Electric Kiln Firing Techniques and Tips: Inspiration, Instruction and Glaze Recipes for Electric Ceramic Kilns Available for Download!

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 In today’s post, I am presenting an excerpt from it, which explains how Satori Yamaoka combines both oxidation and slight reduction to create amazing oil-spot surfaces in his innovative electric and propane kiln. . – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

Electric and Propane Combination Firing

One of the more interesting aspects of Satori Yamaoka’s firing method involves combining electric and propane, a method he has used for about 40 years. He has three electric kilns that go to Cone 9, all of which are designed to allow a small amount of propane to be used at a certain point during the firing cycle.

Using a computer that he has programmed to increase the rate of heat evenly with straight oxidation, electricity is used as the only heat source in the beginning of the firing. At around Cone 08, he introduces a small amount of propane to slightly reduce the atmosphere. This continues to Cone 9, which usually takes 24 hours.

This type of firing has evolved from considerations of cost and the colors Yamaoka wants in the finished ware. The kilns are large, custom-made, rectangular, top-loading electric kilns. The interior dimensions are 159 X 57 X 80 centimeters, (63 X 22 X 32 inches), with about 23 centimeters (9 inches) of brick and fiber insulation. Electric elements are anchored to the fiber hot-face. There are eight exit ports about 3 centimeters (1 1/4 inches) in diameter on the sides, front and back (two on each side). A ratchet-and-cable system lifts and holds the lid open.

Yamaoka fires about 10 electric/propane firings per month. The exact firing schedule varies a lot, but the first part is always electric guided by computer. There are always variables that affect the latter part of the schedule: stacking, which glazes are included, whether saggars are used, etc. So when the propane is introduced, things may change from firing to firing.

Kiln Diagrams

Top cutaway view of rectangular electric/propane kiln. The manifold that delivers propane to the kiln extends across the length of the center of the kiln floor, with ports every 20 centimeters (8 inches).

Front cutaway view of rectangular electric/propane kiln. Four lid vents draw the propane through the kiln, ensuring even reduction throughout the stack of ware.

Glaze Recipes
Kujaku (Peacock) Glaze, Type 1 Cone 9, reduction
Glaze Material
Barium Carbonate 11%
Bone Ash 2%
Magnesium Carbonate 3%
Strontium Carbonate 6%
Whiting 8%
Potash Feldspar 42%
Kaolin 8%
Silica (Flint) 20%
Total 100%
Copper Oxide 4%
Tin Oxide 3%
Silicon Carbide 4%
Shinsha Glaze, Layer 1 Cone 9, reduction
Glaze Material
Barium Carbonate 18%
Whiting 7%
Potash Feldspar 38%
Kaolin 12%
Silica (Flint) 25%
Total 100%
Red Iron Oxide 1%
Satori combines several glazes to get the Peacock affect shown above. Because this glazing process involves several layers, thickness will affect the result.
  • My Kiln
    Electric, 220V, single phase,7 elements each side and 2 on floor (16 in all) all elements working.
    Max temp achieved 466C in 4 hrs, 636 in 8 hrs.
    Can I supplement heating with gas to achieve 1300C?
    Very old Kiln. My first.

  • Peter B.

    Kiln Plans and Diagram It shows the dimensions which is confortable to use, but it does not tell me other details such as:
    Phase: 1 phase, 2 phase, 3phase.
    Current requirement in Amperes.
    Volts: 120V, 240 volts. Material used e.g.; type of paves or brick’s clay etc..

  • Steven S.


    With respect to the editors, they really are not food safe. Barium in that % is quite high and it is unlikely that the fairly normal levels of silica protect the Barium from potential leaching. They are correct in saying though that there are so many variables that go into that you can only ever be sure by testing your own situation.

  • Jharnetty@ceramics.org H.

    Because of the many variables involved in glazes (clay body and glaze fit, variability in chemical content, temperature uniformity in kilns, organic materials, etc.), we cannot guarantee food safety. The best way to be certain is to have one of your finished pieces leach tested by a lab. Here are some resources for you:




  • Laurie E.

    Are these Glazes food safe with the Barium Carb. in them?

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