Pit Fire!

The following pictures were taken at a pit firing on the beach in San Francisco, California. They show the basic steps in a primitive pit firing and tell you what to do in each step. Click on a picture to see an enlarged view.

  Dig a big hole in the ground. (Notice the unfired pots in the foreground.)
  Spread a layer of sawdust on the bottom of the hole. Rake it smooth.
  Put your bisqued pots in the sawdust. You can cover them with organic materials like seaweed, salt, manure, bone meal, etc., or chemicals like copper carbonate. Notice that one is covered with burlap soaked in salt water.
  Pile LOTS of wood on top. You need plenty. More than you think.

Torch it!

(If you put any chemicals in the fire, I wouldn't recommend toasting any weenies.)

  Let it burn. It will take hours. Let it cool way down. If you take your pots out too early, they might crack.
  Clean up, fill in the hole, and enjoy your primitive-fired pottery!

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