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Old 10-30-2018, 06:09 AM
Curtis Dionne Curtis Dionne is offline
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Wood fired glass

Guilty of promoting my wood fired glass approach, I figured I'd make a new thread. I'm wondering if anyone has tried it.

My furnace holds 3 color pots and a 24 inch pot. I burn only wood and I'm getting great glass. I feel that wood burning is a sustainable and viable option for anyone in a heavily wooded area. All my fuel comes from within 10km of my studio. It is carbon neutral, local, tax free, and completely renewable. My studio can be fueled indefinitely by a well maintained 40 acre wood lot. This is not the Roman forges of old. Its indoors with a chimney and great glass.

With the dampers closed it holds over 1000c adding wood every 4 hours. That's once up in the night for me. In the morning I open dampers half and add wood every hour. This maintains heat over 1100c all day while i work, using the furnace as gloryhole too. At the end of the day, just close the dampers for the evening and over night.
Charging and cooking is a bit more work. I charge at 1200. This require dampers to be wide open and adding wood every 45 minutes. It takes me a whole day to charge. Then I close it up for the night. Then it takes the whole next day to cook at 1250c. So 2 days to charge and cook, but then I have glass for 6 or 7 or even 8 days.
I burn 1 cord per week. The furnace takes only power for the pyrometer. No blower or anything else electric. It's very fail safe and reliable and runs pretty much silent. My fuel cost for this massive furnace is only 1000 CAD per month. Just with the fuel savings alone I can afford to hire someone to assist and help feed the fire.
Plus we employ the wood man all summer.
I'd love to hear thoughts on this
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Old 10-30-2018, 08:40 AM
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My curiosity is certainly peaked. I live on a tract where the hardwood supply is virtually inexhaustible but even so, it's a lot of work to process it using our big ( and I mean big) hydraulic splitter to process it. We cut on average 9 cords per year just for the house and studios. At 68, I couldn't sustain that kind of physical activity for long and then getting up in the middle of the night would kill me off for sure.

The old Jersey shops burned 10 cords per day!! They moved the studios when they had to travel more than 10 miles to get it. That created the base for the Pennsylvania Turnpike but when they got to Ohio, the timber quit. Fortunately for them, that was when the gassification of coal was invented. The glass industry settled right there in Ohio/W.Va/ W.Pa and never moved again.
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Old 10-30-2018, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtis Dionne View Post
No blower or anything else electric. It's very fail safe and reliable and runs pretty much silent.
This is all pretty amazing, but no blower seems like the most amazing. Although I wonder if you added a blower that you only ran on charge day if you could get and maintain the heat you need to charge in one day rather than two.
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Old 10-30-2018, 12:05 PM
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Interesting history and some good insights (from a guy with the most English name you're ever likely to see. ). Jump to page 188 if you're in a hurry.

http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/15153/1/485886.pdf
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Old 10-30-2018, 12:43 PM
Charles Friedman Charles Friedman is offline
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[quote=Curtis Dionne;141765]. No blower or anything else electric. It's very fail safe and reliable and runs pretty much silent.

Curtis In your video "wood fired glass blowing rocket stove" Is that the same wood fired furnace? It looks like there is a blower on the left side, blowing into your firebox. What is that all about? "The furnace takes only power for the pyrometer". Most pyrometers do not need electricity, they make there own.
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Last edited by Charles Friedman; 10-30-2018 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 10-30-2018, 07:20 PM
Curtis Dionne Curtis Dionne is offline
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The rocket stove video is old news. That was the early days.
And I did use a blower on that cheapo model. Also on my newer design it was equipped with a blower. But after years of messing with it I found that the blower wasn't sustainable and only destroyed grates and burned up fuel.
My current furnace is Cadillac compared to that old video.
The blower delivered more heat to the fire box, but the glass furnace uses the principles of gasification to create a super hot secondary burn in the second chamber of the kiln where the pots are.
I'm having trouble uploading pics

You could try looking at this you tube video

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=...&v=U6zFeMxIn4A

It's a very beautiful way to work
This video dosnt really catch the serenity of the wood fire
But we have come a long way in ten years!

