3. John O'Donnell

John O'Donnell

Finding, cutting, drying, delivering and stacking wood for a wood fired kiln is painstakingingly demanding work. No pot can be fired without a serious commitment to all the aspects of the wood preparation process. It is as much a part of the potter's art as glazing and firing itself. Just when I was at the end of my rope, having had endless and meaningless conversations with local sawyers, John happened to turn into the driveway of the pottery.

What serendipity!

John chooses his customers carefully, and knew, somehow, that I was in this for the long haul. He was willing to work with me and quickly took hold of the complexities of getting the right wood for firing our pots to stoneware temperatures. John understood the need for the three different kinds of wood involved in the firing process: pre-heat wood to fuel the early stages of drying and kiln heating, soft wood slabs to feed the fire pot at the bottom of the kiln and hard wood edging which offers the required high caloric value necessary to raise the temperature and is fed through the stoke holes along the sides. Moreover, each kind of wood must be seasoned and dry at the time of firing. John understands all of this better than I and for the last eighteen years, he has kept me supplied with the fuel necessary for each firing. He helps to stock my sheds regularly assures me of the right mix of perfectly conditioned wood.

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