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At what point can you speed up the firing?

After the quartz inversion (1000° - 1100°F), clays in the bisque, or greenware firing, can be fired faster. By this stage, the water has been completely driven out of the clay. Actual speed will depend on how many impurities the clay contains. Slow the firing again during the last 200°F.

How fast you should fire depends on the thickness of ware and type of clay. Thin-walled, low-fire ceramics can be fired much faster than stoneware. Fire test pieces in a small kiln. Experiment with firing speed before risking an entire load of ware. Always test-fire clays you are unfamiliar with. If test results are satisfactory, but you want to fire faster, try further tests at increasingly faster rates.

Firing the ware too fast and with insufficient venting causes more problems than any other firing practice. So long as the clay and glaze are designed properly, you will get almost fool-proof results by firing slowly, venting thoroughly, and using witness cones. These are the basics of firing.

Some clays can be fired rapidly with no ill effect. Certain glazes even look better when fired fast. With experience, you will learn the limits of clays and glazes. You can experiment, yet still avoid the vast majority of firing mistakes, so long as you continue to follow the basics.

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