Last edited by Curtis Dionne; 10-30-2018 at 07:24 PM.
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Old 10-30-2018, 07:36 PM
Curtis Dionne Curtis Dionne is offline
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[quote=Charles Friedman;141777 "The furnace takes only power for the pyrometer". Most pyrometers do not need electricity, they make there own.[/QUOTE]

Yes they do but I'm just using the digital display. I find them easier on the eyes and can be mounted on the wall vertically.
That video is pretty old, built that one out of chimney bricks. Had to see if it worked. Started the new build with a thousand hard bricks. It has to large canter arches. Much nicer
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Old 10-30-2018, 08:16 PM
Curtis Dionne Curtis Dionne is offline
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It took us, two guys,10 days to split and stack enough wood for a year.
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Old 10-30-2018, 08:24 PM
Curtis Dionne Curtis Dionne is offline
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One pic during the build and the other is me standing by the furnace on the gathering port and firebox side. The other side has a 13 inch glory hole
Attached Images
File Type: jpg FB_IMG_1540942624652.jpg (39.9 KB, 84 views)
File Type: jpg FB_IMG_1540943501396.jpg (49.2 KB, 85 views)
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Old 10-31-2018, 07:54 AM
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Ain't that a beauty.
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Old 10-31-2018, 09:10 AM
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Profoundly beautiful Curtis. We might try to come up in May. I love it.
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Old 10-31-2018, 11:42 AM
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Nice brick work. I have done a few woodfired pottery kilns, but have never done a glass furnace. Good job. You should host a work shop.
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Old 10-31-2018, 03:24 PM
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topping it off, you have a Bernese Mt Dog! I have had three so far and I miss them terribly but our English Farm Collie won't stand for divided love. That's a wild intimate studio.
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Old 10-31-2018, 04:10 PM
Eben Horton Eben Horton is offline
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What an incredible furnace. Reminds me of a medieval cathedral
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Old 10-31-2018, 06:44 PM
Curtis Dionne Curtis Dionne is offline
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It's similar to running a venturi setup
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Old 10-31-2018, 07:02 PM
Curtis Dionne Curtis Dionne is offline
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Well thanks so much guys. I'd love to host a workshop here sometime. In the meantime visitors are always welcome.
Peter kuchinke suggested that I build and demo at the GAS conference 2020 in Stockholm. I sure would love to do that.
If anyone is considering going this route I would be happy to share what I've learned in ten years of developing this process
This method changes the feel of glass blowing completely for me. Never has it been so relaxing. I think that this could be a fit for people looking to simply immerse themselves in the craft. I fire for 8 weeks or so, then take a couple off.
Were having a lot of fun. I recently was able to quit my other job!
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Old 11-01-2018, 10:21 AM
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Wood has to be really cheap to pull that off Curtis. I have a forest at my disposal but to put it in perspective, in San Diego County, a cord of wood costs about $500 dollars.
We burn around nine cords a year here and it even runs the hot water heater but it's a good thing not everyone does it or you would not be able to see a quarter mile.

On electricity, it's truly maddening. My shop electric is about 280 dollars a month but then the bastards charge 310 dollars a month to deliver it.

But Jeez that is a beautiful kiln. Well done.
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Old 11-01-2018, 11:56 AM
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We got about 1000 cords of long leaf pine and oak sitting on the curb here in Tallahassee, most already cut to size. Bring a trailer!
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Old 11-01-2018, 12:54 PM
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not pine. Hardwoods only.
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Old 11-01-2018, 05:35 PM
Curtis Dionne Curtis Dionne is offline
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I get the wood cut into 50cm chunks not split, delivered to the yard for 200 a cord. Maple and yellow birch. A cord of maple has approximately 23,000,000 btus
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Old 11-01-2018, 05:54 PM
Curtis Dionne Curtis Dionne is offline
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The beauty of burning at 1000c is that there is no smoke.
It's not a lot cheaper but at least I'm not dependant on any energy corporation and my 12 grand a year goes into a friends pocket

