Buying your first kiln
Whats the best kiln for you?
Hi and welcome to my lens, so your thinking of buying your first glass kiln. Glass is classified as a low fire material so don't just jump in and buy anything,
ok then there are many different makes but in this lens we will talk about paragon kilns. Why paragon kilns? well I have had one or two different makes and eventually bought a paragon kiln, if only I had got my paragon kiln in the first place I would not have bought any of the others and saved a lot of money.
I love it, its reliable and cheep to run the average cost of a firing is about 75 US cents, the first thing is what are you looking to do with your kiln?, The size of your projects. One thing I can suggest is look slightly higher than what you want because as soon as you get your first kiln, and get used to it and your confidence grows, you will be wishing that you had got a slightly wider one a deeper one or both.
Paragon kilns are suitable for many materials and effects, such as glass fusing, glass slumping, dichroic glass, glass sagging, annealing beads,enameling,PMC, metal clays, Art clay, porcelain, melting silver, ceramic firing, and lots more.
Paragon 8 kiln
Ok then, I have a small studio so space is at a premium, my choice of kiln is a paragon 8 it's called a paragon 8 as it has 8 sides. For me its plenty large enough for most of what I want. But sometimes like I said earlier I wish I had got the paragon 10 as its a lot larger, any way I'm happy with it.
The dimensions of its firing chamber are17 1/2 " wide by 11" deep it has two elements in the lid of the kiln as well as the walls of the kiln. This gives a good all-round heat distribution, the lid has a safety mercury switch installed so if you lift the lid while the kiln is in use the kiln will cut power to the heating elements, until the lid is closed then it will switch back on and continue with its program.
Paragon kilns come in 110v as well as 220 volts so happy days all round
Kilns for small projects
But if your manly interested in small projects then you can get away with a much smaller kiln, like the paragon fire fly the good thing about this kiln is that it is portable and you can plug it in just about anywhere. The firing chamber is 8" square by 4and a half high its ideal for small glass jewelry projects, or glass casting.
But as well as glass you can fire stoneware or porcelain, glazes, it may be a small kiln but has more than enough power and can reach to 2350`f. The Paragon Fire Fly kiln is I would say a great beginners kiln, I just had a quick look round and you can pick one of these up for about 310 dollars and that includes shipping can't be bad.
Controling your kiln
Most Paragon kilns come with a digital temperature controller with two types of programmable mode settings. The 1st is what is known as a single speed program, this is all you will need if you just want to get to a temperature and hold it there, this is ideal for enameling or silver clay.
For glass bead annealing, glass fusing, and glass slumping you will want to use the ramp hold mode. This mode is more flexible than the single speed mode, as you can program different segments to heat to a certon temperature and for a certon length of time, the next segment then keeps it at that time for as long as required, and cooling segments so that your project in the kiln cools down gradually.
Nice little fire fly vid
If you have any questions on the subject drop me a line, and if I can help you in any way I will be happy to.
When buying your kiln shop around, as you can get good deals some companies will sell you the kiln but on top of that you also have to buy what's called as kiln furniture.
This is what you fire your project on, mainly it's the kiln shelf and the posts etc your shelf will sit on the base of your kiln as you must never fire anything directly on the kilns base. Next is a stand for your kiln due to the heat you can only operate your kiln on the appropeat stand. There are some dealers that will sell you these separately and they are not that cheep.
When I got mine I phoned round different companies and managed to get the lot at a very good price. Don't let them tell you, You tell them after all you have the money in your hand and they want it so bargain with them.