| Boiling Point No. 05 - September 1983 |
In recent years a great deal of attention has been focused on the use of pottery to make improved fuel efficient stoves. In many countries traditional pottery stoves are widely available in market places and traditional potters and stove designers have made new stoves from pottery because of its low cost, resistance to heat, and flexibility in terms of design and production. Potters in different parts of the world use substantially different techniques in choosing and mixing the raw materials, making objects, and firing them, so it is not possible to define the best way to make a pottery stove. The examples on the following pages, from Sri Lanka, India, and Indonesia illustrate three different methods used by potters who produce hundreds of stoves per month. All the stoves are made for wood and agricultural wastes and have one firebox and two pot-holes.
In all cases there are a number of similarities. me proportion of sand in the clay used for making stoves is higher than in the clay used for making pots to increase thermal shock resistance. Pre-measured sticks instead of judgement are used to check measurements. A mixture of turning, coiling and slab techniques are used. The stoves are made over a period of days with different operations being done on different days. The stoves are fired in the traditional kilns or bonfires. The stoves are installed permanently by encasing them in mud to protect against mechanical and thermal shock.
In each case the method used for making the improved stoves is different from the method for making traditional pottery stoves. However, the new methods are based on the broad range of pottery techniques used and are the result of the interaction of the skills and ideas of the potters and those of the outsiders who introduced the new designs. This process of interaction between the potters and the outside designers must be undertaken if new pottery stoves are to be produced successfully.