The Kiln Book

Fred Olsen is one of the leading pioneers in explaining everything about kilns to the studio potter and his book is one of the best selling references on the topic. This book covers it all from refractory materials and applications to design principles and construction techniques...(Scroll for more.)


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Softcover | 288 Pages
Order code B096 | ISBN 978-0-87341-910-9

…No matter what type of kiln you plan to build, or what type of fuel you plan to use, The Kiln Book will help you understand what it takes to successfully harness the heat you need to fire your work and get the effects you’re looking for.

Discover ideas that work

Through the years Olsen has traveled the world studying and building kilns of all shapes and sizes. Much of his knowledge comes through trial and error, for Olsen has never shied away from a new idea or challenge. He’s an accomplished potter, designer and lecturer who has also created his own line of kiln kits.

“Anyone planning to build a kiln should certainly read this book. Though I wouldn’t recommend building a kiln based solely on instructions in a book without the help of an experienced advisor, this is a good starting point and reference. This book will help you decide what type of kiln to build and what materials and equipment to use. The many charts, tables and formulae are worth the purchase price, allowing you to calculate things such as how many bricks you will need and how many burners, and of what size. Olsen even includes instructions on building an electric kiln, though most readers are more likely to be interested in building gas or wood kilns. Though there are a few plans included in the book (mostly of historical kilns), the author’s intent is to impart basic design principles and construction techniques, which you can use to design a kiln for your needs.” — Sumi von Dassow, Pottery Making illustrated

Complete plans

The Kiln Book covers the principles of efficient design, building methods, refractory materials, bricklaying procedures and instructions, fuels and firing systems, arches, flues, electric elements and general safety. Olsen includes plans for firebox systems; coal, oil-drip and forced-air burners; butane, propane and natural gas burners; and installation of pressure regulators and safety shutoff controls. And complete plans and instructions are provided for building kilns of any size, shape or for any purpose.

Packed with information

This book includes principles for the design of highly efficient kilns, types of refractory materials, building methods, flue types and construction, curved and common walls, bricklaying courses and arches. Information includes construction techniques, kiln designs, as well as safety equipment. Hundreds of photos and illustrations show design and construction of all types of kilns.

“At last, art potters have a book that explains the construction of a kiln in the smallest detail. Potters, as well as students, will find The Kiln Book an expert and complete source.” — F. Carlton Ball

Experiences revealed

From California to Spain to Australia, Olsen has probably seen and studied as many kilns as any known pot thrower of his or any generation. Olsen’s bible for kiln builders includes chapters on multidirectional and specialty kilns, and offers a few suggestions on what kilns may look like in the future.

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