From Ed van Dijk: December 2013
Building and running my first woodfired glass-furnace was out of curiosity.
Knowing that thousands of years glassmakers had been making the most beautiful glass(art)work even without the use of electricity it was hard to understand how they were running a studio in the ‘old days’.
My first exempt was a firebrick “Roman”style furnace, build during a glass event some years ago in the small town of Lier in Belgium.
Build it in about two days time with a little knowledge of old designs and after a workshops in The Netherlands with guys building masonry heaters. Masonry heaters were as close as I could get to a combination of glass-furnace building and wood firing.
After finishing building we started firing this first furnace to dry it. It took us about 30 hours of firing to get the temperature up till 1170 ºC. The 4 small pots of glass holding about 25 kg of glass were great to play with and open to anyone that wanted a try. We ran the furnace for about a week and did constant firing (24 hours a day) in shifts. Great fun that was, all those nights at the hot furnace, but lovely to get back to a normal rhythm of sleeping after the final party. Conclusion: ‘Its great to do but there is so much more to learn’ !
In the number of furnaces that followed I changed the interior design from “strictly’ Roman to Rocketstove based, till Rocketstove based with secondary air injection. The differences are enormous, but all of them run/ran totally without electricity.