After years of discussion and over 2 years of construction our Medieval wood fired updraft kiln was fired for the first time. We try to fire this a couple of times a year full of pots, bricks, tiles and anything else that can cope with 1000°C!
Pieces of this wind pump have been laying around for a number of years unloved. We have rebuilt it and it now circulates water in Hill Farm's fish pond.
Check out this great video
There are a number of ponds within the parish of Gestingthorpe, together with the Belchamp Brook that borders the village to the North. We have a plan in mind to navigate the brook from Gestingthorpe to the Stour at Sudbury (a distance of some 4 miles) in a home made coracle.
Thin strips of pliable wood are first cut and the diameter of the coracle established (a similar shape to an egg). Once tacked together and central support plank is added which will act as the seat once we turn the boat the right way up. Ribs of wood are then added from front to back of the boat before opposing strips are added and woven through to strengthen the shape. Once the shape is established it becomes quite strong - cotton calico is then wrapped over the frame before being stapled to the wooden supports. Finally several coats of bitumen paint are needed to seal the calico and make it waterproof.
Balance in a coracle is essential - because of their size, your weight needs to be central or you can easily capsize. A lot of practice has take place on shallow ponds in warm weather (and there have been a few duckings!). Some of the Belchamp Brook has been navigated, but owing to this never having been done before (as far as we know), we still have trees and branches to clear which takes time, watch this space to see if we achieve our goal!!
The first voyage of our coracle on the pond.
Our wood-fired medieval updraft brick kiln at full temperature!
Here we light the kiln for the first time, June 21st 2013.
Slowly getting up to temperature
Two days later and it is cool enough to open
Top of the chamber before brick removal
Lots of pots and bricks in varying colours
2nd Firing of the Kiln, August 2013
Loading kiln number 3, October 2013
Unloading kiln number 3, October 2013
Unloading kiln number 4, December 2013
Unloading kiln number 5, April 2014
7th Firing of the Kiln, June 2014