Potters & Sculptors - Making Rock from Mud
I was surfing the internet and came across a foreign site that had a wood fired raku kiln built out of a barrel drum and it got me thinking that I could do that. I began researching it a little bit more and it brought up some questions about the quickest and best ways of piecing it together. I came to the conclusion that I could piece it together and rivet it together with steel rivets. Is that feasible? From my research steel can resist temperatures of up to 2500 degrees Fahrenheit. Am I miscalculating things because if I'm not it seems a lot easier than using ceramic buttons or silica to seal the fire fiber to the walls of the drum. Comments please!!
They make woodstoves out of sheet steel that operate with hot spots up to around 1800-1900. I think an oil drum or galvanized trash can could make a sound shell for a fiber kiln. I would still use ceramic buttons on nichrome wire to support the fiber though. Oxidizing steel in contact with ceramic fiber on the hot face might just turn into glaze.
In my experience steel does break down with heat work and over a short time, becomes weak, crumbles and disintegrates, hence the need to use ceramic buttons and proper kanthal wire to fasten the fibre to the side of the kiln. Kanthal wire is only a few dollars a metre and ceramic buttons are very easy to make from raku clay. Remembering that the ceramic fibre is quite thick so you need a good length of wire with each button. Here is a link to my blog with some pics of a raku kiln I built recently.
I have used a steel drum before making a gas raku kiln very similar to the design of the kiln in your attachment, but obviously as it was gas, just leave a hole in the top for a flue rather than a chimney.