Bisque Firing And Understanding Kiln Settings

Bisque firing is a fascinating process, especially if you’re into pottery. It’s the first firing of clay and transforms it into a durable, yet still porous, state. This process prepares the clay for glazing. Let’s dive into the steps and some tips along the way!

Step 1: Preparing Your Pottery

  • Tip: Ensure your pottery is bone dry. Any moisture can cause cracks or even explosions in the kiln.

Step 2: Loading the Kiln

  • Tip: Place items carefully, ensuring there’s enough space between them for air circulation.

Step 3: Setting the Kiln

  • Tip: Use a slow initial heat increase. This gradual temperature rise is crucial to prevent stress on the pottery.

Step 4: The Firing Process

  • Tip: Monitor the kiln’s temperature. Most bisque firings go up to Cone 06-04 (1828-1940°F or 998-1060°C).

Step 5: Cooling Down

  • Tip: Allow the kiln to cool naturally. Rushing this can cause cracks.

Step 6: Unloading the Kiln

  • Tip: Be patient and wait until the kiln is completely cool. Handling hot pottery can lead to damage.

Understanding Kiln Settings

Kiln settings can seem complex, but they’re crucial for a successful bisque firing.

Temperature Control

  • Pointer: Know your cones. Cones are small pyramidal objects that melt at specific temperatures, indicating the kiln’s internal temperature.

Firing Schedules

  • Tip: Customize your firing schedule based on the clay type and the size of your pieces.


  • Pointer: Good ventilation is key. It removes harmful fumes and aids in even temperature distribution.

Safety Precautions

  • Tip: Always check for any electrical hazards and maintain a safe area around the kiln.

Bisque firing is not just about turning clay into pottery; it’s about understanding the intricate dance of temperature, time, and transformation. Each step is important, and tweaking your approach can make a big difference in your final product. Remember, patience and attention to detail are your best tools in this process.

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