Still I can see I'm gonna need one of those electric ones someday before I turn 65
Although when the power goes out here for days at a time in winter its comforting to know my pots are nice and cozy
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Old 11-01-2018, 06:49 PM
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well a propane venturi fits that bill too. I think the important thing is to do things that make you happy. I certainly appreciate that. I used to make 9x12 window panes cylinder slumped just to prove I could. At one point, I made my own pots. I've always made my own glass.
As time goes on, your available discretionary time shrinks to nothing. By the time you hit 65, you have a rather limited amount of energy compared to when you were 30. You have to make choices. Some days, I choose to just sit in a chair by the woodstove with a book.

It's what memories are really for.
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Old 11-01-2018, 08:47 PM
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Curtis I noticed you worked with Danny Vargas. He was one of the first glassblowers I had ever seen (during my pottery days) He charged me a dollar to watch at Mariposa Glassworks. Many dollars later... He got me stared to thinking about glass.
He showed up one day, at my hotshop 25 years later, with a case of Canadian beer. The man could make anything.
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Old 11-02-2018, 02:42 AM
Curtis Dionne Curtis Dionne is offline
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Ha! So happy Charles that you know him. I've got a national geographic film of him at mariposa in 77. I apprenticed with Danny for 5 years. I could have stayed another ten just to soak up more of his techniques. He's a living legend in my mind who embodied hundreds of years of tradition from Guadalajara. Although I'll never be Danny, I'm quite proud to be carrying on his traditions. I was fortunate to have been trained by him. He's closed shop now and his business is for sale. I've got nothing but love for the man. I think it was his stories of his youth starting in the factories at age 9 loading the kilns, that helped me most in starting my little business.
For example, to regulate the annealer as a child he would throw a piece of crumpled newsprint in the kiln and count. On five if the paper ignites, that's your annealing point.
He used to sit at the torch with a bucket of beers while 3 of us hustled to bring bits from the furnace. He would build figurenos that way with no flashes on a glass pontil. Anything you wanted. In Mexico they called him Danielle el gallo because he had made 100 thousand roosters.
It's a shame I couldn't have stayed with him, life had new plans for me. Even now when I work I hear him in my head
" con heuvos cabrone, no mames guay"
Which, in my understanding means, with your balls asshole, dont suck it

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Old 11-02-2018, 10:23 PM
Michael Ahlefeldt-Laurvig Michael Ahlefeldt-Laurvig is online now
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The reason Kosta glassworks was established in 1742 in smaland in southeast Sweden was due to the vast forests in that area at the time, that still exists. A great number of spinoffs resulted in whats today known as the kingdom of glass in Sweden, many factories within say a 100 km circle,
Many of them are now gone but the whole foundation was the abundance of fire wood. Ive heard they transported wood in the winter 70 Km with horse and sled to supply the industry.
As late as early 70s, I visited often a friend in Boda and remember the vast wood stocks behind the factory
At that time they were using round furnaces with 8 or ten 500 to 1000 Kg pots ( green clay, made in the factory) and they stoked them on the floor below the actual production floor- this was not a real desirable job, and there are plenty of stories of guys falling asleep drunk while charging and tending the melt at night, ruining the next days work
So its a bit exiting somebody actually using wood again I think
So Curtis, could you explain a little more on the furnace itself?
Yea the stone work looks great but I dont see any insulation. A cord a week transforms to 7000 Kwh, if my math is right, 85 solid cu ft of wood.- how big is the pot? Its comparable to my 350 kg pot I used to run on oil. Melting 200 kg every night. “Cooking” a day at 1250, for a total of 2 day melt seems really long at that energy consumption. The gathering port looks really high above ground, how do you deal with that? Is there still an element of rocket idea in the burn- you mention a secondary very hot combustion within the glass chamber?
I really like the concept, just idle thoughts
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