CONTACT                                            home


Read comments from artists, professionals and hobbyists


Have you used our kilns or furnace? We'd like your comments CONTACT 


 Scott Beasley    (Hangtown Earth and Wood Werx)

Hello Frank, I really enjoy my Rocky kiln. Iíve been firing tiles and testing glaze properties. I know the beauty of Raku is itís uniqueness but Iíve been trying to get repeatability. Your web site explains that 10 firings might have to happen before I get to learn the ins and outs of this process.       I was wondering if I could use the kiln for bisque and oxidizing glaze firings. I figure once my ware gets to light orange I could shut off the gas, cover the flue hole and let it cool slowly. If I could do this I wouldnít have to bisque fire my tile elsewhere.       Also why do you have to spray or dunk the ware to cool it. Iíve been leaving the tiles in my reduction hole until they cool with mixed results.     Thank you for your work developing the Rocky kiln. The forced air burner sets it apart from the free plans found on the internet. that alone made it worth the price.  


To answer your questions about bisque firing with Rocky!  Rocky was designed to operate at a super fast firing mode to eliminate excessive fuel consumption, AND, allow the flexibility  of firing several individual pieces in less then 10 minuets per shot!  Thus, avoiding being exposed to facing  a hot , open kiln for numerous pieces.  Of course you can modify the entire firing system for firing bisque, but it rather defeats the operational  purpose of Rocky!  As you know, firing raw clay to bisque takes careful, slow , temperature rise to avoid destruction.  You would need to eliminate the "forced air" system to Rocky and use a soft (with no blower) flame!  Again, rather "self defeating "  but it could be done.  Don't expect your learning curve to be too high if you do! As far as "cooling" your raku piece after firing, any method you use to cool is okay!   You will get a little different surface effect, depending on how you cool the work! Hope this helps! Frank-   


David Tholfsen of San Francisco

Personal Firing Photos

So I got the Rocky Raku plans  and from the start the gods were against me. I got the garbage can and it was stolen in front of my house. Couldn't find black pipe so I used galvanized with some fear of out-gassing. I went to the hardware store 6 times to get the right gas fittings. Left the big city for the high plains desert to fire up the beast and what happens? I forgot the lid of the kiln can. What to do, what to do? We used a 10 inch frying pan as a lid with great success! Firing times from 8-14 minutes. I'm not one to read instructions very well but the parts dealing with the actual firing process gave me some good instincts to work with. I hadn't done any raku in 22 years and the the results couldn't have been better! Thanks for all the help.


Carol Rose Parker

Hi, Frank,
First of all, let me tell you that your website is adorable, and your ideas are fantastic! It's so great that you are offering your knowledge as downloads at such reasonable prices! Hooray!!!


Laura K.

 The manual pretty much covers all the bases for building and is written in a very friendly style. After all, raku should be fun!


Nancy Keeper

frank-computers are still a mystery to me just like the eclispe. 

all i know is we got the book yesterday just like you said and it looks really doable. really! thanks so much for sharing that info. you have made it possible thru your sharing for us to have a kiln--that is a luxury we didn't think was affordable and i am sending a check to cover the cost of printing andshipping ,that's fair and so worth it...thanks so much!

Carolyn Burke of Mustard Seed Pots, Charlotte, North Carolina

Personal Firing Photos


I wanted to thank Mr. Colson for allowing access to the Rocky Raku manual. I have just finished putting one together and it, of course you know, worked perfectly! I will soon be working with some ceramic art classes for children on a very small island in the Bahamas. Rocky will add fun and much interest to the program and is perfect for their situation. I am so delighted to expand their capability with your little Rocky Raku!


Kevin Nierman
Kids n'Clay

I thought you might like to know that I learned to make pots at your (Colson) studio many years ago studying with Carol Robinson. I have never stopped working with clay since that first eight week class. My work has been included in many publications and I will have a piece in the Scripps Annual (Claremont Ca.) this coming January. I hope you have seen my book "The Kids 'N Clay Ceramics Book" published last year. I have a private teaching studio here in Berkeley California.. where we have taught almost 200 children a week for the last 15 years. I wanted you to know that the class I took at your pottery school changed my life. Thank you.

Caron Banks-Wike  
Wishful Thinking Studio


Last fall, after the retreat/artist residency at Wildacres (on the Blue Ridge Parkway), we decided to build a raku kiln. Because building just about any kiln is very expensive, and because of space limitations, we searched for a small, low-cost alternative. What we got is also very portable, and very very fast. We highly praise our little "Rocky Raku" Kiln. It is very efficient, inexpensive, portable and its perfect for the potter who wants to experiment with Raku firing. It can also be used as a test kiln for Raku potters (to test glaze and clay formulations). We fired nearly 600 angel ornaments and pins, several taller pieces (up to 12" tall and 7" wide), and about a hundred smaller pieces produced by the students of the Wednesday evening pottery class. All of the firings used only one 40lb tank of propane.



Phyllis Pacin

The Art Collector


If I were to hire a kiln designer to make a kiln for my very specific raku firing needs, I would not be satisfied unless he or she came up with Rocky Raku. I have fired hundreds and hundreds of loads in my Rocky, which a friend built for me in 1982. Each load contains a tile holder I designed with a tongs-accessible loop so I can transfer all four tiles at once into the smoking chamber. (Moving the tiles one-at-a-time would be so slow that the luster glazes would cool and not do their thing.) The ten-minute firings enable me to produce a good number of tiles in a two-hour firing session. Rocky has been relined only once, about ten years ago, and is totally dependable. I can't imagine doing my work without it.


Robert Michael Smith, sculptor

I have used this book ( Kiln Building with Space Age Materials by Frank Colson ) to build several furnaces and kilns, large and small, over the past twenty years. Many of the designs utilize refractory fibers to build light weight, cost-effective furnaces. Perfect for small home foundries as well as professional foundries.