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Wood Firing

The Wood Kilns:

CCW's Naborigama

Salt Charber Removal Our Rock Creek Naborigama (multi chambered hill climbing wood fired kiln) was designed by internationally renowned kiln designers Will Ruggles and Douglas Rankin of Rock Creek Pottery. It was built in May of 2003. We ran a two week accredited college course in kiln building, led by two of the most experienced wood kiln builders in the US, Lisa Stinson and Shawn Ireland. Ceramics Monthly published a wonderful article in January 2004 about the design and building of our Naborigama. We are very proud to say that we get spectacular and very consistent results.

CCW's New Climbing Train Kiln

Our NEW large Train Kiln ( 100+ cubic feet) is a contemporary rendition of an ancient Anagama (tunnel or tube kiln). This new design was introduced to the U.S. by John Neely of Utah State University, after a trip to Japan. A unique feature of his design is the fire box, known as a bourry box, with an unusual stepped grate system on the bottom of the bourry box. This is an exceptionally efficient wood fired kiln that fires faster, with great fuel efficiency resulting in similar results of an Anagama in far less time and energy.

North Carolina’s internationally renowned potter, Judith Duff has made a wonderful CAD program of her kiln based on John Nealy’s design. It is from this design that Tim as made a few unique adaptations: a dramatic increase in size, three Hikidashi ports (means: “to open and pull out), a step in elevation in the large ware chamber (making this a Climbing Train Kiln), the addition of five brick arches, and the unusual hoistable insulated steel center arch, allowing for an aging potter to stand while loading and unloading. Our newly added Climbing Train Kiln’s construction will be completed in early June. We intend to fire for the first time by the end of June. Date to be announced.

Our Wood Firing Program and Crew

Our Naborigama (named Yuki) is one of the most frequently fired wood kilns in North America. We have fired her over 225 times since building her in 2003. We are presently firing her about 10 times per year; however we have been known to fire her as many as 20-25 times per year. Our firing crew and shift supervisors are comprised of CCW staff, faculty, members, advanced students and experienced visiting participants. Many of these individuals have been firing our kiln for the past 10 years, accumulating hundreds and hundreds of hours of experience per person. We have achieved very consistent results through the years, while firing the first chamber in reduction and the second chamber in oxidation or light reduction with a vapor of salt/soda. The average duration of firing is 20-24 hours. On occasion we will decide to try an experimental firing: firing for 40 hours, introducing lots of ash, and reconfiguring the fire box and bag wall. We have yet to establish a routine and firing format for our new Climbing Train Kiln.

Loadings, Firings, and Unloading

We generally start loading the kiln at 12 noon on the first day of the two days scheduled for firing. Usually, we begin firing at 6:00 p.m., right after loading and continue until 6:00 p.m. the following evening. The majority of our firings are scheduled on weekends. All participants are expected to assist in loading and to participate in at least one 4-hour firing shift. We are not a drop off firing program; we strongly believe that wood firing is a community experience with all its educational value in hands on experience. Most of our unloadings occur 5-7 days after the completion of the firing. We have yet to establish a loading routine and firing format for our new Climbing Train Kiln.

Firing Fees, Payments, Volume

Our firing fees structure is one of the lowest cost in the Eastern US for wood firing. We charge 6 cents per cubic inch. All wares will be measured upon arrival. You are not expected to pay your firing fees in advance or immediately; however we do require a $100 non-refundable deposit that will be deducted from your final balance. You will need to pay this deposit upon reserving your requested volume of space in the firing. We will send you an invoice for the balance due. We ask that visiting participants request and commit to a template of volume (space) in the firing. Participants should order a full template or a minimum 1/2 template of space. (a full template equals 24"x24"x12" / a half template equals 24"x12"x12"). Please do not stack when organizing your wares and keep in mind that there will be a 1/2 inch shelf holding each layer of wares in the kiln. When you arrive we make it very easy by quickly measuring each item.

Wood Firing Deposit

Tuition: $100.00

Description: To pay your Wood Firing Deposit of $100.00 just click on the below shopping cart button.


To Pay your firing fee invoice from our past firings just click on the following link for Invoice Payment


If a participant cancels his or her intended participation less than ten (10) days prior to the firing dates, that participant will forfeit their deposit. No credit or refund will be available with less than ten days notice. Cancellation of participation before this ten-day period will be credited or refunded.


For those of you wanting more formal information on our wood firing program. We offer a few different unique wood firing educational opportunities each year. This Spring we will be offering a wood firing class on Wednesday beginning on April 6. Also we will be offering a Wood firing Workshop on Memorial Day weekend May 27-29. Both of these opportunities are hugely informative with demos and hands on experience , covering all aspects of using glazes , slips, loading and firing. For more information please visit our web site cantonclayworks.com

Upcoming Firings

  • Mid to late June TBA Climbing Train Kiln unload TBA
  • July 29, 30 Naborigama unload August 5 @ 1pm
  • Aug 26, 27 Naborigama unload Sept 2 @ 1pm
  • Approximately Sept -10 TBA Climbing Train Kiln unload TBA

Glazes and Flashing Slips

CCW's Naborigama delivers great and consistent results for wood and salt/soda glazes as well as a full palette of flashing slips. We supply more glazes and slips than most well-known universities. We are regularly adding new slips and glazes. It can be confusing, therefore we encourage new participants to keep it simple. Many visitors arrive the day before a firing to start their glazing and slip applications, but many people also complete their glazing the morning of the firing before loading. It is recommended that only individuals with an understanding of application of high fire glazes consider participating, because this wood-firing program is not a workshop scenario with a full day of instruction. Beginners should consider enrolling in a class at CCW.

Clay Bodies

There are many clay bodies that will work well with wood firing.

All clay bodies must be cone 10-11 clay bodies. No exceptions!!!

(The use of porcelain has a tendency to warp open forms in our cross draft kiln. Closed forms work quite well.)

Recommendations: (all clay bodies are cone 10)

Laguna B Mix Woodterrific in wood
Laguna #510a great porcelainous stoneware (white)
Laguna #900brown stoneware
Laguna #950groggy brown stoneware
Sheffield #T1white stoneware
Sheffield #T3tan with iron specks
Sheffield Z Claybrown stoneware (fabulous in salt chamber)
Standard Ceramic SupplyHelmar clay

There are many new clay bodies being made specifically for salt firing. They are worth giving them a try.

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Canton Clay Works llc, 150 Cherry Brook Rd (Rte 179N), Canton, CT 06019 (860) 693-1000