The Wood-Fire Kiln is a Japanese style Anagama-Noborigama cross-draft kiln, originally designed in consultation with Kenton Baker and Beverly Fisher of Lancaster, PA and built by Tony and his assistants in 2001-2. It was first fired in 2003 in a 22 hr. firing to cone 10. Subsequently, Tony and his participating stoking crews have fired the kiln for various durations, from 3 to 8 days, with 3 to 4 days being the typical time, with 1 to 2 weeks cooling, so the whole process from loading weekend to unloading day may be 2 to 3 weeks duration.
Special features of the kiln are that with respectful acknowledgement to local neighbors it is secluded and predominantly fired without smoke or flame out of the chimney. These characteristics are achieved by the stoking patterns Tony has developed, as well as the design of the kiln which has an efficient three tiered step-grate in the fire-mouth of the anagama, correct chamber proportions and flues, as well as a large collection box in the base of the chimney for expansion and re-burning of gasses before they exit the flue. In mid-firing, perhaps only a heat-haze is evident.
Additionally, the original kiln was extremely well insulated with exterior soft fire-brick walls and thick layers of refractory K-Wool. Over time, subsequent repairs and heavy steel supports to the anagama sprung arch have been added which required removal of insulation from its side walls. However, this has not noticeably affected the temperature or cooling period of the kiln, which is very efficient in its fuel consumption and ease of firing.
Many other features, such as spies, air, stoke ports as well as two active and passive dampers are also built into the kiln. Much credit is duly given to Ken and Bev for their expertise and sharing of knowledge, which in turn has been passed on to many participants who have been drawn to the kiln.