How to Make a Rocket Powered Kiln of Clay and Sawdust

ahiasunfactory

The Ahiasun kiln & stove factory in operation. Firing used about $6 of low-grade fuel — about what’s in the stack at R (or maybe less?) Note stove bodies on shelf.

Jon and Flip Anderson have been working with stoves and ovens for some years now (HPP regulars may remember their rocket powered oven design.) Last February, they helped teach at the Winter Stove Workshop put on by Aprovecho and InStove. Aprovecho Research Center (ARC) was consulting for Mercy Corps in East Timor, who had sent their Program Manager for Renewable Energy, Will Baron, who has responsibility for all programming related to energy, poverty, lighting, electricity, appropriate cooking technology and sustainable cooking fuels.

Flip adding material to the kiln roof

Flip adding material to the kiln roof

Mercy Corps’ East Timorese stove program imports stove components from China and trains locals to make and sell completed stoves as a business opportunity, and as a way to improve health and air quality and reduce deforestation. But the stoves were more expensive than most people could pay, heavy, and expensive to transport. So Mercy Corps brought in Jon and Flip as short term consultants to help make needed improvements.

The first challenge was to develop a stove that locals could make — and fire — into a more durable, better insulated (and thus more fuel efficient) stove that wouldn’t fall apart while being trucked over bad roads. The second challenge was to design a prototype institutional stove that could also be produced locally from local materials. The first request required building a kiln to fire stove parts, and this is what we’re sharing with you here: a two burner rocket-powered kiln capable of reaching 1,000° Celsius — and made of local clay, sawdust, and wood ash!

Jon (R) and a helper forming the kiln. The Ahiasun factory provides employment for disabled folks.

Jon (R) and a helper forming the kiln. The Ahiasun factory provides employment for disabled folks.

Here is Jon and Flip’s wonderful slideshow on the building and firing of their rocket-powered kiln, complete w/very detailed construction sequences:

https://picasaweb.google.com/Jonnygms/RocketStoveKiln#slideshow/5941839083345658770

and here are some links to more background information about the project:

http://www.globalenvision.org/2013/05/09/interview-bringing-light-and-stoves-rural-east-timor

http://www.mercycorps.org/sites/default/files/guide_to_stoves.pdf

About Kiko Denzer

I live in western Oregon with my family and run Hand Print Press with help from friends Max and Eva. We are interested in restoring the arts of living to their rightful, traditional, public role, as cultural medium – and think the web is a poor substitute, but until we can fashion something better, we try to make the most of it.

2 Responses to How to Make a Rocket Powered Kiln of Clay and Sawdust

  1. JIMMY CALLAWAY says:

    I NEED TO MAKE A SMALL POTTERY OR CLAY KILN. COULD YOU PLEASE TELL ME HOW TO MAKE A SMALL WOOD BURNING KILN. I TRULY WOULD APPRECIATE IT. THE COWBOY PREACHER.

    • Kiko Denzer says:

      Jimmy,

      It is possible to fire clay in a campfire or a woodstove. A kiln is just a fire enclosed in a box of some kind, with a big chimney. The more draft, the higher the heat. But the best I can offer is the page where you made this comment. There is a lot of other information and many stories on the web.

      good luck.

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