terry's sacred pile of beautiful
    drift wood.


    Here we are loading the pit. Laying the wood carefully on top of all the ware, newspaper,
    and sawdust mixture.

    It's almost full, although when we actually finished loading it the wood was heeping over
    the top of the pit.

    The pit is loaded. You could light it as soon as you get done loading it, but it might be a good idea to wait until sunset. That's what we did during the workshop and it was well worth the wait. Click on Next Page to see the kiln lighting ceremony.

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